The Community Environment

In the first post I wrote about “environment that permits innovation” and now I will share my thoughts about community environment in Symbian Foundation. What kind of “environment” do we have in Symbian community? Is the current environment supportive, encouraging, friendly, safely or respectful? Do members feel that they are respected and they get support when needed? If not so, their contributions may be appreciated in other open source communities.

Respect

Open source communities are meritocracies and every member wants to build their social status in the community. Same comes with the Symbian Foundation: members are building their creditability in the community and they are contributing different ways. Thanks to Nokia and other big companies who have contributed a lot to Symbian Foundation and making this community possible. They have gained their statuses and respect.

But then we have “foot soldiers” in the community who are contributing error fixes, fix proposals, small things that create Symbian platform better. It seems that they are forgotten or even worse; their contributions are not notified at all. If those foot soldiers does not get feedback, support or nobody encourages them they will use their valuable time elsewhere.

Support

Since Symbian Foundation is quite young open source community members may need more support. Support is needed when starting developing with Symbian, how do I contribute my code to package, how can I get contact to package owner, basic things for those who have been working in open source communities before. It needs also good attitude from community leaders when these questions are raised.

One form of support (and communication) is guidelines that tell for example how contributions are done to some package. I would say that I need guideline for that purposes, I am not sure how to contribute code in some package (of course it would be better if I stay away from code). I have read that it should be easy, but still I am not sure.

Code of Conduct

I have two kids aged under four years and they are sometimes very adorable but most of the time they are little menaces. They need limits and rules how to behave with other kids, in home, in shop, in restaurant and so forth. I think that good open source communities should have also some kind of “code of conduct” that determines community rules and values. In shortly, if you follow these rules the the collaboration in community  will be easier. Good example is Ubuntu’s code of conduct which determines “ground rules” for community way of working.

Well, that was it what I was thinking during this week. You know how to comment and I encourage to that activity. If you do not want to comment publicly you can send e-mail.

Learning Symbian Foundation

My previous blog post was a historical because it received two comments from its readers. Both comments were excellent and I decided to write blog post inspired by them. This is how collaboration works I wrote something and received comments and comments inspired me to write more. So here we go again 🙂

New Form of Collaboration

Symbian Ecosystem has been long time quite closed and everything related to Symbian was very confidential. Everybody who was working with Symbian/S60 code had to write NDAs to get access to source code. NDAs usually limits information changing and now those who have been taught to this model are amazed. What this mean, what open source mean, how this changes the game?

It changes a lot and everybody needs to understand the rules of open source, obey the community rules, start to play with community rules. I think that this is challenge also for those big multi-national corporations, that Slinky mentioned in his/her comment. They must also start to think differently and it takes time, everybody are learning how to play with new “open source rules” in Symbian Foundation.

What comes to “crowdsourcing” and challenges that can be solved by the crowd. It is also new thing in this ecosystem and if Symbian Foundation has same kind of service like InnoCentive. I would say that InnoCentive-kind of model would work also in Symbian Foundation. There are rules how “solvers” are rewarded if they have posted solution to the challenge.My opinion is that InnoCentive won’t be so popular if solvers won’t get paid. But still GOS has a point with time-to-market and “software is ready when it is ready”. I need to think this further 🙂

Attractiveness of Symbian Foundation

GOS mentioned in his/her comment Mozilla and Linux communities where contributors are very enthusiastic about the projects. I agree that Symbian Foundation may not be in that position but I bet that there are people who are enthusiastic about Symbian and they have will to develop it further. But it might be true that there is room for improvement in area of attractiveness of Symbian Foundation.

I bet that there are interesting projects in Symbian Foundation and its packages. The only impediment is that developers may not know where those interesting projects are located. That’s why I am thinking that Package Owners could spread more word, create buzz around package and try to gather contributions to own packages. I have read somewhere that only interesting projects will live in open source world.

Proper Open Source Community

Slinky pointed in his comment that Symbian Foundation is not yet proper open source community. Well, if we compare Symbian Foundation to Linux or Mozilla, they have decade long lead over Symbian Foundation. As mentioned earlier they may had challenges in starting the community and hopefully Symbian Foundation can learn from their mistakes. Symbian was not born in open source community but we can raise Symbian Foundation to well-bred open source community. It will not happen in one year it may take another year too. Fortunately we have those big multi-national companies that supports community and collaborate to make Symbian Foundation even better 🙂

That’s all from this week!