On 01/27/2011 04:43 PM, Eric Grivel wrote:
> I am getting the impression that the Gimp project is trapped in a
> chicken-and-egg problem with regard to attracting new contributors,
> where the few core developers are too busy maintaining the product to
> spend a lot of time helping new developers come on board.
> Gimp is an extremely large and complex system. I am a fairly experienced
> coder myself, and have recently submitted patches for two open bugs. But
> those were easy ones, not really related to any Gimp structures but
> basic "C" bug fixing. I have looked at some of the other outstanding
> bugs and for most don't have a clue where to start, or how to make sure
> that my fix fits in the vision, or that it doesn't break something else.
> At this point, knowing how busy the core Gimp developers are, and
> recognizing that it will take more time for them to walk me through a
> problem and a solution than it would take them to just fix the issue
> themselves, I am hesitant to ask for a lot of help. On the other hand,
> the idea of just delving in and figuring it out myself is quite daunting.
> Which is where my thought of a "boot camp" came in. What if there was a
> group of potential new developers all struggling with the same learning
> curve? Wouldn't it be great if an experienced Gimp developer could lead
> the whole group through a series of exercises, designed to gain
> experience and understanding of the Gimp and Gegl internals.
> This would require some serious commitment of time by one or more of the
> Gimp developers, and would mean other work wouldn't get done. The
> potential payoff however in the form of bringing one or more additional
> Gimp developers up to speed could be significant.
> Eric

I think there are some good points in Eric's comments.

I don't know quite how to describe it, but if the "boot camp" were 
virtual in some manner that others coming along in the future could 
learn from, but not be buried and obsolete issues a few years from now, 
that would seem to be the best of all worlds.

Perhaps something along the line of a highly structured web-based (not 
particularly email) "discussion forum" approach (using out-of-the box 
forum software) wherein each issue/subject/lesson was a tightly managed 
thread that allowed on-subject question/answer, but then the net of each 
answer gets integrated back into the initial lesson, making the lessons 
stronger over time.

And if a thread becomes obsolete due to advances in Gimp, etc., the 
thread can be archived.

Unlike a "normal" discussion forum, the managers would edit, amplify, 
rearrange or remove both questions and answers as appropriate to 
strengthen the lesson.  After all, the intent is not a real discussion 
with expression of opinion, etc., the intent is a directed learning 
experience in which the teachers and students interact to hone the 
usability of the lesson.

Anything that will help to capture the knowledge and experience of the 
core developers can only help to keep Gimp vital in the coming years. 
We never know when any individual will no longer be available in Gimp's 
future, thus capturing that knowledge is really important.

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