[Mageia-dev] Identifying Target Markets

Frederic Janssens fjanss at gmail.com
Fri Oct 1 15:01:58 CEST 2010

On Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 00:43, Michael Scherer <misc at zarb.org> wrote:

> Yup, the distro that make you become expert, something like that.
> One thing we must not forget is that we need people that contribute if
> we want to survive. A commercial distribution requires money ( and
> therefore users that can bring money , either directly, or either
> indirectly ( service, ads, etc )) to survive. We are not a commercial
> distribution, so the pressure is lower with regard to money. But we
> still to have people that develop it, and if we cannot pay people for
> that directly ( since we are not a company, even if maybe some companies
> will help us later ), we need to directly use contributions as a way to
> ensure our own sustainability.
> SO IMHO, this is what we should seek if we want to survive. Gathering
> contributions should be one of our goals.
> The second point is that we are here because we want community
> empowerment. So community also must be a strong point, especially since
> it will appeal to people that would allow the community to survive.
> So again, I think that empowerment should be another one of the goals.
> Now, we must ask ourself "what is pushing people to contribute".
> There is various papers, like this one
> http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1113/1033
> ( I let the analysis as a exercise for the moment ).
> And we need to find a way to combine this with others goals.
> While a traditional motivation in free software is to solve our own
> problem ( and that's also part of community empowerment ), this is not
> enough. We also need to think to more than us. And I think that's the
> complex part.
> We have 2 choices. Either we try to find a market where no one went, or
> a market where someone went, and try to be better. Or maybe both.
> --
> Michael Scherer
> I agree.

One way towards that goal is something I thought about since some years :
lessen the divide between the GUI and CLI approach to computers, and OS's in
particular. And thus between the 'user' and the 'geek' cultures (even if
geeks are users too).

In particular : that the GUI tools, for example the GUI draktools, provide a
link (button) to a short explanation of how they do what they do. For
example : what are the configuration files that are changed, and how.

It could be seen as an extension of what is possible with an icon of the
Panel : a right-click gets you to see what it does : the command is visible.

When I was teaching an introduction to OS's, I used Mandr/ake/iva this way
people mainly familiar with Windows : the GUI functions are similar, even if
different, but you can have a 'readable text' access to what really happens.

At first I just told them which configuration files where concerned. Later I
wrote some simple perl scripts using fileschanged  (
to let them find it themselves. But there were many limitations : for
instance KDE configurations are not writen to file directly.

Anyway it would be much more helpful if it is incorporated in the GUI tool
itself (eventually as an option).
It would encourage progressive exploration of the underlying workings.
For anybody, but evidently exploratory behavior is more prevalent in younger

Viewed with some optimism, if this approach is extended, it could lead to an
experience similar to that of people who came to programming through contact
with the early 8 bit microcomputers. (Many people lament the disapearence of
that path of access).

>From the 'magic' point of view it would point to : Magea : the School of


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