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Bug 86393 - Gentoo information level too low
Summary: Gentoo information level too low
Alias: None
Product: Gentoo Infrastructure
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Other (show other bugs)
Hardware: All Linux
: High enhancement (vote)
Assignee: Gentoo Infrastructure
Depends on:
Reported: 2005-03-23 08:27 UTC by Kim Pedersen
Modified: 2005-03-24 07:15 UTC (History)
4 users (show)

See Also:
Package list:
Runtime testing required: ---


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Description Kim Pedersen 2005-03-23 08:27:57 UTC
Some time ago, Gentoo was very good at informing its users about the current state of the main as well as the state of subprojects (the doc-team not included). Lately I feel that this level has fallen below what IMHO is acceptable - even for a non-profit, volunteer project.

Some examples:
1) The website. Some time ago the website contest was announced. Since the winner was found we have heard nothing about the progess of the new website. Why are we not updated (even news about it not being worked on is OK, but no news is bad)?

2) The 2005.0 release. Some time ago we heard about a security rebuild. Since then we have heard nothing. Not even a hint about how its going. Then I find release information at Why is this information not in the newsletter or the frontpage?

3) About the subprojects. The hardened team, how is SE-linux implementation progressing? The kernel team, why have we heard nothing about the upcoming shift to udev in the 2005.0 release? Again - a litte information about the current state, even if its not being worked on, or has been delayed, is better than no news at all.

Reproducible: Always
Steps to Reproduce:
Comment 1 Lance Albertson (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-03-23 09:14:01 UTC
Probably should be invalid, but i thought you three groups could at least make a comment if you'd like.
Comment 2 solar (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-03-23 10:17:43 UTC
#1 (website changes)
 Appears to be stalled.

#2 (2005.0 release)
What kinda progress updates do you want to know? It's in the works. 
It's in testing and will be released when its ready.

#3 Subprojects (hardened-selinux implementation)
Relay from hardened "selinux implementation has been done for a very long time"
So there is no reason to beat it into users heads over and over that it already 
works. There exists several handbooks for this even.
Comment 3 Kurt Lieber (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-03-23 10:25:55 UTC
All of the information you are asking for exists...there's a mailing list for the www-redesign.  2005.0 status has been discussed on IRC and in mailing lists.  Same with sub-projects.  We just need folks who are able to follow the various means of communication and summarizing it for publication.  This is the express reason the GWN was created, in fact.

The problem is there aren't enough people willing to volunteer their time to make this happen.  Ulrich (GWN publisher) does a good job, but can always use more bodies to help.

If you feel particularly strong about this issue, then I'd suggest you volunteer your time and help be part of the solution.  I'm adding Ulrich to this bug so he's aware of it.  Feel free to contact him at if you'd like to contribute.
Comment 4 Chris Gianelloni (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-03-23 10:34:07 UTC
There is a reason why we (Release Engineering) do not offer more information.  We have found that the more information we give out about the releases prior to completion, the more questions get asked and the more time we have to spend to explain the exact same thing to multiple people that can already be found on the mailing lists and web pages.  We have deemed that it is not worth our time.

As for the store, remember that they are a separate entity.

There is no news in the GWN because there is nothig to report.

Are you seriously suggesting that we pack the GWN full of things like "Release Engineering has been doing nothing that is publicly available... again.  We welcome you all to sit around and watch us do nothing in public until such time as the release is done... at which time there will be a flurry of activity in the public eye, and then nothing... again."

Rather than file a bug (Why a bug anyway?) on such a non-issue, why not join the relevant mailing lists or IRC channels and see for yourself?  As Kurt has said, the GWN is designed to give Gentoo news.  It is not designed to give Gentoo non-news.  There's no need to say "yeah, we're still here" every week on a project that is obviously long-running.
Comment 5 Kim Pedersen 2005-03-23 10:47:12 UTC
I am not saying that we need information _every_ week. But it would be nice with a monthly project status sum-up or something like that. This could be part of  (one of the four monthly issues of) GWN or just published on the website.

I know that all the subprojects have seperate information pages - but I think it would be better for both users and the projects, if the users were more aware of the different projects. 

As for releng information in particular, I am aware that it is special in the sense that you get asked a lot of questions. But the latest GWN could have mentioned that 2005.0 has been rebuild _and_ ready at the Gentoo store.

