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Spreading Linux and building a community - getgnulinux.org

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ariadacapo's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-13

Hello everyone !

I am a completely new member at nuxified.org.
I have just built and put up a website about switching to Linux: GetGnuLinux.org . The good people here have been quite happy about it, because there's now a button pointing to it on the bottom of every page = )

Specifically, I come here with two main questions:

1) Do you have comments ? What's bad about the website ? Any suggestions to change it ?

2) How can I build a community ?

the second question needs some explaination. I am alone behind the site now and it looks like it is attracting quite a lot of interest (apparently there have been around 1000 visitors, in big bursts, in the last (second!) week). More importantly, I wish the project to grow, a little like the spreadfirefox one. There are tons of things I can think of.
I can't do this alone. It's a very large amount of work and I don't have enough time. I wish this to be a community effort.
I am looking for an online management system. Something very much like a wiki, but more project-orientated (I am thinking about sub-projects, status indication etc). I am not looking for a system directly modifying the website itself (as yet) - that could still be done "traditionally" by a few users with accounts on the hosting.
Can anyone suggest of an easy-to-install and set-up system, that I could use to organise something to keep building getgnulinux.org ? I'd be very interested to hear !

I hope you will have comments and suggestions... thanks in advance

Olivier.

free-zombie's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-08
welcome ! getgnulinux.org is

welcome ! getgnulinux.org is really a great site - well, ok, the header could do with a bit of artistic reworking, but I understand not everyone is an artist. That would fit into the community picture you have.
I would suggest you start with writing down your ideas somewhere together with contact information and see what happens for a start. If you don't want to install a CMS as yet, you could (possibly) give a few "ultimately trusted" people (that part is tricky and for you to decide...) SSH or FTP access. Pretty much the classical way. If/When the interest grows, you would have to use some form of CMS. But then you might have found someone who can and will help you there/do it for you.

Just some random ideas; some might call it €0.02 or ¢2 Eye

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Hello and welcome to

Hello and welcome to Nuxified ariadacapo!

I am glad to hear that the traffic on getgnulinux.org is growing. Yesterday I submit it to digg and LXer where it seems it was well accepted (although it hasn't been dugg to digg.com homepage yet). Maybe that helped with the traffic a bit. Eye

Quote:

1) Do you have comments ? What's bad about the website ? Any suggestions to change it ?

The site is really good as it is and I don't have any real complaints on it right now. It's quite simple, elegant and easy to navigate so.. nothing much to add at this point. Smiling

Quote:

2) How can I build a community ?

the second question needs some explaination. I am alone behind the site now and it looks like it is attracting quite a lot of interest (apparently there have been around 1000 visitors, in big bursts, in the last (second!) week). More importantly, I wish the project to grow, a little like the spreadfirefox one. There are tons of things I can think of.
I can't do this alone. It's a very large amount of work and I don't have enough time. I wish this to be a community effort.

Making it a community effort would probably be a good thing if you want to expand further. However I think you'd have to think carefully about the direction in which you'd take it. The reason is simply that as it is now people like it. They see it as a simple introductory homepage to GNU/Linux and I think that keeping that impression is your best bet for success.

If you add too much of other things to it too soon, it may soon loose this impression.

That said I think it's probably best to simply improve on the concept you have right now.

The community could definitely, as always, be of some help in that sense. One option I can offer, from where I stand, is to make Nuxified.org a community arena for developing this idea further. We could even dedicate a special forum section for your site if necessary. Eye

The reason why this could work is simply that we have some common goals and Nuxified.org itself was once a site for people switching to GNU/Linux (it featured user testimonials, something that may yet come back again) so there's really a good deal of common ground here. Smiling

In essence, my suggestion is: make GetGNULinux.org a homepage for those wishing to know more about GNU/Linux in order to switch, and Nuxified.org a community that offers help to those who have newly switched, as well as a communiy backend for your project. Smiling

Of course though, it is up to you. Smiling

Quote:

I am looking for an online management system. Something very much like a wiki, but more project-orientated (I am thinking about sub-projects, status indication etc). I am not looking for a system directly modifying the website itself (as yet) - that could still be done "traditionally" by a few users with accounts on the hosting.

