Mitchell Charity, a long-time OLPC volunteer, recently posted some interesting thoughts on our development community. I quote:
This wiki should be replaced. Groups of pages need to be owned by individual people. Only they can write to them. If you wish to contribute, you should email them patches. If you wish to create your own pages, you should fill out a form, and email it to the wiki administrator. What? You what? You think this profoundly misguided? Disastrous? Sure to stop wiki development dead in its tracks? Certain to dissipate and prevent formation of a wiki development community? Well, yes. Of course. That’s exactly what it’s done for the activity development community.
Seth asked for specific descriptions of what Mitchell would like to see. He responded “gforge.” I’m curious what others have to say about Mitchell’s description of the volunteer development situation as well as the proposed toolfix.
Here’s how I’d phrase the question as it stands: How can we optimize a system – technical and social – that gives us the largest and most varied pool of stable, volunteer-maintained, open-source, kid-hackable educational Activities possible? Gforge, workshops, bounties, documentation, toolchains, access… through any means possible, how would you maximize the number of Activites that meet the above criteria?*
Secondary: There are always reasons why things are the way they are. The question is whether those reasons and tradeoffs, deliberate or happenstance, still make sense given the current situation and the (always) limited resources available. Is this what we should be optimizing for, and how high-priority compared to other goals should this optimization be to whom?
*Note: I wanted to post a link to Walter’s criteria for good Activities here, but couldn’t find it – does anybody know the URL?