Fragmented projects, driven by the buzz and motivation (aka Buzect)
Let's imagine that Debian (and/or the DPL), need and want to accomplish
a task, but no one is stepping up. There are many examples: Debian
design, Debian News, reviewing Wikipedia articles related to Debian,
Release notes, testing the release, etc.
The problem with those tasks is that they usually require a substantial
amount of time or a long-term commitment, that no single developer want
or can devote alone (because most DDs are volunteer/developers, and
So what do we do? Easy: just split the project in smaller tasks.
Each task, each chunk, should be small enough so some could decide to
devote 3 to 10 hours on that chunk. Obviously, one of the first task
would be to split that project in chunks!
I must say that we should be very careful that no one should able to
take the credits for that whole project. (for instance, emails should be
sent and signed by the project name, not by individuals).
let's take Debian's new design as an example:
Let's image that someone (let's call him Rex) has attended DebConf9, and
think it is time to redesign the website, but well he isn't a designer,
he knows very few about css, design... Still he wants to see it happen.
So, Rex starts a new "Buzect" ("Buzz+Project") on a wiki page, on which
he spend a few hours describing why Debian should change a design, with
some links to the relevant pages and mailing list entries. He also
starts listing the various task to achieve.
Then Bo read about the "Debian Redesign" Buzect. She think it's a good
idea. Bo isn't so good at design, but she think it will be important to
identify the key values of Debian, so the new design reflects Debian's
values (the designer may not know Debian so well).
So, Bo writes a page, in which she lists the key values of Debian
(Community, free, open, excellence, etc.) Bo knows it is complex and
wants that to be reviewed, so she add a task to "Debian Redesign"
Hamm has no experience in project management, but based on his
experience, he decides to split some large tasks in smaller chunks. On
each task, he mention the amount of time required.
Then Slink comes around. Slink knows that Debian has lots of websites,
so he inventories the major ones. He also start documenting how the CSS
are used in www.debian.org and packages.d.o, but he runs out of time, so
he just write down what he achieved, then he adds a task to the "Debian
Redesign" Buzect, telling that qa.debian.org, lists.d.o and bugs.d.o
should be documented too.
Potato knows a little about CSS, so he just finished Hamm's work.
Woody think this Buzlet deserves more attention. Especially, a designer
is still needed.
So Woody and his friend, Sarge, contacts the DPL and they launch a
redesign contest, on the behalf of "Debian Redesign Buzect". They also
mention that the Buzect will need
Etch is good at sketching, so he creates a new design for Debian.
This idea of collaborative project (Buzect), may seem naive, unrealistic
and anarchist. That's probably true (but well this applies to open
source software too). Actually it should work exactly like many OSS
software: people interested just "send a patch". If you wonder "who will
lead the initiative", the answer is easy: anybody interested (see Woody
example above). Actually, it is probably a good thing if there is no
leader, because many people wouldn't participate "for someone", but
would do it "for Debian".
All what it takes is a tool to edit, list, publish all the tasks and
their progress (A wiki could be used at the beginning).
The idea can certainly be improved, your 2¢ are welcome.