Sounds like an online groupware system of sorts. One place where you can check out (and even try out demos) of various content management systems is http://www.opensourcecms.com so you might find what you need there.

That's it from me for now.

Thanks for joining!

EDIT: I've moved this topic to the lounge. The Applications & Misc forum is for technical support, rather than website discussions. Eye

ariadacapo's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-13
a cry for help, really

hi and thanks for the welcome and compliments on the site =)
Sorry about misplacing the post (wrong forum), I gave it one short thought but obviously a second one would habe been better.

free-zombie wrote:

the header could do with a bit of artistic reworking, but I understand not everyone is an artist. That would fit into the community picture you have.

Absolutely. If we can improve it while maintaining it very simple and clear, I would love to. In fact there are dozens of proposals, slight remodellings, rephrasings, modifications, that pend on, waiting for me to go through them.

free-zombie wrote:

I would suggest you start with writing down your ideas somewhere together with contact information and see what happens for a start. If you don't want to install a CMS as yet, you could (possibly) give a few "ultimately trusted" people (that part is tricky and for you to decide...) SSH or FTP access. Pretty much the classical way. If/When the interest grows, you would have to use some form of CMS. But then you might have found someone who can and will help you there/do it for you.

I am already at the point where I "see what happens for a start". I expected the site to start slowly, giving me time for tweaking, tiny changes, contacting people. Something with one new visitor a day. My own little construction to explain what Linux stands for.
And all of a sudden, within one week (when I've just managed to correct basic typos and not even had time to validate the code), the stats hit the sky (at my scale) and I get four or five emails a day with comments, questions and suggestions, controversy, etc. It's a real shower. I'm overwhelmed, but panicked. Help! I can't handle this alone!

libervisco wrote:

Making it a community effort would probably be a good thing if you want to expand further. However I think you'd have to think carefully about the direction in which you'd take it.
[..]
If you add too much of other things to it too soon, it may soon loose this impression.

I definitely agree. But there are tons of different things to do on the site without expanding it (just like the spreadfirefox or OpenOffice.org communities manage to do pretty well) as well as on the outside. I think also of translations, discussions about how to introduce Gnu/Linux to friends

I think managing access to the website itself is not a problem. I can handle this (just with my host at the moment) quite alright. What I need, more and more urgently, is something to organise and communicate projects. Some place where people can choose to make link buttons, or suggest improving a given Wikipedia article, or suggest new structuring of some page of the site, or talk about making it display better with IE, etc, etc.

I am thinking of something resembling a wiki, that everyone can read but only members can edit : A page corresponding to each getgnulinux page, a page corresponding to each "project". And a forum to complement that. (hosted at Nuxified.org if you suggest so and think it.

.

I need this thing urgently because this "buzz" and explosion effect isn't going to last. I feel it's really a one-time opportunit and it's going to waste if I don't seize it.
Plus, I really believe in the power of web communities and believe we can have an effect. With Vista just around the corner and DRM/TC creeping in, it really isn't too early.

.

To summarize, I need: (sorry to be so direct! this is not a request to Nuxified.org members in particular, just a cry for help)

- Self-standing proposals to structure the project ( community.getgnulinux.org + wiki + forum ?)
- A very few dedicated people to start the thing (I have never done a wiki and will never have time to moderate a forum) that feel the y really have fully understood the purpose of the website.

I think with these two, getgnulinux.org could we well set-off. Do you have remarks or suggestions ?

Thanks!
Olivier.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
ariadacapo wrote: hi and
ariadacapo wrote:

hi and thanks for the welcome and compliments on the site =)
Sorry about misplacing the post (wrong forum), I gave it one short thought but obviously a second one would habe been better.

