What should opensource.com be? | Opensource.com

What should opensource.com be?

Posted 20 Jan 2010 by 

Jason Hibbets (Red Hat)
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opensource.com

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Like any ongoing collaborative project, opensource.com will change and evolve over time. Your participation will shape it, improve it, and make it more relevant over time.

If you see a way to make opensource. com better, or if there's something that really bothers you, we want to know. This is our suggestion box, a place you can comment freely about anything - from the images we use to layout to the content itself. Noting of past mistakes is welcome, so long as you keep one eye on our future.

Please leave your comments here.

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45 Comments

mairin
Open Source Evangelist

The "read more" links should be blue - I keep missing them....

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jhibbets
Open Sourcerer

We are working on fixing the links now.

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jhibbets
Open Sourcerer

Acquia support is on top of things, the Read More links on the front page have been corrected.

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mairin
Open Source Evangelist

Also how about having the microblog widget in the lower right use identi.ca instead of twitter...

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pfrields
Open Enthusiast

Or at least have identi.ca listed in addition to Twitter. I wouldn't want to miss relevant info from the biggest microblogging segment, but we certainly should be promoting fully open source services here!

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mairin
Open Source Evangelist

Yeah, maybe make it technology-agnostic? So maybe call it, "What's opensource.com Saying?", show the latest micro-blog content, then along the bottom have a button for 'follow us on identi.ca' and a button for 'follow us on twitter' - then the message is the message rather than the medium ;-)

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Luis

In the header, 'what should opensource.com be' doesn't actually link to this post. :)

I second Mairin's last suggestion too.

(And you really need some kind of moderation system for comments; OT trolls like http://opensource.com/should-be/10/1/opensourcecom-built-open-source#com... need to drop off the radar.)

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jhibbets
Open Sourcerer

@Luis, Good feedback. This is a tough call. We created the "Should Be" section like our other channels late in the game--as we saw a need to talk about advancing the site and community, but didn't have a good place for it. We created the section but weren't sure how it fit in the main navigation, so we made the link, What should opensource.com be?, go to the channel as opposed to this specific post.

My initial concern was we didn't want to hide this section as it's critical that we get feedback about the site. We put the link on the main page and at the top. That was our thinking. If you have thoughts on how to improve it, we'd love to hear it.
Jason

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Luis

hrm, my first reply seems not to have gone through for some reason.

Definitely understand what you're trying to do with the channel, and it makes sense. Might be less confusing if you can pin this post at the top of the channel for the first few weeks?

[Tangentially: the email about the new comment has a ton of information, links, tags, etc., *none of which is the actual text of the comment.*]

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herghost
Newbie

How about a series of forums for discussions about all things open source? This can start simple and general, and perhaps grow as needed; possibly national groups/local groups/initiatives/projects/etc?

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ielsedoudi
Newbie

That would be really really awesome.

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mairin
Open Source Evangelist

The emails to thread comments that OSDC sends out right now are a little annoying. They don't include the new comment text, rather they repeat the original post's text - so now from this thread I have 6 copies of the text of this post in my inbox and the emails all look the same because they don't include the comment text.

I'd rather read the comment in my email reader and click over to the site if i want to reply to it. If I have to click the link and load the site to read the comment I likely won't.

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jhibbets
Open Sourcerer

I've noticed this to and agree. This has been added to the list of things to improve.
Jason

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admin
Open Source Champion

We updated the emails last week, have you noticed a difference. Are they better?

Jason

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mairin
Open Source Evangelist

Yes, SO MUCH BETTER. Thanks :)

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quaid
Open Minded

A user reported to me that in his Conkeror browser there is a problem with the fixed page width, causing him to scroll left/right:

http://identi.ca/conversation/20017728#notice-20028087

Affected system is Debian Lenny and a 1400x1050 screen.

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RemyD
Open Source Evangelist

First of all, the site looks good and I look forward to the updates. Congrats!
Second, this site looks like it will be a great place to tell stories.

