Here are the minutes of the meeting we had this afternoon, written up by Raphael.
Feedback is welcome (even desirable), especially on this topic. The general
topic was how to get more people working on the GIMP, and how to inform people
better about what's going on.
Anyway, here are the minutes of Raphael. Please take a few minutes to read them.
I know these mails have been pretty long, but it's worthwhile reading them, and
maybe letting us know when you think we have our heads up our bums.
Thanks a lot, and happy GIMPing,
Here are the minutes of Yet Another Big Meeting that took place this
afternoon in the GimpTent. The meeting was chaired by Dave Neary and
these minutes were written by Raphael Quinet. As I (Raphael) cannot
post easily to the mailing lists from the Camp, Dave is posting this
message for me.
The title of this meeting was "Communication". The main topics were
how to improve the communication between developers and users or
potential new developers. We also discussed how to present the GIMP
to the "outside" and how to make it easier for new users to try out
the GIMP or get involved in GIMP development.
Altough there was no pre-defined agenda for this meeting, the
following topics were discussed:
- How to get new developers?
- De we need binary distributions?
- Is Bugzilla too hard to use for new users?
- List of open tasks
- Mailing lists
How to get new developers?
Like in any Free Software project, developers are leaving from time to
time to pursue other projects. And from time to time, new developers
are joining the team and starting to contribute. However, it looks
like the number of new developers joining the GIMP development has
been decreasing in the recent years. This may be due in part to the
fact that there haven't been any major changes in a stable release for
a long time.
Another reason may be that it is difficult to build the development
version because it depends on released versions of some libraries that
are not included yet in the major GNU/Linux distributions (e.g., GTK+
version 2.2.2). Also, the number of dependencies for GIMP 1.3.x is
much higher than the number of dependencies for GIMP 1.2.x, so it is
more difficult to have a working build environment for the 1.3.x
version. This problem may be solved as time passes, because more and
more distributions will include the required libraries.
There should be a section on www.gimp.org or developer.gimp.org titled
"How to contribute?" or "How to get involved?". It should be easy for
potential new developers to see where to start and how they can help.
More on that below.
Do we need binary distributions?
There was a discussion about binary distributions. This may help
people to try some versions of the GIMP (especially the development
versions) without having to compile everything. However, maintaining
binaries is a lot of work, even if we only maintain binaries supplied
by others. In addition, this would bring some additional
responsabilities that we do not want to have. For these reasons, it
was decided that www.gimp.org would not host any binaries but would
link to the pages of those who are providing binaries for various
It would be very nice to have Windows binaries for the development
Is Bugzilla too hard to use for new users?
It was suggested to make it easier for users to submit bug reports,
for example by having an e-mail address to which bug reports can be
sent without having to register to Bugzilla (we already have such an
address, although it is not widely known). This proposal was rejected
because most of the bug reports (especially from new users) are
incomplete and require additional information. If the user does not
have a Bugzilla account, it is not possible to rely on the automatic
notification system to send messages to the user when a comment is
added to their bug report or when the status of their bug report
Most developers consider Bugzilla to be a very valuable tool that
works well. Instead of trying to hide Bugzilla from the users, we
should try to make it as easy as possible for the new users to join.
This is already done to some extent by the bug submission wizard
available from http://bugs.gimp.org/. There is a small problem with
the GNOME2 keyword that prevents the open GIMP bugs from being
displayed to the user and we should try to get this fixed.
List of open tasks
There are many open bug reports or proposals for enhancements that
would be relatively easy to fix or implement. We should make it
easier for potential contributors to see the list of easy tasks that
are open. The "easy tasks" should include anything that can be done
in one or two hours by an average developer or maybe a bit more if the
contributor is not familiar with the code.
The best way to keep the list of open tasks up-to-date is probably to
base it on Bugzilla. We could for example use a Bugzilla keyword for
all bugs that are easy to fix (there is already a keyword "easy-fix"
reserved for that, although we could invent our own). It would then
be easy to create a Bugzilla query showing the list of easy tasks.
Another solution would be to have a page on www.gimp.org or
developer.g.o containing a list of all these bugs, with direct links
to the corresponding bug reports. The second solution may require a
bit more work because it would have to be maintained by someone, but
it might be a bit easier to use.
Sometimes, there is a lack of communication between users and
developers of the GIMP. After some discussion, it was decided that we
should not merge the mailing lists gimp-user and gimp-developer
because this could cause various problems: the combined amount of
traffic may be too high for some subscribers, the discussions among
developers may be confusing for some users, and in general we should
let people subscribe to what they are interested in, instead of
removing this option by merging the lists (we cannot force anybody to
read what they do not want to read).
But it would be very useful for the developers to get more feedback
from the users, especially about UI and usability issues. For this
reason, all developers are strongly encouraged to subscribe to the
The web site (www.gimp.org) should contain a list of the various
sources of information about the GIMP: mailing lists, newsgroup, Yahoo
group, GUG, other web sites such as linuxgraphic.org or gimp.de, etc.
The description of the mailing lists should encourage people to
subscribe to both the users and developers lists.
We hope that the next stable release will attract new developers.
This has been the case when 1.0 and 1.2 were released. The transition
to the new web site will also help, especially if the navigation menu
contains some useful items such as "Bugs", "FAQ", etc. The following
items should be available in the web site:
- "How to contribute?" / "Getting involved"
- List of tasks
- List of sources of information (mailing lists, newsgroup, ...)
As with the other documents summarizing what is happening here at
GimpCon, comments are welcome...
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