No problem about that. Smiling

ariadacapo wrote:

Absolutely. If we can improve it while maintaining it very simple and clear, I would love to. In fact there are dozens of proposals, slight remodellings, rephrasings, modifications, that pend on, waiting for me to go through them.

I can actually offer to make a redesigned header if you'd like as well, though it seems you have enough submissions already. Let me know if you need it.

ariadacapo wrote:

I am already at the point where I "see what happens for a start". I expected the site to start slowly, giving me time for tweaking, tiny changes, contacting people. Something with one new visitor a day. My own little construction to explain what Linux stands for.
And all of a sudden, within one week (when I've just managed to correct basic typos and not even had time to validate the code), the stats hit the sky (at my scale) and I get four or five emails a day with comments, questions and suggestions, controversy, etc. It's a real shower. I'm overwhelmed, but panicked. Help! I can't handle this alone!

Oh, I see. Maybe we overreacted slightly with promotion. Too much too soon. I'm willing to help you as best as I can.

However I think there is really no need to panick because even as it is the site is pretty good. That is, besides, the very reason why you are getting so much attention in the first place. Already as it is, it was good enough to attract people and I don't think you need to rush with making big improvements and changes for that attention to keep going..

ariadacapo wrote:

I definitely agree. But there are tons of different things to do on the site without expanding it (just like the spreadfirefox or OpenOffice.org communities manage to do pretty well) as well as on the outside. I think also of translations, discussions about how to introduce Gnu/Linux to friends

I think managing access to the website itself is not a problem. I can handle this (just with my host at the moment) quite alright. What I need, more and more urgently, is something to organise and communicate projects. Some place where people can choose to make link buttons, or suggest improving a given Wikipedia article, or suggest new structuring of some page of the site, or talk about making it display better with IE, etc, etc.

I am thinking of something resembling a wiki, that everyone can read but only members can edit : A page corresponding to each getgnulinux page, a page corresponding to each "project". And a forum to complement that. (hosted at Nuxified.org if you suggest so and think it.

I think I am beginning to see better where you want to take the site. You want to turn it into a campaign for spreading GNU/Linux (like spreadfirefox.com does) and therefore see the current status of the site as only the beginning.

That's a pretty good idea indeed, but as you say, you need help with developing it.

The way you describe it, it sounds to me like what you really need is a forum and possibly a commenting system that enables people to post comments on every page of GetGNULinux.org site. That's actually the way SpreadFirefox.com has it.

ariadacapo wrote:

I need this thing urgently because this "buzz" and explosion effect isn't going to last. I feel it's really a one-time opportunit and it's going to waste if I don't seize it.
Plus, I really believe in the power of web communities and believe we can have an effect. With Vista just around the corner and DRM/TC creeping in, it really isn't too early.

I know what you mean about the effect not lasting, but I think there is at least enough time to do something without a big rush. Let's first discuss ideas that have been put forth and see in what way can we implement them.

You're very right about using this opportunity before the Vista release. If we could make a splash now, before the Vista release, we might gain a significant following which would be awesome for Free Software and GNU/Linux.

ariadacapo wrote:

To summarize, I need: (sorry to be so direct! this is not a request to Nuxified.org members in particular, just a cry for help)

No need to apologize for being direct. It actually helps clear up what are your current needs so we can better address them.

So let's get down to business! Smiling

ariadacapo wrote:

- Self-standing proposals to structure the project ( community.getgnulinux.org + wiki + forum ?)

Well, as mentioned earlier I think that all you really need is the ability to comment on individual pages and a forum for sharing ideas and discussing ways to improve the site.

I don't even think a wiki is necessary for all that. SpreadFirefox.com seems to be doing just fine with forums.

It also runs Drupal which I would honestly recommend for the job. It's not the easiest CMS to install and maintain, but it's certainly one of the most flexible and clean, and could make GetGNULinux.org feel similar to SpreadFirefox.com.

