My post on how Freedombox’s pursuit of perfection is undermining its goals prompted some discussion. Hearing how people the Freedombox community wants to help end up supporting products we see as non-Free jolted my system. I believe constructive criticism helps, but my desire to contribute more led to the offer below.
One person’s response got me thinking about how I, as someone who doesn’t write much software, can help.
Diaspora is a decent example. They released something buggy, with minimal functionality, reasonably early on… yes, they were criticized for it’s quality at the time, but it got people using it (those who could get an invite / understand they go go elsewhere, anyway) and today they’re by far the largest free socnet alternative.
Diaspora has a long way to go to succeed, but it has a product out there. Why did it release something while Freedombox hasn’t?
Bdale Garbee wrote
The services that work today *are* released, and are widely distributed in the Debian mirror network. Anyone who wants to stand up some or all of the services that have been discussed here need only find a cast-off machine, install Debian, and have at it using the notes various folks have contributed to on the wiki.
I respectfully feel like he described the situation before Eben first presented the project and suggested we could complete the project quickly. It suggests the Debian community is better at packaging what others first create and informing each other of what pieces are out there. Important, but not what the project needs now.
I believe projects work when one person or a small number of people dedicate themselves to doing it themselves. I also believe a sole developer out there, or maybe a small group, wants to create a working Freedombox and has the programming and packaging skills to do it, but also has other challenges they need other resources to overcome.
Based on these beliefs, I will put my time where my mouth is and offer my time to one person or small group working toward releasing a working, however minimally, Freedombox to bring it to release. I’d like to free them from whatever project-related tasks are keeping them from programming and packaging. Or to provide or help find necessary resources.
My time is limited but my motivation and ability to find other resources are great. I’m happy to work one on one, in person, remotely, whatever. I can work as a project manager or guy Friday; you can be my boss or I can be yours; … whatever will help the project best. I can help motivate if that will help best or find other people who can solve problems we can’t. You get the idea.
If you are someone capable of creating a minimally working Freedombox and could use help, email me and let’s figure out if I can help you complete the project. If you are someone not capable to complete the project but similarly motivated, maybe you could offer your services too.
I came up with the idea while reading responses to my earlier constructive criticism. I don’t know how much the offer will help, so if someone can think of a better way for me to offer my services, please let me know.