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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] RFC: GNU Developer Network on libreplanet.org


From: Bruno Félix Rezende Ribeiro
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] RFC: GNU Developer Network on libreplanet.org
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2013 18:16:02 -0300
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.1 (gnu/linux)

hellekin <address@hidden> writes:

> On 07/08/2013 10:24 PM, Bruno Félix Rezende Ribeiro wrote:
>>
>> I don't know if the analogy of a potential "GNU Developer Network"
>> with the existing "Mozilla's Developer's Network" is really fair.
>> Mozilla's software is intrinsically related to the web.  So they
>> use remote documentation that is fetched by a browser, that is
>> intended to be a Mozilla derivative, and your work of development
>> almost get done there.
>>
>> [...]
>>
>> The GNU project's software collection is far broader than that and
>> often has directly nothing to do with web technologies.
>>
> *** I think you're making a fair point.  Would that be interesting to
> reach out to all GNU projects and ask what they would expect to find
> in an eventual GDN?

In a "GNU Developer Network", the GNU developers are those who are
supposed to maintain the entire system working in accordance with their
tasks and projects.  Thus, it is important to reach a consensus among
GNU maintainers and bring new ideas about GDN's design and goals and
intended commitment that each one ought to have in the network.  It is
important to establish among GNU developers the idea that they are part
of a hopefully coherent whole and they should care about it and should
participate to cast the future of a consistent and sane GNU Operating
System.  It seems to me that nowadays some developers may have somewhat
lost the awareness they had once: the GNU project is not simply a
project to develop a collection of free software packages, it is a
project to develop a freedom respecting full operating system where all
pieces fit perfectly together.

>> What is the point in duplicating the standard documentation when it
>> already exists or contributing it to a non-standard place when it
>> doesn't exists?  Why should developers rely on inherently remote
>> documentation for programs running and being developed locally,
>> often with no remote scope, that supposedly have already been
>> shipped with the ultimate, official, high quality documentation?
>> Why not to contribute to the already existing standard
>> documentation base?
>>
> *** Maybe a GDN would just do that? Judging by the relative
> independence of the various GNU software projects, not all use
> TexInfo, and not all use Guile as their extension language. Should
> that be part of a general unification effort, or does the GDN project
> has other goals?
>
> I was surprised to discover "Semantic Versioning" as a copycat of the
> GNU build system recommendations for versioning programs. Would the
> GDN make such standards more visible and encourage non-GNU developers
> to adopt such practice?

The GDN must be a tool to promote the GNU's standards among current and
future GNU developers and also non-GNU ones.  I think one central goal
of GDN must be to promote the Texinfo documentation format and Guile
integration of all pertinent packages.  I'm quite sure the lack of good
documentation is not the reason why Texinfo and Guile are not so widely
employed as they are intended to be, since those packages are very well
documented for reference and tutorial purposes.  The real reason is the
lack of interest that comes from the absence of a common sense of
community, unity and integration among GNU developers.  To construct
that unity sense must be the main goal of our efforts, and GDN should be
a tool to accomplish that.

> How would the GDN articulate with the existing meta-information on
> Wikipedia? E.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Project or
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_build_system could be transcluded in
> LP pages... What can be done then, to make GNU development more
> attractive to existing and prospective developers? Is that one of the
> questions that lead to this thread?

Just for the record, as I already have pointed out, I don't think GDN
should be targeted as a all-in-one, online mega-documentation for
tutorial and reference purposes.  For that we have GNU documentation and
standards that sustain the maintenance and centralization of
documentation in a manual shipped with the software.  We can spend human
resources in a smarter and more strategical way instead of unnecessarily
rebuild and relocate all documentation by brute force.

From the technical perspective, what we need is to make GDN a tool to
introduce new people to GNU projects so they can start contributing the
GNU way in a straightforward fashion to improve that very documentation
and to develop existing GNU packages in order to comply with the
standards.

From the philosophical standpoint, we need to educate existing and
prospective developers to care not just about their packages as isolated
entities, but about its fitness regarding other pieces and the whole
system design; a design which they also should opine and help to
develop.

What I propose is an infrastructure that will provide the unification so
needed for those apparently dispersed GNU packages, which will build the
idea and aim of cohesion.  The packages will be separated in categories
regarding its functionality and inter-operation proximity.  On that
system maintainers of different packages will be able to talk and engage
on inter-package projects under the premise and goals of a unified
operating system.  There will be resources about the overall
inter-operational standards and documentation teaching prospective or
occasional developers how to contribute to the operating system
development as a whole.  I propose an infrastructure that makes the GNU
project a coordinated community of developers aiming and collaborating
for the same end.  That way we can create a true "GNU Development
Network".

PS: I think the term "GNU Development Network" is more clear for what I
propose.

-- 
 ,= ,-_-. =.  Bruno Félix Rezende Ribeiro (oitofelix) [0x28D618AF]
((_/)o o(\_)) There is no system but GNU;
 `-'(. .)`-'  Linux-libre is just one of its kernels;
     \_/      All software should be free as in freedom;

Attorney General Afghanistan Rubin Mena Area 51 RSA bullion PET
espionage SWAT fissionable AK-47 industrial intelligence investigation
Mole

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