I can help you with setting up Drupal, designing a theme for it and inserting all text from the current site to that.

I believe comments for each page can be made to appear a bit separate from the actual page (not to confuse newcomers) while still nicely allowing people to comment a specific page and how it can be improved.

Quote:

- A very few dedicated people to start the thing (I have never done a wiki and will never have time to moderate a forum) that feel the y really have fully understood the purpose of the website.

Well.. I can't personally promise to be dedicated 100% simply because I have two other sites to maintain. However, I'd be willing to help with the moderation of GetGNULinux.org forums, especially if we're partnered in such a way for GetGNULinux.org to recommend Nuxified.org to people that want help with GNU/Linux while leaving GetGNULinux.org forums for people wishing to discuss GetGNULinux.org itself and ways to promote GNU/Linux. That way we both play distinct roles while mutually helping each other at doing it. Smiling

Let me know what you think.

Thank you
Daniel

ariadacapo's picture
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Thanks for your imput

Thanks for your answer Daniel.

libervisco wrote:
ariadacapo wrote:

I need this thing urgently because this "buzz" and explosion effect isn't going to last. I feel it's really a one-time opportunit and it's going to waste if I don't seize it.

I know what you mean about the effect not lasting, but I think there is at least enough time to do something without a big rush. Let's first discuss ideas that have been put forth and see in what way can we implement them.

You are right here. In the last 24hrs, I have been thinking very much about expanding the project and this "urge" that I was feeling.
I have decided to take my time to construct something and let pass the "wave" if it must be so. The stats are already on the decline and, to be honest, it's a relief.

libervisco wrote:

I think I am beginning to see better where you want to take the site. You want to turn it into a campaign for spreading GNU/Linux (like spreadfirefox.com does) and therefore see the current status of the site as only the beginning.

You are right. The site by itself was the end of a lot of effort and reflection. Now my personal project is over: I expressed what I wanted to express about Gnu/Linux and Free software, in a clear (relatively) concise way.
What I'm left with today is a powerful tool. Many new things open up, that were merely a remote possiblity "if I ever get the site done".

As a note apart- you mention spreadfirefox, but I believe it could be much more difficult, challenging and rewarding. Not because an operating system is bigger than just a browser - what I mean is that the advocacy of Free Software is entirely different from what they do, unfortunately (type getfirefox.com and look for the words "free", "open source", or "GPL"...).
In my opinion, fighting only on the grounds of "a better user experience" is dangerous and very slippery. It's definitely not what I want to do.
This is important to me; marketing is obviously a part of the game but by no means the core of it. I want to get people thinking, just a little bit.

Organising my thoughts, I could identify the following areas for the project. I have more precise ideas, of course, but this is the idea.

  • Making the site more robust.
    Just looking at it with IE makes me scream. There are tons of things technically that could be done to reduce the size, avoid bugs, and look like pros.
  • Making the site truer and more relevant
    Still one sub-page to add (will be done next month), but mostly re-organising, rephrasing, etc. One example is the Why not Windows section which takes either 3sec or 3hrs to read.
    It's also important to get more printscreens, because my wording to differentiate Ubuntu and Suse really sucks.
  • More marketing
    More buttons, better graphics, a smoother feel, etc. I'm sure to find many people for that.
  • Translations
    That have to be very organised, so as to keep quality level high
  • Discussions/articles about spreading Linux around (not through the website)

whew ! I can't stop thinking of possible things:-). One or two of them at least should be viable.

libervisco wrote:

Well, as mentioned earlier I think that all you really need is the ability to comment on individual pages and a forum for sharing ideas and discussing ways to improve the site.

I don't even think a wiki is necessary for all that. SpreadFirefox.com seems to be doing just fine with forums.

It also runs Drupal which I would honestly recommend for the job. It's not the easiest CMS to install and maintain, but it's certainly one of the most flexible and clean, and could make GetGNULinux.org feel similar to SpreadFirefox.com.

