Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My first day as distmaster

Starting from today, I will be officially starting my work as distmaster. Nokia has gracefully sponsored this position for the community at the request of the community council.

The current team cover areas such as bug management, system administration&collaboration spaces, documentation, forums and maintaining software repositories. All these positions facilitate development and collaboration in the community - one based around the Maemo platform and the Nokia devices. But one particular area is missing: the facilitation of tablet/device operating system development.

While currently targets developers building on top of the OS, many people within the community is interested in improving the OS, since it is what they have to deal with daily - as Maemo users. In my time within I've found there's been a reliance on Nokia to provide fixes for problems - instead of looking within the community for people who were capable enough to fix the problem, deliver the solution and publish it in a manner that non-developers can utilize the fix.

One of the 2010 Agenda goals is to provide Maemo variants - which would be the pipeline for delivering community fixes.

Maintaining a Maemo variant is not a easy job - you have to deal with a lot of different stakeholders in a diplomatic manner, mentor and engage new developers, often do a lot of the heavy lifting yourself, faciliate the developing and invent new collaboration spaces for this.

Facilitating and engaging the community in this manner is a day job - which is why we have the team.

I will have 20 hours per week (part-time until January of my own choice) where I will be doing mostly community work and some internal Nokia work as needed.

The primary role as a distmaster is defined as facilitating the development of Maemo variants (Mer, Diablo/Fremantle Community Variants, etc):

* Developing collaboration spaces for developers of Maemo variants
* Mentoring and engaging developers in order to move the Maemo platform and variants ahead
* Communicating with stakeholders (Nokia, distributions implementing the Maemo platform, users and developers)

Secondary role is serving as a paid system developer for the community:

* Developing fixes and features for the Maemo OS & variants either on his/her own based on the input of community council
* or through activating, mentoring for and collaborating with community developer(s) in order to get it completed in collaboration with upstream developers.

As I am also maintaining the ports and base system area for Mer, I will focus myself on the hardware support for Nokia devices and let other team members deal with other device communities/vendors to avoid any potential conflict of interest situations.

As primary facilitator for the Mer project I've successfully helped activate many developers within the community in order to get Mer to where it is today. A lot of these developers came to the Maemo project at the hope of being able to develop the OS but ended up contributing few pieces to move ahead - but there was noone to group all these things and incorporate them in the system, so the brilliant pieces ended up gathering dust - until now. Now there's a official community position to make this work happen.

Looking forward to working even more closely with this community.

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