Netlabs.org - big inefficent monster
netlabs.org - big inefficent monster?
There was a posting in the eCS DevGroup Mailinglist these days which I (User:Ktk) got forwarded by some netlabs.org coders. Even if the mail writes quite some BS about netlabs.org it's worth commenting it because some points are worth a discussion. Note that I will not follow the discussion in the original eCS DevGroup mailinglist, for such discussions we have the http://dir.gmane.org/gmane.org.netlabs.community mailinglist.
Also comments to this site itself should go to the Disussion page, simply click on Discussion above.
I didn't change the original content, I just give my comments per paragraph.
Among the reasons Mike Kaply and the Warpzilla team are doing so well: 1) First and foremost: Mike and the Warpzilla team ship product... they produce. There in no vaporware or deadwood anywhere to be seen. They ship often and on time. 2) He set up a single group for communications and he regularly drops by to communicate. 3) He very often asks people what they want or what they think. He even asked people about the tinderbox fund before he did it.... that's how he found out about amazon.com. Don't understand estimate how important communications is. 4) He shows leadership. He is polite but leaves no doubt as to who is in charge and is who responsible. History has proven that he is generally correct on issues where I disagree with him. He knows what he is doing. 5) He tells it like it is. It he doesn't have the time or capability to fix something he tells everyone that he doesn't and says that someone else needs to take this on. The team has built up to the point that others are not only picking up the slack but they are finding and fixing additional issues and adding new capability with Mike only needing to do code reviewed and checkin.
Not much to say about this. I personally love Mozilla & the stuff Mike did and does for OS/2 and eCS. I'm also very much impressed by the rest of the team because there are people contributing to it I never heard of. For quite some time I thought I know everyone that codes for OS/2 and eCS ;)
Compare and contrast the Tinderbox drive and Netlabs fund raising. I've put 10 items under Tinderbox and 10 under Netlabs. Item 1 under Tinderbox relates to item 1 under Netlabs, etc: With Kaply's Tinderbox fund drive: 1) The request for funding is very very specific. People know exactly what their money is going for and exactly why it is being asked for.
That's quite easy for the Mozilla team, after all it's just one project or at least several subprojects that are related to each other. I mean they share the same codebase and such. Most projects at netlabs.org do not have anything in common.
2) Warpzilla produces. No dead projects or vaporware here. It ships good quality products very regularly.
If this means netlabs.org does not produce anything I'm a bit pissed now... (*calming down*)
3) Funds visibility. You can look on the Amazon site and see the bucks rolling it. You will also see a very specific report from Mike concerning exactly what he spent the money on once the purchases are made.
I agree about that one and I can tell you that we are working on that with Mensys. Will be solved later this year.
4) Kaply is a regular poster in the Warpzilla news group. Everybody knows who Mike is and many have communicated with him at least a couple of times via direct email on issues. He always answers back and is a straight shooter. People need a real LIVING person to relate to. Notice that more often than not we say Mike Kaply and not The Warpzilla Project.
Uhm so far I considered myself as quite a living person too. I started netlabs.org 7 years ago and I think people pretty much know me. At least I get this impression in the newsgroups, mailinglists & when I visit events like Warpstock Europe. For sure I'm not alone, netlabs.org is just possible because we have quite some developers out there and it's even for me not easy to know everyone of them personaly :)
5) The Warpzilla web site has only living projects.
6) Kaply used a very very good site to set up his fund drive. Amazon.com is easy to use and works well.
see above, will change for us as well. Unless Amazon.com Mensys does not take a single cent from the money contributed. Now we even fixed the VAT issues so what you pay gets 100% contributed into netlabs.org
7) The tinderbox request is not an ongoing request. Ongoing requests without a specific urgency behind them don't work well. Requests need to be on an as needed basis for a really simple, easy to understand objective where visibility is unlimited.
I partly agree. More below
8) Donations should be viewed as votes. People like to vote for exactly what their preference is, not for some general idea. Do I want to donate money into a general fund for driver development? No, that would suck. I want to be able to pinpoint exact which driver I want. Mike gave people the ability to vote for something very very specific which would be used for a very specific purpose. As time passes people will be able to say "I helped buy that tinderbox."