I can help you with setting up Drupal, designing a theme for it and inserting all text from the current site to that.

I believe comments for each page can be made to appear a bit separate from the actual page (not to confuse newcomers) while still nicely allowing people to comment a specific page and how it can be improved.

I agree also, after giving it some thought. I believe it would be good to start with just a forum, and from then on (possibly in a month or two) construct a solid "platform" (Drupal looks good, I know nothing in CMS =) )

libervisco wrote:

[...] I'd be willing to help with the moderation of GetGNULinux.org forums, especially if we're partnered in such a way for GetGNULinux.org to recommend Nuxified.org to people that want help with GNU/Linux while leaving GetGNULinux.org forums for people wishing to discuss GetGNULinux.org itself and ways to promote GNU/Linux. That way we both play distinct roles while mutually helping each other at doing it.

I think this sounds very good.
To be honest, I would very much like to have the forums hosted directly here at Nuxified.org (say in a new section like it has been mentionned earlier on). From my point of view, this has the following advantages:
- A great atmosphere to start in
- Not setting up from scratch
- A good place to land for any hesitating newcommer to the project or to Gnu/Linux.
- Nuxified.org might even benefit from more members and community, if the spin-up is successful.

Of couse this is very much subject to what the community here thinks. I wouldn't want to come in, force my way and ruin the atmosphere = ) Tell me what you think about it.

I really believe I am making slow progress here and that this is constructive. I hope this shows. Thanks for all the good input =)

Olivier.

libervisco's picture
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ariadacapo wrote: I have
ariadacapo wrote:

I have decided to take my time to construct something and let pass the "wave" if it must be so. The stats are already on the decline and, to be honest, it's a relief.

Well you've got a good kickstart. It would take alot of time before you get back to where you started from regarding traffic, so in any case you've made progress.

And as you improve and introduce new things to the site you can make more waves. Smiling

ariadacapo wrote:

As a note apart- you mention spreadfirefox, but I believe it could be much more difficult, challenging and rewarding. Not because an operating system is bigger than just a browser - what I mean is that the advocacy of Free Software is entirely different from what they do, unfortunately (type getfirefox.com and look for the words "free", "open source", or "GPL"...).
In my opinion, fighting only on the grounds of "a better user experience" is dangerous and very slippery. It's definitely not what I want to do.
This is important to me; marketing is obviously a part of the game but by no means the core of it. I want to get people thinking, just a little bit.

Absolutely. That's one of the biggest reasons I fully support your project, because you're putting things in place rather than ignoring certain important aspects regarding Free Software as some tend to do (usually failing to give the goal and value of freedom a due mention).

In my opinion GNU/Linux without this freedom is nothing but just another in a pile of operating systems, which just happens to be one of the better ones. It's really freedom what makes it so revolutionary!

ariadacapo wrote:

Organising my thoughts, I could identify the following areas for the project. I have more precise ideas, of course, but this is the idea.

  • Making the site more robust.
    Just looking at it with IE makes me scream. There are tons of things technically that could be done to reduce the size, avoid bugs, and look like pros.

Eh the old IE problem. It always makes me mad for having to deal with IE at all. IE was until recently the only nonfree software I had installed on my system, simply for testing purposes as in this case there is really no other alternative except just ignore IE at all. Some have even suggested to ignore it, but I am not sure it's the best way to go considering the still prevailing number of people using IE that could have possibly become new Free Software users, but may be turned off by the site looking bad in IE.

I didn't go too far with it though and the site definitely looks better in Mozilla browsers, which is also openly stated in the footer.

