Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wiki: Background

One particular article that is correlating to my experience working on openSUSE wiki is Ontology is Overrated: Categories, Links, and Tags or in short "how chaos is organizing itself".

In other words, we did not enough to organize our chaos and we have wiki that we made, and deserve. Are we, openSUSE users only to blame?

IMO, yes and no.

Users of openSUSE are not well aware of FOSS concepts, which include a lot of own involvement in creation and maintenance of distribution. There is no such thing as a free beer, you pay with currency or with own work.

Some 5 years after start of openSUSE, users reporting bugs is the major group that is contributing to SUSE. There is no many community members outside the SUSE GmbH that are software developers, packagers, document writers, translators, graphic artist, and many other specialists that can make complex product like software distribution.When I say not many I have in mind that as of today we have almost 12000 registered users, 4600 of them agree on Guiding Principles, but only 395 are members. The members are those that make significant contributions. For distro that offers thousands packages of software titles that is way to small.

The other party to blame is Novell and SUSE, that pursing own interest limited to have community as testers for new Linux related technologies did underestimated value of healthy community behind and all services that such community can provide. Until recent creation of Boosters, there was no organized effort to change nature of openSUSE community from consumers of free software to contributors in many more areas then bug reporting and packaging.

Ubuntu rise is not accidental. Mr. Shuttleworth based his project on relatively small company that complemented existing Debian distribution with final, user friendly, touch up. The other  services that one distribution provides to end users like packaging and security audits are, so far I know, done by Debian, and that is a lot more work as it multiplies with number of software titles that one wants to provide in a distribution.

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