Community Discussion - Part 2

It’s been a couple of weeks since my first Discussion with the Community, so as a follow on I thought I would cover the topic of Tools for the community.  In my mind I split tools into two groups – hard & soft.  What I mean by this is “hard” = infrastructure based, and “soft” = software based.

Some may seem pretty obvious to you, and some may seem like they aren’t tools at all.  So to clarify what my definition of a tool is – something that enables or facilitates the completion of a task.  So that gives the “Tool” a pretty big scope :-)

Now as a community we have a lot of good tools already available to us.  One of the problems is that we don’t really know about them or we’ve forgotten about them.  So as a refresher here are the “hard” tools (no childish snickering please ;-) ) I can think of, if you notice any that I’ve missed out please let me know:

There is a good mix of tools hosted on Novell infrastructure and that hosted outside of Novell.  For instance the Source code is actually on the Gitorious service, why should we have to maintain our own DVCS when there are open services available?  Also with the Video, we use and will also add YouTube to the toolset for distribution of openSUSE video.  The Planet is hosted on a community owned and run server as is the Community Wiki and package search.  So you can’t say we are wholly reliant on Novell :-)

At the moment I don’t see anything that we’re missing, but I’m sure something will crop up and then we’ll go “Ah if only we had XYZ”, but when that happens we can look and see what best fits the bill and try and fix it.  The only complaint I think we have is that the integration between the tools isn’t as good as it could or should be.  This is something that has been picked up on so don’t worry too much, the Boosters are working hard to make things blend naturally.  So it will happen, just not over night.

Okay so that covers the infrastructure bits, what about the software side of things?  Well whilst at the Novell offices in Nurenberg for HackWeeKII, there was a discussion about how to get more people involved in the actual coding of things.  Some of the Novellians were curious as to why no-one was willing to actually pick up some of the code and start sending in patches.  Well I’d like to recommend we look at another big project at Novell, and also to some of the big upstream projects.

Firstly the other project is the Mono Project, those that want to spout holier than thou rubbish can just STFU and do that now!  The Mono guys & gals have made available Virtual Machine images, Live CDs, as well as the required packages.  They include all the required tools to develop with Mono, and also exmple applications and also code so that you can get going real fast.  They have effectivly created a Mono Developer’s Kit, but crucially they use openSUSE and they do a fantastic job of pimping the Geeko! Thanks Mono Project, you’re doing a sterling job!

Secondly we have recently seen that KDE have created their Plasma Netbook Reference Platform using openSUSE & our tools, so if anyone wants to look at, tinker with, hack, or do whatever with it they can and easily.  GNOME have a Developer Kit available thanks to the fine Foresight folks (with a whole lot of love from Og Maciel).  It gives everything one needs to get to developing for the GNOME Environment.  Og has also taken the step and started to create a Developer Kit for Django.

So my little mind is starting to tick, and this to those that know me well is always slightly dangerous :-)   Why don’t we follow these examples, and provide language and function specific developer kits?  Prove to people that it isn’t difficult to make the switch to develop for their preferred language or what ever on openSUSE, give them Live & Installable ISOs, give them VM images. Give them the tools needed to get the job done!

We could always pimp these developer kits at the specific language conferences like PyCon, RailsConf etc.

We have many programming experts within the community, so why don’t we pull from that expertise?  Let’s get openSUSE Developer kits for Java, Python, Qt, Python, Ruby, PHP, and any other language you think is beneficial.  This isn’t about what language is better than the next, it is about getting the message out and showing everyone that it really isnt hard to use openSUSE as your preferred platform.

So now that I’ve said my piece, what tools do people think we are missing?  Also what issues do people have with our current tool set?  For goodness sake don’t just grumble about things let’s discuss constructively so we can fix things!

A bad workman always blames his tools, a good workman utilises his tools to their full extent.