[Ambassadors] Re: My vision on Fedora and student partnerships

Luke Macken lmacken at redhat.com
Mon Jun 23 23:58:57 UTC 2008

(Resent, as my original reply never hit the list)

On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 11:09:01AM -0400, Greg Dekoenigsberg wrote:
> There's a lot of energy here on the list, so I thought I'd share my  
> thoughts.  Pardon the long email.
> b. Task Management Tools.  Luke Macken, who is also copied on this email, 
> is working on an interface for Fedora community members to contribute  
> their ideas to the project.  The best ideas can be voted up.  It's a  
> good start.
> These kinds of tools may also be able to correlate a newbie's skills with 
> the skills required for various projects.  One can imagine the following  
> flow:
> * A proposal UI.  Alex has a great idea -- "an interface to track cell  
> phone numbers for all Fedora volunteers" -- and he goes to the "Fedora  
> Proposals" UI.  He enters an abstract of the project.  He clicks the  
> "Turbogears" box and the "Python" box under the "skills needed" part of  
> the UI.
> * The voting UI.  Every member can go to the list of proposals and vote  
> them up or down, Digg-style.  Bill sees on Fedora Planet that a new idea  
> has been proposed for "tracking cell phone numbers".  He likes the idea a 
> lot -- not just because it's a good idea, but also because Alex took the  
> time to explain it well.  So he clicks on the link and votes the idea up. 
> Note: this implies that the bad proposals, like "I think Fedora should 
> use apt" with no good arguments why, will languish at the bottom of the 
> list.
> * The project-finder UI.  Clarice signs up with Fedora as a contributor.  
> As part of the join form, she is asked for her skill set, and she checks  
> "Python" and "Turbogears".  Upon completion, she immediately sees a UI  
> that says "hey, the following projects need exactly your expertise!"  And 
> at the top of the list is the "cell phone numbers" project, with contact  
> information of potential mentors who can help her get started.
> This is not a complicated vision.  It is a highly achievable vision.  
> Luke Macken is already working on pieces of it, and if you have any web  
> programming skills, you could probably help him on it, right now.

So, for FUDCon this year I gave a talk on the upcoming Python web
framework, TurboGears2.  As an example program, I started implementing a
system similar to http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com

I see a lot of value in a system like this, as it drastically lowers the
barrier for contribution.  Instead of "Welcome $NEWCONTRIBUTOR, here are
a dozen mailing lists and IRC channels that you should pay attention to,
an gigantic wiki, and oh -- here is Bugzilla.  Good luck!", Fedora needs
to be able to delegate its own tasks to people, based on their skill

So, as I see it, we've got some work to do:

- Fedora needs to know it's contributors skill sets.

  These can most likely go into the Fedora Account System, as there is
  an arbitrary configuration column that we can easily throw anything
  into.  So then, we need some sort of interface for people to input
  their skill sets.  This can probably go into FAS as well.  Ricky and
  Toshio (who are now CC'd) would be the guys to talk to about this.

- Our tasks need to be categorized/tagged based on the skills required to
  complete them.

  With the digg-like idea sharing brainstorming app that I started
  writing, we can tag ideas with anything we like 'Python,
  documentation, web, etc' -- which we could easily funnel people to.

  Giving people new ideas to work on is great and all, but the problem
  with this is that we have infinite amounts of work living in our
  fedorahosted tracs and bugzilla.  So maybe in the pkgdb we could store
  a list of the technologies associated with each package?

- Fedora needs to delegate it's own tasks to people, based on skill set.

  Once we know what people can do, and what skills are required to get
  things done, it really shouldn't be too difficult to put a shiny web
  interface in front of this that can be used to show contributors a
  list of projects, ideas, bugs, mailing lists, irc channels, mentors,

> So.  That's my take.  Sorry for the long email.  If you agree with this  
> vision, please get in touch with Luke Macken to help make this vision 
> into a reality.  He's already got a great headstart.  :)

So I started writing this tool only a couple of days ago, but it has
turned out to be pretty slick so far.  It's 100% ajax (w/o the xml), 
has comet-based widgets that allow people to go to a single page and
watch the ideas/questions/comments flow in *real time*.

If you're interested in this project and/or TurboGears2, you can
checkout my slides from FUDCon (there are a couple of screenshots of the
app at the end):


Yes, the talk is about an advanced bleeding-edge technology.  If you're
interested in diving in and learning TurboGears, I recommend starting
with my TurboGears1 talk from a couple of FUDCon's ago first:
http://tg.lewk.org and then working your way up from there.

So I'll go ahead and create a fedorahosted setup for this project, so
interested parties can help out.  Once the code is in good shape, we can
create a publictest instance and deploy it.


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