This should be a place where I can easily get the word out about the campaigns we're heading up at the Center for Student Innovation at RIT--not only to inspire others, but to suggest some "things that worked/things that failed"--so the community can repurpose our organizing techniques just as well as our sourcecode.

Do you have a planet?
How do I go about getting the stories on our open campaigns and project leaders from RIT/Rochester/UpstateNY syndicated here? (contact the Channel moderators individually?)
Is there any kind of regional affiliation?
Is there an IRC channel where I should be asking these types of questions?

Thank you, and on behalf of OpenInnovation@RIT, we look forward to being a resource for your community,
--RemyD.

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mairin
Open Source Evangelist

Remy!!!! :)

Contact GDK through this site, he's the Education channel moderator: https://opensource.com/user/16/contact

I don't think there is IRC but I think there should be! Same with a planet....

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RemyD
Open Source Evangelist

Thanks to quaid, there is indeed an IRC Channel now. Everybody come hang in #opensource.com on Freenode!

Mizmo, you should talk to Mel about her upcoming trip to the ROC. We'd love to have you then, but if not, then definitely in the very near term. Perhaps FOSScon this Summer? We'll be in touch.

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quaid
Open Minded

+1 to an IRC channel. It is thusly formed.

There are a few bits of surrounding tooling, such as IRC or an open discussion mailing list, and having some real-time chat to discuss how we can make that happen is a Good Thing.

irc.freenode.net/#opensource.com

See you all there.

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craigchurchill
Newbie

I have recently started to compile my musings about the ways in which mass collaboration could be brought to bear to tackle some of the big challenges facing us and really effect things for the better; society, community and business.
I think there is a huge opportunity just around the corner for re-inventing the fabric of what we do and the way we do it.
Fell free to check out www.craigchurchill.com to join in the extended conversation.

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withoutfeathers
Newbie

What is "Open Source" in general: Collaboration, Participation and Collegial approach to solving problems. That's what opensource.com should be.

This is the industrial revolution of the decade.

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Michael Hideo

How about a job board or links to canned queries so folks can see what open source jobs are available (not just Red Hat, but Ubuntu, Novell and not just IT sector roles either)?

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Fitz

Start with a front that will guide people new to open source in the right direction, and also provide more advanced users with news and other informational items.

A forum would also be great.

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kanarip

Is freedom somewhere among the values of opensource.com as well? Free Software, Free Culture (the speech kind, not the beer kind)

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quaid
Open Minded

I guess it's inevitable that people who prefer the term and definition of Free Software will take umbrage at "opensource.com". I'd love to get a consensus with free/open folks that the reason for opensource.com is that "Open Source" is a brand that people have already associated with non-technology, so it's a gateway to get people in to the realm of free/open. I personally don't see it as a choice made to lessen the other. I'm positive that if we were trying to talk to non-technical people about free software, they could get the point, but would have a harder time making the mental leap to apply the principles to education, business, government, life, etc. Using the phrase, "Just like open source, our community's widget ...," is getting more common because the brand of open source is more accessible to people. They get 'open' where they don't get 'free', at least in English where free means two confusingly different things.

So, to Jeroen's question, I think we should have lots of discussion of freedoms on this site. It's clearly a value of the open source movement. I personally refer to 'free culture' when talking about certain movements, such as Creative Commons, because then you can make the 'free' moniker make some sense. (IMO, people doing creative works are closer to understanding how their freedoms are oppressed, and what it means to be free-as-in-freedom.)

When dealing with the inevitable wrangling between free/open, I have hopes (not high ones, but hopes nonetheless) that opensource.com will help just a bit in bridging the needless gap between people who prefer the term/definition of Free Software v. Open Source.

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kanarip

My intention is not to argue about "free" or "open" in any sense of either word, different people have beat that drum before.

