Time to make a slightly more concrete contribution.
Times and lives change and this lets you become more or less able to do those things you really wish. Well hopefully I've finally reached a point where I'm able (as opposed to previously being unable) to do these things.
And what might these things be?? Well to contribute. How? Pretty much anyway I might be able to. I can really confess to being a coder, at least not to any useful standard, however I'm sure I have some useful ideas and I have a fairly firm grasp on the process of development. Where and what I will do is still open and will probably come down to person preference and acceptance of the other people involved.
I've been around or using or playing with OS/FS since prior to Linux 2.0. This may pale in comparison to some people around here but I think by now I've got a fairly good grasp on how things work. As my name might indicate I tend to watch what goes on taking note of movements and trends etc. It was amazing to watch the rise of things like mp3 and a whole host of "failures" like push content but such is the fast paced nature of the beast these things have become commonplace almost.
It's this fast paced, unpredictable and constantly evolving and re-evolving nature that causes problems. I was recently reading an entry from jdub which led to the formation of the Gondwana project and how so many good developers are being left out "of the loop" through language issues. Well I think (and I know I'm definitely not the first to think so IIRC either jdub again or possibly skud mentioned something along similar lines) that in many ways this applies also to people who DO speak English and can and may even be very willing to participate but are held back for various reasons.
Some people hold themselves back for personal reasons and those people we can do little about except maybe give encouragement if we know what's happening but it's the one's who are keen to help or contribute that are being either outright rejected or made to feel very unwelcome and uncomfortable that are the gravest cause of concern.
Some of you code junkies out there can pump out code at a ferocious rate and more often than not it work (at least reasonably well) and you can do this with seemingly little stress. That's great and if it weren't for people like you and others before you a great many of us wouldn't be making the livings we are today and life would be very different. However there are a number of you (and others) who shun (well maybe not shun but don't exactly make welcome) those who can't. Now don't get me wrong in no way am I disparaging any of you. I've done (or at least tried to do) what many of you are doing (probably not to the degree of complexity you are) and I know a number of the problems and pressures. However what I don't think many of you realise is that you are actually making things harder for you. I guess it harks back to what skud and jdub were referring to with the mentorship thing. Coders (whether good or bad) who are willing to code (and I'm not restrict this discussion to coders just using them as an example) are a VERY valuable resource, in fact to my way of thinking a keen and active below average coder would be more useful than a brilliant coder who never codes. It's a lot harder to get people to code than it is to teach people or fix their mistakes.
So take some of these people under your wings and teach them your collective brilliance.
On the whole I've noticed a degree of superiority amongst the community as a group, which also acts as a barrier for people to enter. Recently on one of the many mailing lists I frequent a person got mercilessly torn to shreds, flamed till his bones were mere dust. Now in some instances after fair warnings etc this is entirely acceptable and in some cases necessary or recommended. But shouldn't we be embracing people who show an interest in OS/FS?? Don't' we need all the people we can muster to spread the word? Hands up if you've never posted inappropriately anywhere on the net?? Or maybe you haven't but you had to wait and read the mailing list or whatever for six months before you felt comfortable enough.. Should everyone be forced to do that?
Say what you like but the push for Linux etc is towards where MS now sits. Useable (yes yes I know it's not really but most people don't think and/or know that) Ubiquitous and Unchallenged. And to be practical about it to do that you have to make things easy. Hopefully while still allowing those who want to hack code or customise themselves into oblivion to do. The best of both worlds. If this is the case ,and I'm sure it is, with the actual ``program/OS/code'' then why not with the community. Shouldn't the same principals apply? How many people out there who do consulting/hardware/tech stuff have had to deal with a stupid client or an idiot customer? Now you do because they are your livelihood and the reason you are there.. Shouldn't the same thing apply to the users. If a tree falls in the forest is there really a noise and all that crap.. well if an Operating System is OS and no-one (bar the developers) uses it is it really an Operating System??
I've been around long enough and know my abilities and strengths, and happen to be thick-skinned (and stubborn) enough that, now I'm able, I'm not likely to be put off by these things but newcomers might not be like that. And if they leave they may never return and a tree no matter how strong that never gets any new shoots will die. It's just a matter of time.
So I'm gonna dive in. Find a project I like or that looks interesting, there's so many that that shouldn't be a problem. Then I'm gonna see what they need done. Even if it's just testing it. *shrug * Or maybe writing the doco (uurgh I can't believe I said that LOL) But for every me and for every one of you reading this there might be ten people who've been scared off or just outright intimidated into leaving. Just think how strong the movement would be with a tenfold increase??
Something to think about eh?
Until next time :-)