Again, will be solved, known problem, we are working on it (sorry, I repeat myself)
9) People know who is in charge of The WarpZilla Project. Mike took charge a long time ago and takes responsibility for how things go. Folks don't always agree with everything he does but he is there, he makes decisions, he communicates with folks and it is obvious he is dedicated to what he is doing. 10) Demonstrated ability to make things happen. As development became more and more difficult with an old dead compiler Mike found a way to make a new, modern supported compiler available to continue producing results.
With all respect, but it was not that easy... Also this compiler wouldn't be where it is now without one guy from netlabs.org contributing a lot of his sparetime into that. Knut is working for Innotek but without his open source work we would have a serious problem, believe me.
With Netlabs: 1) The request for donations is a request to fund overall operations so people really don't know exactly what their money is going for or why.
Ok, for the last time in this response: I know that this is a major problem and we will resolve that with Mensys. It will still be possible to contribute to general projects but we will also have a project-related sponsoring. Which means we say to do this project we would need xxx Euros and we will start with it if we have at least yyy Euros. I can't say when yet because of my real life (yeah I do have one, sorry).
2) Netlabs shows a lot of projects but when is the last time something new better or useful actually shipped? I'd rather have one good product that ships than many that are dead.
Ok now I am pissed! Either you are really an ... or you are just blind. We released a) some new stuff the past months like xwlan, dssaver, samba server, samba client... and b) we update quite some projects on a regular base. For sure there are projects that are no longer continued but that's how open source works (or does not work). What should I do with them, delete them? This would be plain stupid because search engines still link to the pages and often there are reasons why there are no updates.
3) No visibility on the amount of donations made nor any accountability of what the money goes for.
4) Who runs Netlabs? I certainly have no idea. People really don't relate as well to faceless web sites.
It may sound arrogant but if you don't think of Adrian Gschwend if you hear netlabs.org you either not follow the VOICE mailinglist, the newsgroups and others or I'm in your killfile.
5) Most Netlabs projects appear to be dead. You can't leave dead projects laying around. They die, they need to go into the bitbucket! Or be archived and sent to hobbes pending someone taking an interest.
See #2. It's BS to kill dead projects. Even if it's no longer developed there are reasons to keep the source/binaries/whatever.
6) Last time I looked at Netlabs I think they used Paypal. Ug! Paypal is a non-starter in my book.
I definitely never ever used Paypal. You should at least visit the pages once before you post such stuff. BTW the page http://about.netlabs.org/?detailcontentregions_id=3 is not that hard to find and gives some information about myself and about sponsoring too. Did you actually ever had a look at the netlabs.org webpage? I start to doubt...
7) Netlabs is an ongoing request where there is no immediate urgency or specific need. Look at how MozillaZine does it. When the various annual bills come due they post a request for donations to cover operating expenses for the next year. They only take donations until such time as they think they are good to go and they are specific about where the money is going and why.
Either you repeat yourself or I. See #1
8) Donations should be viewed as votes. Netlabs doesn't allow you to pin point exactly what you are voting for. In the end you might like your money to go against one specific project but it is really not your call, it is the call of whoever is running Netlabs.
Again, see #1. And just to save my honor: I do not at all take a single cent for myself. Actually in 2004 I invested 5000 Euro (read: fife thousand) Euros of my very own personal money into netlabs.org projects. Got that?
9) Who was it that is in charge of Netlabs?
Ok it's you that repeats yourself, try to read the netlabs.org webpage! It might help!!
10) Has not demonstrated ability to make things happen. My general impression is that if things are not going well then whoever is running Netlabs does not find ways to improve things or find ways to work around problems. Got to ship product...
Go get a life. I can accept critics but you posted really too much BS and obviously you have no clue about how open source software works. You are very welcome to give me hints how I can improve netlabs.org and I take some stuff you wrote as hints. But unlike Mike I never worked 100% for netlabs.org, it was and is a spare time project! There is no big company that pays me to make sure I can afford something to eat each day.
Also I really think that netlabs.org did quite a lot for the OS/2 and eCS community the past years and I think we can even do more in the future with some better management of our tasks. But hey, I'm not a god and I do not have endles amounts of spare time.
Adrian Gschwend founder of netlabs.org
-> the one which is in charge. I hope you got that too now.