Right up front, I'd like to say that as far as I'm concerned the
1.3+ debate is closed. I'm happy with 2.0, but even if I weren't
I don't think the version number is a big deal. This mail is
about other stuff...

Nathan Carl Summers wrote:
> On Fri, 18 Jul 2003, Sven Neumann wrote:
> > First of all, Mitch and me are not willing to raise the 2.0 versus 1.4
> > discussion again.
> Gimp is more than "Mitch and me," isn't it?

Well, I would have said it a little more tactfully, maybe with
more than 2 names, but let's look, shall we?

[EMAIL PROTECTED]:/usr/local/src/gimp-1.3$ grep mitch ChangeLog | wc -l
[EMAIL PROTECTED]:/usr/local/src/gimp-1.3$ grep Sven ChangeLog | wc -l
[EMAIL PROTECTED]:/usr/local/src/gimp-1.3$ grep '^[^    ]' ChangeLog | wc -l

So between them they're responsible for 2178/2724 commits in the
1.3 branch, or 80%. Granted not all of those are commits - so
it's probably more like 75%. 

Third place is 109 (yosh). Then comes Maurits with 108, then (in
no particular order) nomis, myself, pedro, rockwalrus, jimmac,
Hans Breuer, Daniel Egger, sjburges, Raphael and tml. That brings us 
down to people who have 10 commits or fewer in the last 3 years. 
That's it - over 90% of the stuff in 1.3 has been written by 14 people, 
and the vast majority of that has been written by 2 people.

It's interesting that you brought this up, by the way - I've been
thinking for a while about the problems that the gimp has been
facing, and why. 

The problems as I see them are 

1) User feedback on the development series is poor
2) Documentation is poor
3) Our release cycle is poor 
4) UI is not a priority.

I think 1, 2 and 3 are related. As are 1 and 4. 

Those are the problems at the philosophical level. At the
practical level, the problems are:

1) Not enough users use bugzilla to report bugs
2) Not enough developers use Bugzilla to find out what bugs need
3) Not enough developers hear user complaints
4) Not enough users know what's happenning in the developer
5) Not enough non-technical people are working on the GIMP (this
is at odds with when I joined, when many of the most active GIMP people 
were non-technical).

That's the practical level. Now, here's why I think these
problems exist.

1) Too many communication interfaces, not enough communication.

The GIMP has the following communication methods available to it:

- Website - www.gimp.org
- Website - mmmaybe.gimp.org
- Website - gug.sunsite.dk
- IRC - irc.gnome.org
- Usenet - comp.graphics.apps.gimp
- Mailing list - [EMAIL PROTECTED]
- Mailing list - [EMAIL PROTECTED]
- Mailing list - [EMAIL PROTECTED]
- Mailing list - [EMAIL PROTECTED]
- Mailing list - [EMAIL PROTECTED]
- Mail alias - [EMAIL PROTECTED]
- Bugzilla - bugzilla.gnome.org
- CVS - cvs.gnome.org
- Release notes.

There's definite consolidation to be done there. That's 13 ways
to get information. And 13 ways to send it. I listen personally
to about 3 of those... [EMAIL PROTECTED], Usenet and the devel list. 

Certainly when I put stuff in the list, there are several things
which aren't intended as information conduits per se - CVS is for
versioning source files, but the best way to find out what's
happenning with the gimp these days is to read the Changelog.

My first proposal would be to do a reverse split of the users
and developers mailing lists - get everyone talking to one
another. It will certainly annoy people because of increased
traffic, but I think it'll be worth it. We have to face up to the
fact that after 3 years without a major release, and only 14
active developers, the GIMP is a small project. Step 1 is to get
people talking to each other.

Proposal 2 is to either do away with [EMAIL PROTECTED] or de-spam it.
I'd actually prefer doing away with it altogether. People
(including myself) use it as a crutch to avoid hunting around in
bugzilla, and it results in us using bugzilla wrong (no-one takes
possesion of gimp bugs, they float around in ownerless land until
they get fixed). I would prefer to set up a system of module
owners, who take possession of bugs, and send them on to the
people best suited to fixing them. These people wouldn't even
need to be technical, they'd just be required to do a first-level
filter (invalid or nogabug or needinfo bugs) and send the real
bugs to the people most likely to fix them.

Proposal 3 is to try to persuade the Win32 guys to come back to
the main gimp mailing list. 1.3 should be buildable out of CVS,
but I have not been able to find anyone who's actually done it
using free build tools. Personally I failed miserably somewhere
around pango. Our biggest user base is win32 users, so that's
probably our biggest source for future developpers, documenters,
ui designers. We should be listening to them, and they should be
listening to us.

Proposal 4 is to set up a proper partnership between the gug and
www.gimp.org. The gug is the best gimp resource on the web, which
is what gimp.org should be. I know that carol's done a huge
amount of work on the new site, and she's found it difficult to
get content for it from people. I know as well that Raphael's
spent a lot of time on the old site, and that the web team's been
shrinking on him for years. The GUG site is a huge resource of
content that we should be tapping into. 

What form that partnership would take, and how to go about
getting them involved, I don't know. Sorry - this is mainly
questions, not answers :)

Proposal 5 is related to proposal 2. We need a structure. A neck
to grab. I would like to propose setting up a sub-group of module
owners. Mostly this would be people who have the definitive word
on what goes into a module. This group of people would be
intimate with the code, and be able to evaluate patches. There
would also be a module owner for the website, and a module owner
for UI (that is, interface issues). In the case of arguments on
the (one) mailing list, the module owner trumps. So a sense of
politics would be useful :)

This group would be responsible for module administration in
bugzilla (assigning ownership of the module to a minion) and
would be the steering committee for the project as a whole, as
well as being the arbiters of CVS permissions.

Proposal 6 - allow people to submit bug reports without a
bugzilla account. I would like it if Bugzilla could get their
email address from the first mail they send to the portal,
sign them up and send them a password, but it doesn't. As a
technical problem, is this possible? Or could we have a mail
alias to which mails (which pass a spam filter) get converted
into bugzilla reports, with the e-mail information in the body of
the bug report?

I think this is important to allow people see a more reactive
gimp community. A current typical use-case might be "gimp crashes,
restart gimp", or it might be "gimp crashes, go to gimp web page,
nothing about bugs on the first page, restart gimp", or it might
be "gimp crashes, go to gimp web page, nothing about bugs on
first page, scroll down 4 pages, follow "Submit a bug!" link,
there's a page asking for me to enter my e-mail address, restart
gimp". I don't believe that the typical gimp user gets a bugzilla
account when he runs into a gimp problem.

OK - so that's it. Food for thought. Basically, since 1.2 the
size of the gimp community has been shrinking. We don't have any
documenters, we don't have many testers, we don't have many bug
fixers, we have very few web developers, we have a couple of
artists, and we have maybe a dozen active developers. Something
needs to be done to change that, or the gimp will never see a
major release with gegl (whatever version number it will have).


       David Neary,
       Lyon, France
Gimp-developer mailing list

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