In any case, if you need help with some design details regarding polishing the site to look even more professional, feel free to ask.

ariadacapo wrote:
  • Making the site truer and more relevant
    Still one sub-page to add (will be done next month), but mostly re-organising, rephrasing, etc. One example is the Why not Windows section which takes either 3sec or 3hrs to read.
    It's also important to get more printscreens, because my wording to differentiate Ubuntu and Suse really sucks.
  • Well it looked good enough for me, but that's just me. In any case these things can always be improved and fixed up a bit. Again, if needing any help feel free to ask.

    ariadacapo wrote:
  • More marketing
    More buttons, better graphics, a smoother feel, etc. I'm sure to find many people for that.
  • Yep, I might be one of those people so if you need it just say the word. Smiling

    ariadacapo wrote:
  • Translations
    That have to be very organised, so as to keep quality level high
  • Agreed. This is less trivial as you need to find people who know these other languages well and have the time and will to translate. I could help with the Croatian version. We ought to start organizing this in forums that are to be established for GetGNULinux.org.

    ariadacapo wrote:
  • Discussions/articles about spreading Linux around (not through the website)
  • Indeed, discussions are part of the whole community process and ought to result in some good ideas about spreading GNU/Linux, and ultimately articles presenting these ideas as well. On Nuxified.org we have a formal writers team that might be of help, although everyone from our community is free to contribute and help, of course.

    ariadacapo wrote:

    whew ! I can't stop thinking of possible things:-). One or two of them at least should be viable.

    One or two at a time. Smiling

    ariadacapo wrote:

    I agree also, after giving it some thought. I believe it would be good to start with just a forum, and from then on (possibly in a month or two) construct a solid "platform" (Drupal looks good, I know nothing in CMS =) )

    Well I can help with drupal. If you ultimately decide to host forums on your site Drupal has that too. Actually this very site here, including these forums, is powered by Drupal. Smiling

    But of course, no rush with it. If you'd like we can have GetGNULinux.org forums integrated to Nuxified.org and then later on convert your site to a CMS of some sort to help organize and run things better.

    ariadacapo wrote:

    I think this sounds very good.
    To be honest, I would very much like to have the forums hosted directly here at Nuxified.org (say in a new section like it has been mentionned earlier on). From my point of view, this has the following advantages:
    - A great atmosphere to start in
    - Not setting up from scratch
    - A good place to land for any hesitating newcommer to the project or to Gnu/Linux.
    - Nuxified.org might even benefit from more members and community, if the spin-up is successful.

    Well, although I may be a little biased I can only agree with that. I'm completely open to creating a section for GetGNULinux.org here on Nuxified.org and if you want it and noone here doesn't mind, it can be done in no time. Smiling

    My goal is to build this site into a stable Free Software support community portal with respect to Free Software ideals and its users. Hosting GetGNULinux.org discussions here may only help that goal and as you said, the community involvement here can in turn help your goal of building GetGNULinux.org into a great GNU/Linux and Free Software advocacy resource.

    ariadacapo wrote:

    Of couse this is very much subject to what the community here thinks. I wouldn't want to come in, force my way and ruin the atmosphere = ) Tell me what you think about it.

    Well I invite everyone who wishes to post their opinions on this. If anyone has any objections, suggestions, questions etc. please feel free to step forward.

    ariadacapo wrote:

    I really believe I am making slow progress here and that this is constructive. I hope this shows. Thanks for all the good input =)

    Yes, progress is being made. If the community here doesn't object, and you're still for it, we will establish a new Free Software advocacy section here for GetGNULinux.org and then we can move further. Smiling

    Thanks
    Daniel

    ariadacapo's picture
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    Asking the community

    Very good...

    I am going away from any internet connection this evening and shall not return before a week; Afterwards I will have only sporadic access throughout August.

    I opened a new thread in the Questions and Suggestions forum, asking what the members thought about such a move.

    If the community generally doesn't oppose, I think it could be good to open a new section in the week of the 25th of August, providing I can put the text for the first few topics together. I will do my best.

    Thanks for everything...

    Olivier.

    libervisco's picture
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    No problem Olivier. Thanks

    No problem Olivier. Thanks for starting that thread. There's plenty of time for community to give input till 25th of August so things should be pretty eased up. Smiling

    Have a good week!

    Daniel

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