[Discuss] discuss Digest, Vol 10, Issue 99

Matt Maier blueback09 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 26 22:17:01 UTC 2013

First I'd like to clarify that I support the "bazaar" style of open source
development. Anyone should be able to do anything, anytime (with a few
obvious caveats).

If someone thinks they understand a problem, and that the right way to
address it is to use their own personal expertise, then they should do so.
Unless their approach is somehow actively harmful the worst treatment it
should get from the community is indifference.

A software developer can address a problem by writing a piece of software.

Not everyone is a software developer, and the people in open hardware are
less likely to have software expertise. Open source software was able to
grow its own tools because the people who wanted to use the software also
knew how to write software.

Git was created by software engineers, for software engineers. Github
naturally grew out of that, but we are all aware of the fact that Github
cannot handle the complexity of hardware projects. There are software tools
that are great for hardware projects, but they are proprietary secrets that
demand a great deal of time and money.

The problem, then, is that open hardware needs software tools but the
people capturing the benefits are not software engineers. The open hardware
community has to approach software problems as customers.

Since we're customers, it makes perfect sense to clarify our priorities,
build a requirements document, and then establish a basic relationship
between the work required and the number of people who will benefit.

I can't build software, but my personal expertise does cover things like
building consensus around technical subjects. So that's what I'll try to
do. That requires collaborating with people other than myself; preferably
as many stakeholders as possible. Thus, a committee with outreach access to
as much of the relevant community as possible.

No one will stand in the way of small, individually-produced patches, but
personally I'm going to agitate for a more comprehensive solution.

> I think in some cases [individuals solving small problems] has been
> successful, like
> thingdoc, which successfully solves a small piece of the puzzle, but
> needs all the other tools everyone keeps talking about.
> [...]
> > At any rate, the discussion has to happen before any implementation makes
> > sense.
> How do you explain- for example- thingdoc, then? There was very little
> (or no) discussion, and yet it makes a lot of sense and works pretty
> well for its intended purpose, and is a positive contribution to
> packaging within that area of the open source hardware community..
> - Bryan
> http://heybryan.org/
> 1 512 203 0507
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