My intention is more along the lines of making sure that the values, principles and inherent benefits of "free" make it to the list of KSPs of "open". It's the type of KSP that the rather marketable "open" rarely addresses, in my opinion, but rests on heavily, regardless of whether you call it free software or free culture.

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Natanael L

There should be more mentions of freedom and the fact that the phrase "open source" was chosen by people who thought that open development was better and with less focus on freedom (even though it's implied), and/or that the phrase "free software" wasn't clear enough for most people.

Personally I prefer "free software" anyway.

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Harry J Foxwell, PhD

I prefer "community developed" (for software, documents, devices, etc) as it focuses on the process rather than on the medium that enables the process. You can't have community developed software without unencumbered access to the source code. But the industry and practitioners have latched on to the "open source" label, and I don't expect that to change.

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kanarip

"community" in a sense means way more then the proverbial "idiots not on your payroll". In my experience, many companies are in search of a community, but are also under the assumption that they can just create one similar to how they can create a new department within their organisation. Instead, "community" can be regarded to as a bottom-up type of thing, that companies can merely facilitate and create incentive for (rather then exercise their control over what they have and attempt to create something they might not be able to control at all).

So, in response to the point you made, "community developed" could be considered in no way resembling the value of those proverbial "idiots not on your payroll", which, arguably, is the very core competency creating the majority of momentum for "Open Source" as well as "community developed", that will probably never be on anyone's payroll.

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jhibbets
Open Sourcerer

@Jeroen van Meeuwen - my preference is to not go too far down the technical / software side here at opensource.com. That's just my opinion. There are plenty of other sites out there that do this well. I'm much more interested in reaching people outside the technical & software space.

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kanarip

I'm sorry, but "free" isn't a technical, nor a software thing exclusively.

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Natanael L

Indeed.
To make sure nothing is misinterpreted, there should be more mentions of freedom and links to FSF and other similiar projects/organizations.

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olympiad562

The site looks fine, the links work, the content is what matters most. Even if the site where broken, and links to the void were numerous, if the content is there, that won't all matter.

I am here from rhn

more later...

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hfoxwell

Will it go beyond Linux and "Linux applications" (a misnomer). Will it include discussion/participation/consideration of other open source operating systems like *BSD, Google Chromium OS, OpenSolaris?

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jhibbets
Open Sourcerer

@ Harry J Foxwell, PhD - we want to talk about all of it, even beyond the bits and bytes.

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quaid
Open Minded

These are good questions. I've seen similar questions all this week, and I wrote this in response:

http://iquaid.org/2010/01/28/understanding-opensource-com

In summary, opensource.com is about looking at other domains than technology and applying the practices of free/libre and open source software.

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oly562
Newbie

Taken from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source

Before reading all this I will say Open Source, the term, not the website, to me means, Free to Distribute, Free access to Code, simply put. As long as you keep the authors name at the top of your code, and give credit where it is due, then Open Source lives! If you take the authors code, modify/add/delete/taylor, and then, DO NOT credit its origin, then you are not part of the community but a problem.

Ok read on for the definition by wikipedia, as it's always a good place to start if your are defining this or that.

Open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials—typically, their source code.[citation needed] Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology. Before the term open source became widely adopted, developers and producers used a variety of phrases to describe the concept; open source gained hold with the rise of a public, worldwide, computer-network system called the Internet, and the attendant need for massive retooling of the computing source code. Opening the source code enabled a self-enhancing diversity of production models, communication paths, and interactive communities. [1] Subsequently, a new, three-word phrase "open source software" was born to describe the environment that the new copyright, licensing, domain, and consumer issues created.

The open source model includes the concept of concurrent yet different agendas and differing approaches in production, in contrast with more centralized models of development such as those typically used in commercial software companies. [2] A main principle and practice of open source software development is peer production by bartering and collaboration, with the end-product (and source-material) available at no cost to the public. This is increasingly being applied in other fields of endeavor, such as biotechnology.[3]

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GlebVGA

Surely, we need documentation collection. But I guess we have to make it differ from others. Browsing different Linux-related websites I noticed that:
1)Sometimes it's just difficult to find your way in a great load of articles.
2)If you find something related to your subject of interest, it may be somehow outdated, and nobody cares to rewrite it a little.
3)Dead links - and that's really disappointing.

