Bringing balance to the force

Posted 7 Jun 2002 at 20:46 UTC by jonas Share This

A few months ago, when GNU-Friends was starting up, I created something called the Free Software Development Network (FSDN) just because I felt something like that should exist. FSDN has really never been anything other than a name, but perhaps it could be?

I don't have the time to maintain FSDN, or to create something of it today. In fact, I don't even know if FSDN should continue to exist and if so in what form. Several people have told me though that they like the idea of having a Free Software Development Network, so I'm calling on those people to get their act together and submit ideas.

Not only would I require ideas, but also people who actually want to build something, anything. Resources is generally not a problem for projects such as this and I'm confident that if some people would want to do something, resources will magically appear at their fingertips.

what qualifications are needed to...., posted 7 Jun 2002 at 21:12 UTC by bytesplit » (Journeyer)

join your movement? I would love to participate in the Free Software Development movement, but would like some mentoring in the process. At the moment I am wanting to build a php-based calendar application for my family. Yes, I know there are such products already out there, but for reasons of getting some experience and building software the way that I want it to be built, this seems to be an exciting project for me. Sorry about that. I imagine that you wanted this thread to focus on FSDN, just thought I'd let everyone know where I am coming from.

reply, posted 8 Jun 2002 at 01:21 UTC by nymia » (Master)

I write documentation mainly as a way of recalling concepts, though. I don't know if my docs are suited for Free Software developers, but I'm willing to give it a try writing for FSDN if you are looking for contributors or maintainers.

Here are two articles I wrote for myself. Here and here, basically, they serve as notes just in case I need to refresh myself of something.

Regarding ideas, there are several sites you can go and see how they managed to set them up. My suggestion is to keep the layout simple as possible, so maintenance will not be that big of a deal. Start with simple two-column or three-column layouts, using hyperlinks pointing to static pages. And then move upward one notch every 6 months, for example. Like implementing XML or 3 tier type of architecture.

Regarding purpose of FSDN, one idea would be to make it a site for developers who are looking for coding techniques or something like information for a given architecture.

Another thing to consider is the cultural background of the readers. My experience led me to believe the tone and style are written depending on cultural background. Some readers will fall asleep for articles that are too formal and there are readers who doesn't like technical articles containing jokes or opinionated slants.

Bringing projects together, posted 8 Jun 2002 at 01:43 UTC by chipx86 » (Journeyer)

Personally, I'd like to see FSDN bring open source projects together. Let me explain what I mean by that. First, you could have a list of all sites that are part of FSDN, perhaps sorted by category. I see that you already have a list on (and I'd love it if you added The GNUpdate Project to it :). There could be a section for news, where multiple projects could post to, kind of like SourceForge's news system. Perhaps there could optionally be a little bar at the top of participating projects' websites, like the OSDN bar. It could identify that the project is part of FSDN, and provide links to a list of participating projects, project news, and maybe some other things.

It shouldn't stop there, of course. You could provide general forums for projects to discuss ideas and get help. Maybe even allow people to write articles, tutorials, and reviews.

A lot of these things exist on SourceForge, though I believe another site, run by volunteers, should offer these capabilities.

I would also like to see a way for projects to advertise their projects in a method similar to Google's text ads. I'm not a big fan of graphical banner ads, like most people, though I have clicked on several of Google's ads.

These aren't really ground-breaking ideas, but these are things I would love to see in such a site. If I think of anything else, I'll mention it here. I do hope that the FSDN continues, in one form or another.

Union of countries, posted 8 Jun 2002 at 12:14 UTC by Malx » (Journeyer)

What I really whould like to see there is some way to unite people from all the world, who do not know English well (I am not very good in it also :)

The idea is to implement some labels for any message, which could be easyly translated or have icons ("question", "reply", "news", "tutorial", "source", "algorithm", "event", "person", "idea" e.g).
Then you need to have labels ("beginer", "...", "master" e.g. - may be like on advogato?) and also target audience ("I have written this message for "beginer", "...", "master" to understand). This will specify target audience so experts will not spent time reading comments for beginers.

Then you must suport all languages. So I could post there message in Russian language. But! There should be fields "description of message in English". And button "Call for translation" - we will ask two-language people (which possibly are not programmers at all) to translate this message to english or from english to other languages.

And the last one - there must be links. So you could post "Event" - '12.05.2002, FreeBSD team annonced ......'. Then you link "Comments" for "beginners" to it, "comments" for "experts", "translation(to russian)" of "comments" for "experts", e.g

And - search capability :)

Should we setup mail-list for further implementation notes?

Or we need to develop our own FSDN-ru, FSDN-uk .... :( With copy of materials

Ref: engine (it is one language engine, but you could get some ideas for labeling, ranking, linking and editing of material).

Free Software Development, posted 8 Jun 2002 at 15:26 UTC by jonas » (Master)

As I have pointed out in a diary entry on GNU-Friends by alex, I could see FSDN evolve into a place where developers can go to find information about how to develop Free Software. What tools are available, how to use them, what other online resources exists and how to interact with them and so on. Any thoughts on this?

Toolchain tutorials, posted 9 Jun 2002 at 01:21 UTC by braden » (Journeyer)

As far as getting developers started, something still missing from the available documentation are entry-level tutorials for getting developers started using the GNU autotools and CVS. The documentation for these tools is good reference material, but generally assumes too much to be of use to developers just starting out. A high-quality (and high-visibility) walk through using something like GNU Hello would be a valuable resource.

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