Open Source Software contributing – where Gentoo can improve

Open Souce Software is about contributing code to the original sources. Ideally that code would be integrated by the developer quickly. When that is not done good usually a fork happens or a semi-fork(plugin, code-patch ..) happens.

For Gentoo some semi-forks have already happened where the process of integrating contributed code is not good/efficient/quick enough, there we need to improve our processes:

– ebuilds in overlays, we have a lot of overlays today

This increae is clearly due to the fact that we are not able to recruit developers in a reasonable timeframe. Thus they are forced to develop externally and force all of our users to add an overlay for popular applications.

The big step that we need to do here is to offer more external Gentoo developers to get adresses and the official “Gentoo developer” status. The main problems holding that up as I observe are a) externals being slow on quizzes and b) devrel being slow in checking quizzes. Maybe devrel should put out another call for new recruiters when they know they are short of those.

– gentoo-wiki has for many tasks like my Macbook or Beryl superceeded

Here I don’t see the downside of having it external. Unlike for ebuilds it is good to have two sources for information.

– the external pkgcore and paludis projects to superceed portage

I think this is a big downside because portage devs have one more reason now to say “no” for contributions – they can just point to the forks. But that does not help much as the are not 100% back-and-forth switch compatible and not a full replacement either. It just confuses our users to have those and does not help the general problem.
For example this bug of me is stalled:
138792 dobin etc. should automatically die on failure

The big step that portage development needs to take is to focus on pkgcore or paludis and drop portage development in favour of that. I think that step will increase the popularity of Gentoo again. No one wants to use a distribution with a really slow package manager.

Cebit & KDE booth – meeting fellow Gentoo users unexpectedly

Today I visited worlds biggest IT trade fair Cebit in Hannover. Happily I represented KDE there on their booth in the Linuxpark that was sponsored by Linux New Media.

After departing my ICE there I had a long way through all the different halls to finally find the KDE booth .. deserted 😉 after some waiting where I got the wireless working on my Macbook the other staffers for the booth showed up. We unfolded some posters and set up a Thinkpad to show off KDE on the big LCD.

There I was very excited to see that the kde developer who booted the thinkpad was running Gentoo Linux! While talking it turned out that the four man booth staffing had 3 Gentoo users – that is a rather good ratio. Unfortunately despite the high Gentoo presence we had no Gentoo CDs to give out – our visitors got Kubuntu CDs.

Later when we started some hacking on kde cmake Torsten was also able to join us. From him I learned a lot about how Marble was designed and how he made sure that it is a very fast earth viewer that also works in an offline mode. Now I can lookup where a city is even faster, yay!