The Lost Openmoko Community

Risto H. Kurppa risto at
Sat Oct 4 14:56:51 CEST 2008


After my previous blog post [1] about Openmoko 2007.2 distribution and
the Openmoko community I got some comments proving that like me, some
other people feel that the community is lost and uninformed. This post
is a follow up to the previous post and the comments I got.

I've understood that 2007.2 still ships with the phones. As soon as
one gets his new c00l Freerunner linux phone they need to flash the
phone with a new distro (2008.x or Debian, FDOM, SHR, Gentoo, Qtopia,
FSO.. [6]) since the software it ships with is obsolete. OK, so you
get your 2008.x there and find that it doesn't really do all the magic
and would like to report a bug.

I don't know how others feel but I really don't feel like reporting
bugs in the bug tracker [3]. OK, I'm running an unsupported distro
(2007.2) so there's one reason but I also feel that it's okay to post
kernel bugs only there, not anything that a normal user would see in
his GUI. Is this correct or just a feeling or misunderstanding?
Remember that all Freerunner owners and people here in the community
are not kernel developers. I don't even know how to save back traces
or hack the source code but I'm happy to report if something doesn't
work and then when someone more skillful finds what's wrong and
eventually fixes it, I'm again happy to try if the fix works for me.
For some reason I feel that there's no space in the community for
users like me.

So it's 2008.x now. No, wait.. there are FDOM [5] and SHR [2] around
that are not far from 2008.x. Is 2007.2 still developed and lead by
Openmoko or by the community? Do the community developers have access
to the files so that new releases can be made or is SHR the closest to
2007.2 you can get to? My feeling is that there was a lack of
information about why 2007.2 was forgotten and new 2008.x series was
started and that something weird is happening in the official distros
that creates a need for FDOM and SHR - why don't the developers feel
ok to contribute directly to 2007.x and 2008.x but 'fork' their own

I think that what makes me feel lost is the lack of information about
what's happening in the community. I don't know what's the development
status of the software or what's the general direction the community
and/or Openmoko is heading to? Having a better view on the general
situation makes one feel much more comfortable and secure: now I feel
that I just wait to see what the next release's like not being able to
know what to wait for.

People working at Openmoko and other software developers:

    * Please check 'Community Management as Open Source's Core
Competency' by David Eaves [4] and have a good look at the the
Openmoko community. It needs management!
    * Please write a blog post once a week or so to and the community mailing list telling the
community what's going on. Five to ten lines is enough to help the
community feel better!
    * Please respect your community!

Other community members:

    * How do you feel about the current situation? How happy are you
with the community?
    * Do you feel well informed? Do you know what's the direction
we're heading to?
    * How would you like to contribute?


ps. I posted this also in my blog:



| risto h. kurppa
| risto at kurppa dot fi

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