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Re: DebConf 2 post-mortem

Simon Law wrote:

On Tue, Jul 09, 2002 at 04:56:28PM -0700, Michael Cardenas wrote:
On Tue, Jul 09, 2002 at 08:46:31AM -0400, Simon Law wrote:
On Tue, Jul 09, 2002 at 12:03:40AM -0700, Michael Cardenas wrote:
	Could you throw in a word to Michael Robertson?  When he gave
his speech at the dinner, he seemed to be targetting entirely the wrong
audience.  I think he needs to shift gears when he evangelises Lindows
in front of a group of Free Software (and Open Source) developers,
instead of the usual business people that I'm sure he deals with.
However, I don't know the "right" way to say this to him such that he'd
understand.  I'm sure you apppreciate the difficulties into translating
from techie to managerspeak.
I've thought about this a little, and I'm not sure how to translate
either. I'll j ust fwd that on to him. He's prety bright and thick
skinned. I think it's mostly a question of using the wrong jargon,
such as the word "consumer", which is revolting to most thinking

	Oh, I don't mean any insult at all; so I don't see where the
thick-skinned comment comes from.  I got the impression that it wasn't
the concept of "consumer" that bothered people, but rather the dearth of
any other concepts in his talk.  I can see how VPs of Marketing would
get really excited about a large untapped market; but half the time,
Debian developers groan to themselves internally.  This is because we
really don't have the infrastructure to support 10 million "average"
users, if they come knocking at our door!  We do, however, have the
infrastructure for people who want to help us, help themselves.
Well, I'm not sure support is an issue yet, because we're trying to maintain a corporate image of ease of use, which includes support, and support is part of our service. We're definitely going to try to support our users as much as possible and I don't forsee us ever saying "just go search debian-devel" to a recent 65 year old win95 convert.

	He had a lot of trouble answering Sam Hartman's question about
what Lindows had to offer to the community.  Michael had trouble
articulating his answer, such that he looked like he was dodging the
question.  I think Michael fumbled with financial support before he came
up with how Lindows can get Debian 10 million customers.  This was the
wrong thing to say, I think.  You could tell some people were rather
incested at that response.

	See, Debian has been kicking around for many years, and it's
very self-sustaining.  The only important users are the contributing
users.  The ones who file bug reports, offer to do work, and evolve the
project so that it gets better.  The Debian Project really values
participation in the feedback loop, where you chip a little bit of your
own work in return for the vast resource of everybody else's work.
That's an interesting point, and one that we haven't thought of. But I
think he was mostly talking about the fact that millions of new users
would lead to more industry support.

	Industry support is nice, and it would be good for Debian to get
more people in industry involved in its development.  However, he may
have wanted to say something like "As we grow with more users, we can
start contributing more to Debian."  Or things like, "we will work with
hardware vendors to open their hardware specifications for
compatibility."  Or even better, "we'd like to encourage vendors in the
industry to write Free (libre) drivers and software for Debian."  You
can see how those statements would gain approval from the Debian
community as opposed to a more defensive stance.
That's a great idea. I'll definitely send this to him. To be honest, it's not easy to give a speech to a hundred people who live in totally different universes from you. He actually asked for my input before the conference, and I didn't really know what he should talk about either. I suggested talking about expanding the user base because I know that debian makes a huge effort to port to as much hardware as possible.

	I'd like to reiterate a suggestion made by one of our
developers.  Since Lindows.com is working on making the entire system
more user-friendly, and unifying the user interface; perhaps you could
start by helping the KDE Project with their UI effort.  They are trying
to reduce the complexity of their user interface, and could really use
valuable feedback you get from people who buy your product.  Studies and
white papers would be totally cool, and working code is even better!
This way, KDE improves, Debian improves, and Lindows improves as well.
It's a win-win situation for everybody, especially your end-user.

We actually offered to throw a kdeconf, but they refused for some reason, though I'm not sure what the reason was. clay@lindows.com and cliff@lindows.com have done most of the communication with the kde folks.

I agree that studies and papers about the usability of lindows would be great to pass on to kde, but I'm afraid that someone's going to have to do this on their own time. We're too busy trying to make a great distro. I've been looking for a good paper topic though, so maybe I can make that my focus. Actually, MR's degree is in UI and cliff has a lot of experience studying UI's also. Maybe they can give me some direction.

	I'd really appreciate it if you'd communicate this to him
somehow.  If you'd think he'd understand it in this raw form; I might
e-mail something like this to him myself; but I'd really rather your
input first.
I can forward it on to him, but like he said, he's open to comments at

	Please forward this conversation to him, in its entirety.  I
really wanted to hash this out with someone inside Lindows, before it
got to Michael, because it would be really bad if he misinterpreted it.

	If you and Michael want to reprint this exchange and respond to
it publically on debian-devel; be my guest.  You have my permission to
quote copies of these e-mails, in whole or in part, as long as I am not

that's a good idea too. done.

michael cardenas
lead windows compatibility engineer
"Be the change you want to see in the world"
-Mahatma Gandhi

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