[Mageia-discuss] Mageia logo proposals and selection

andré andr55 at laposte.net
Thu Oct 21 06:59:22 CEST 2010

Frank Griffin a écrit :
> Gustavo Giampaoli wrote:
>> So, I'm sorry but I agree with the people who want to target this
>> "ordinary people". Because I don't think that making Mageia easier and
>> friendly hurt or damage advanced users. Linux will be always powerful,
>> with the right packages. And any advanced user can make "urpmi
>> my-advanced-packages" whenever he/she needs.
>> We need to attract more non-linux users.
> This is getting very repetitive.  Your argument, and the arguments of
> those who argue your point of view all make perfect sense and flow
> logically, *IF* you accept the premise that the mission of Mageia is to
> entice computer-ignorant or computer-antagonistic people, or even just
> non-linux newbies, to use Mageia.
> This *might* be a given if Mageia was a company organized to make a
> profit.  But it's not.  It's a group of primarily technical people who
> decided to fork Mandriva because they felt that the technical excellence
> of the distro was being compromised by Mandriva's corporate goals.
> In a perfect world, where volunteer labor was in infinite supply, and
> was paid solely in terms of satisfaction that what they achieved met
> their own goals, a community distro would be built up of layers, each
> building on the ones below it.
> Developers would not need to care about appealing to users on any level
> other than providing needed function.  They would produce non-GUI
> components which had enough configurable options to satisfy anyone from
> your grandma to Linus Torvalds.
> Other developers who were so inclined would write GUI interfaces to
> these services which exposed all of this flexibility, or most of it, or
> some of it, or very little of it, depending on whether they were
> producing a UI aimed at Linus or grandma or someone in between.
> The same would go for installs: the base install would be componentized
> and configurable and open, and interested parties would customize this
> for a variety of target audiences.
> The FOSS world isn't perfect, but only in the sense that the volunteer
> labor supply isn't infinite.  Without an infinite supply, the activities
> that don't get performed for resource reasons will be determined by the
> satisfaction metric - if the target audience isn't important enough to
> some group of technical people to impel them to customize a UI and an
> install (and documentation) for that target audience, then that audience
> won't see their needs addressed.
> In the corporate world, you have to make a profit.  Because you have
> limited resources, and because you can't risk basing your enterprise on
> packages you don't control, you have to address all of the above tasks
> with a finite pool of resources.
> Because of that, you can't afford to design your distro to be
> configurable and flexible enough to even *potentially* please every set
> of target users.  Since the number of target user groups determines the
> amount of resource you need to satisfy them, it follows that you have to
> limit that number in order to satisfy your chosen group or groups with
> the resources you can afford.
> This is where marketing becomes invaluable; it uses quantitative
> analyses to determine which target group(s) represent the greatest
> potential for profit, and the result of those analyses will determine
> what development works on, what the tools look like, and what the
> install looks like.
> If you accept that the marketing results must be correct, then it makes
> no sense for development to build flexibility into software that will
> never be used, or for the install team to allow for any install paradigm
> that isn't directly oriented to your target user groups.  Basically,
> marketing drives the truck, and every group associated with production
> centers their activity on marketing's objectives.
> This minimizes development costs, and will produce the greatest profit
> from the number of sales made.  Developers are hired to do only that
> work that supports marketing's directives, and the theory is that they
> work primarily for the money.  They are controlled by Marketing, which
> derives its authority from the owners or shareholders ("stakeholders" to
> use the fashionable economics term).
> ***That said***,,,
> Mageia is not a company.  We have no shareholders, and no financial hold
> over the developers.  No marketing group has directorial authority over
> the developers, because there is no "stakeholder" group which can grant
> that authority.  No number of users suborned from Windows or Mac or
> Ubuntu puts a penny into the pockets of anyone involved in Mageia.
> Saying "we believe that a large number of users will switch to Mageia if
> we limit our focus to such-and-such" is interesting and may even be
> accurate.  It is also immaterial, unless the validity of the statement
> somehow gives you the authority to direct the actions of the others
> involved in Mageia.
> In FOSS, it doesn't.  If enough people agree with your objective, you
> may find that you have enough critical mass to produce a derived distro
> with a face and personality which matches your objectives.
> But to say that the entire community has to direct and/or limit their
> efforts to your target group just because you can demonstrate that you
> can wean them away from some other product ignores the fact that such a
> goal may give no or even negative satisfaction to those expected to do
> the technical work.  That's not to say that they dispute your skills in
> determining a target market, but simply that they derive no satisfaction
> in doing or limiting their work to address that market.
> Graham is fond of saying that "you can't be all things to all people",
> but that's only true in the area of the spectrum where his skills come
> into play.
> In development, the entire concept of Software Architecture and
> Component-Driven design is directed towards producing components with
> enough flexibility to be configured for any possible use of the
> functionality represented by that component.  When not constrained by
> the profit motive, development will produce flexible and adaptable
> components, and rely on upstream integrators to tailor or limit their
> function to a particular market.
> In reality, this often aligns with the profit motive, since (oh horrors)
> it actually may happen that Marketing is wrong, in which case the
> company is at least left with saleable software assets as opposed to
> software locked into a vision which didn't work.
> The significant costs of trying to be all things to all people, both in
> resource cost and opportunity cost, come much further up the product
> development chain, in QA, documentation, marketing, sales focus, and
> other such non-development areas.  That's where you have to decide which
> way(s) to go, to the exclusion of others, not at the development layer.
Right on the mark :)
- André (andre999)

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