Also, #2 says that website redesign has stalled. Why not write about it in GWN, so that people know whats happening? The GWN is not just a place for success stories about Gentoo, but also a status update place in my opinion.
Comment 6 Matthew Kasa (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-03-23 12:20:51 UTC
The website redesign has not stalled per se, it is being actively worked on, the primary delay has been lack of time on the part of Aaron Shi, which is not something to be "fixed", we wouldn't want to post something like that in the GWN because all we would get is more people trying to help do what we already have people to do, it will be completed as soon as Aaron has enough free time to work on it, it's as simple as that...this information btw was gleaned easily enough from the mailing list, which you could join and watch if you were curious.
Comment 7 Nicolai Guido Klausen 2005-03-23 14:24:27 UTC
yes, most info exists... but it's of know use if you have to seach all the mailing lists and all the subproject to find it. We have GWN, use it... even if it's to say, it not beening worked on any more or you need more devs and tests or that you have the pepoel you need on projects, so that the help you get is on the in the rigth place... even the smallest steps can sometimes be the news we are wating for.

getting the news about the secrity rebuild in 2005.0 was a relief, but not getting an opdate was not.

You say that the SE-Linux is fuly implemented, then way not tel all the world?

We the uses is addicted to news... And then you don't get an addited what he needs you know what happen...

I second to Kim on makeing a special section ones a month on progress on the subprojects. Do not make the news comming out deepened on the maintainer of GWN... I ones was responsipel for the news one website of my racing bicycel club and know one gave me the info I needed to keep the site op too date, I tried to find it my self, but not knowing that kids and seniors did on the day to day basis made hard know what was news... If the subproject insted reported just a couple of lines to GWN, nothing fancy, just a couple of lines (the devs is for devepolement, not news making), the maintainer of GWN will have something to work on.

!!!THIS IS NOT A FLAMEBAIT!!! I use gentoo becaus it's the best! But the infomation level is too low - even for a non-profit, volunteer project.
Comment 8 Robert Paskowitz (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-03-23 15:19:39 UTC
The phrase "even for a non-profit, volunteer project" really should stop being used in a negative fashion. It makes for an absolutely horrible argument. You say it yourself, there is no profit to be made, and all the work is done on a volunteer basis. This implies that whatever can be done, is being done. 

While technically, a developer could do more work, they don't have to, since it is at their discretion what is important and what is not, be it related to the project in question, or anything else they have going on in life. Everyone is being used to their full capacity.

If you feel that more can be done, feel free to propose somethign that is more efficient, or perhaps that someone could be brought on board to do a specific task. Maybe even help out yourself.

It is extremely important that you realize that this is worked on by people in their spare time. 

To quote from Dom, an AbiWord developer:

My mother taught me that when you ask for a favor:

    * You ask politely, which may mean that you have to ask that person in a special manner (i.e. via bugzilla)
    * You can't be overly-demanding, otherwise you'll be ignored (or worse...)
    * If the favor gets done at all, it gets done on the favor-giver's timeframe
    * If that person is unwilling to fulfill your request, say "thank you" and either go ask someone else, do it yourself, or forget about it entirely
    * If/when the favor is fulfilled, express some modicum of gratitude to its giver. 
Comment 9 Nicolai Guido Klausen 2005-03-24 00:12:54 UTC
even for a non-profit, volunteer project is not ment negativ! But for my account ment as even when pepoel is not geting pay to do a job, a coupel of lines of info to the news addicteded user IMHO to be espected.
Comment 10 Ulrich Plate (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-03-24 04:24:15 UTC
Regular project updates with news-worthy content don't just happen automatically, we have to extract those from the different projects. Unfortunately, we can't expect anyone to keep us posted about the changes they do. When we write stories about things that happen, I often get "gee, we thought that wasn't interesting enough to publish, but thanks for picking it up anyway" type of reactions from the people involved in those projects we just covered. Personally, I don't know half of what's really progressing in the various projects, and I'm usually only paying attention to the things I have an inkling of understanding of -- which naturally limits the scope of the publication. But as Kurt already pointed out, we constantly recruit authors for the GWN, and one of the roles that needs filling is precisely that: project update scouts. Want to volunteer? Drop me a line at, we'll certainly find something to do for you.

About the release information: we're following a very simple rule that I believe is the same across all Linux distributions I'm aware of: it's announced when it's ready. Period. No speculations, no progress meter, and the reason for that is that it would demand valuable time from the release engineers that's much better spent getting the release done. And I'm certainly not going to publish "the release isn't done yet" newsbits either, releng would kick my butt to Mars if I ever tried to put pressure on them that way...

By the way, much of the information you're demanding is available on the website, but one of the motivations behind the redesign effort is to make it easier finding it... Another good source for information on what individual developers are doing is, as long as you bear in mind that it's just an official aggregator for unofficial content.
Comment 11 Kurt Lieber (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-03-24 07:15:51 UTC
to very well may be that information about the various inner workings of gentoo and its subprojects could be made more readily available.  We do have an avenue for publishing that information (the GWN) but we lack people willing to do the collecting and summarization of data on a consistent basis.

Until those people step forward, this problem will not be solved.  Thus, marking as cantfix since we really can't fix it.  You, however, can fix it by donating your time.  I certainly hope that the folks who have expressed concern about this problem will help be part of the solution.