Donnie Berkholz (spyderous) wrote,
Donnie Berkholz

Redux: Gentoo's top 3 issues

People were so busy complaining about my pie chart that most of them apparently didn't have a chance to think about the meaning of the actual data. To try helping people look at the information rather than its presentation, here's a bar chart of the same information:

I don't recommend looking at it because you may go blind, but I've made available the (extremely ugly) script that created this.
Tags: communication, development, gentoo, leadership
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February 22 2008, 11:22:28 UTC 10 years ago

well obviously "other" is first so we nede to know what "other" represent ;)
I hate to be a pessimist but I would think that when no-one-issue gets more than 9% of the vote, that the project is very sick overall.

True? False?

--Rob J. Caskey
That would be true if you didn't take a few moments to notice that Donnie seems to have taken exact phrases in the responses and calculated from that. I think it's quite obvious that there is a large overlap in a number of those issues which are really just worded differently.
Not exact, really. Every single response was different--I already put a lot of time into grouping stuff together. I got about as far as I could get without the possibility of misinterpreting what people were saying.
Your assertion could use some evidence to back it up. It could be completely right or completely wrong, and I have no idea which it is. I could make a case for either. a would-be dev, the issue is documentation.
Maybe it's a feature, to keep out riff-raff, but the learning curve of setting up an overlay and working in a new .ebuild has been too steep.
There seems to be a great deal of knowledge people are keeping in their heads as devs.
Where have you been looking? The two main places are the Developer Handbook and the devmanual.

I've heard a lot of people talking about the learning curve, but I'm not clear on what exactly they mean. What is the knowledge you think people are keeping in their heads? It could be that it's written down somewhere, but it's just too hard to find.
...but if you want to help me work on something that is a 100-level tutorial, I'm happy to have you as a sort of "academic advisor".
As an emacs user and python fan, I've wanted to update pymacs to work with new-style classes and such.
So how do I do that?
1. Get a VCS (Subversion)
2. Set up an overlay
3. Get the rest of the project (the non-ebuild stuff, which is still under development, but orthogonal to the ebuild task)
4. Make an ebuild
5. Generate manifest
6. Use package manager to install.

I guess steps 2-5 are where I think a play-by-play would be more helpful. I've actually read the Handbook and devmanual a couple of times. Like all technical documentation, though, you just have to slog through it until it makes sense.
The ultimate goal would be something as thorough and informative as Linux From Scratch, though that's more an objective than a real end-state.
Also, I wouldn't expect you to have time/interest to pore over endless drafts of a document.
What do you think?
1. man subversion
- setting up a VCS is outside of the scope of Gentoo. There are many to choose from and its a personal preference. There's sites like,, and others.

2. man make.conf
- search for OVERLAY

- if it's missing, you're looking in the wrong place. Gentoo is one of the best documented distributions out there.

4. man ebuild && ${EDITOR} /usr/portage/skel.ebuild in addition the Developer Handbook and the devmanual.

5. man emerge || man ebuild || man repoman
- any one of the 3 will answer your question. In addition to the Developer Handbook and the Devmanual.

6. Installation Handbook covers all aspects of the installation
Thanks, boss: maybe I can draft up a "Dummys" guide for review then.
I think this shows there aren't any specific issues that leap out as significantly more important than others - the spread amongst the top issues is pretty flat. I suppose you could bring out publicity and distro-wide goals/leadership (which a connected to a degree anyway) as one item, but that probably just shows that some vocal devs (by which I mean vocal enough to respond to the poll) want to see a coherent Gentoo strategy. The low number of participants in the poll however means that there are probably significant numbers of devs who are happy with Gentoo having no overall strategy; with it being a collection of interested participants each pursuing their own goals within the Gentoo umbrella.

"low number of devs" is an interesting one. What it actually means I suspect is that there is a perception of insufficient activity to move stuff forwards. Number of devs as such is not really relevant, what actually makes a difference is how much the active devs achieve. As a retiree I can attest to that - my inability to commit time to actually achieve stuff was the reason I retired.

Kevin F. Quinn