How about dealing with those problems? Maybe something wiki-like? Or a system to note clearly that's something is not right and has to be fixed?
Thanks

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oly562
Newbie

i agreed on the above post. all 3 points.

wiki's are great! but why should one have to switch to a different site. this site has a nice feel to it.

i wonder if one can incorporate the wiki into this site in a new exciting liquid way?

and of course, script dead, or mindless comments/links to the void.

a open sourced creative newer search engine should be constructed that:

A. brief topics found in search be listed first about those topics, sometimes reading only error message links and fixes have no standard approach, or step by step guides to go about researching a topic or fix. What is needed first, so forth, before applying the quick fix. allow only relevant links first, not error messages links first - links errors at first glance would be organized under completely separate menu aimed at issues only - a submenu if you will, if you are short on time - as usual.

B. incorporate a fresh links button to solve aging old issues, even if 1 day old to present for instant wiki solutions

C. change the way wiki's are viewed visually by incorporating interactive modes; example: allowing access to system files to check for basic errors, then provide possible solutions or suggestions about current configs, programs used, releases etc...

D. script dead links to the void, while caching for review later, while scripts rifle though keywords or flags defined and cross-ref'd on wiki complaints check box. Hey this guy is clueless, or this joker has made ridiculous suggestions here, expunge it.

E. make use of secure connections to allow auth'd admins to compile info about a certain connection/box system wise, thereby cutting through level 1 issues, and allow autofixing based on OS and usage based on standards set forth within the wiki prior to usage.

F. take all forums and comments and extract only the useful data or solutions, not the yammerings of the insane.

G. keep topics brief, and links to more input - elsewhere, or under advanced search feature based on what autochecker has found on your system.

Remember, not all users are linux/unix/script/programming savoy. To allow a more friendly to advanced menu would be preferred.

its late, prolly need to sleep on this one, as this is a simple idea, and needs much review.

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jhibbets
Open Sourcerer

These are very interesting ideas.
Jason

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digitalfredy

Hello i wrote my first comment for this article and now in my page, in the section Authored Comments i found all the comments for the article :(

All comments of the article aren't my comments, and my Idea for fix it is show only the tree for my comment, example:

Article Name by Article autor name
-- Article comment name by Comment autor name
---- My Article comment Name by My name

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jhibbets
Open Sourcerer

@digitalfredy You're right, that's a horrible way to display the comments. We are working with Acquia to update this. I can't promise when that will be fixed, but it's on the list. Thanks for your suggestion.
Jason

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Dave

A Very Reflective Site:
There are tons of concepts at your site and I'll be making it a weekly site for review.
1) Open source: Must embrace, encourage and promote "cross platform" developments. I only found a few links with "cross" in them at your site.
2) Open design: Motivated by the "Apple Exception" topic... many efforts need good design applied within the open source environment. Coders require valuable linkage to the design environment. Consider the site quirky.com

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Chris Yakimov

1. Readability - the font is too small and there are too many words per line. I small thing perhaps, but it prevents me from reading her a lot.
2. Gigya. Not sure how big you guys are, but you might be able to qualify for free use their service - people can authenticate via FB, Twitter or other credentials they already have (I am running out of passwords). There's a healthy Drupal plugin for it (last time I checked at least).
:)

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Jason Hibbets is a project manager in Corporate Marketing at Red Hat where he is the lead administrator, content curator, and community manager for Opensource.com. He has been with Red Hat since 2003 and is the author of, The foundation for an open source city. Prior roles include senior marketing specialist, Red Hat Knowledgebase maintainer, and support engineer. Follow him on Twitter: @jhibbets

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