It wasn't too long ago that we met here to talk about a recent youtube clip entitled "Linux Sucks". I stated that it was eerie...I had almost the same thoughts and ideas about 5 years ago...
I just didn't communicate those ideas as well or with the same media Brian Lunduke did.
In my opinion, he presented some valid points...points that have been discussed in ones-ies and two-sies, but never brought together in a complete package like the Lunduke clip.
Whether we agree with him or not isn't the point here...we've fairly well done that.
What we are here now for is to talk about actually moving toward getting it done. First though, let's look at some dynamics of our community...the entire community, not just the developers or code guys.
There is no "leadership" in the Linux Community, and it is that way for a reason...that reason being obvious. One person's vision cannot or should not shape something as globally important as GNU/Linux and Free Software.
There are however, people that lead individual projects within the community. Leadership on that level is paramount to accomplishing anything. Anyone not agreeing with that only need to revisit the Debian debacle. Leadership by consensus isn't leadership...it's a recipe for inertia. I first became aware of how problematic "group leadership" can be when Matt Garrett resigned from the Debian Team in 2006.
Sometimes people just need to step aside and let competent leadership do what it does best.
Don't let ego hinder a project.
Lead. Competently, and lead by doing...by setting the example and not letting ego get in the way of progress or the goal.
Quoted from Ryan Paul in December of 2008:
"Debian's ideological underpinnings are also occasionally an impediment rather than an asset. The project's commitment to democracy and intentional lack of strong centralized leadership sometimes cripples the decision-making process and contributes to an overall lack of direction. Development efforts can be impaired or derailed by endless non-technical disputes over specific ideological issues."
No, this isn't pick on Debian Day. I only set it on the table because I know most everyone either remembers it or was possibly involved in the numerous donnybrooks that ensued. As far as I am concerned, Debian is the cornerstone of GNU/Linux.
So on the project level, what defines a good leader?
First, it's someone with the ideas and the skills to either make those ideas real or assemble the team (s)he needs to make those ideas real.
He's asked me not to reveal his name and I will not...he prefers to be referred to as simply HackToLive. Until we can get a program like shortkeys lite in Linux, (hint) I will refer to him as htl. He is a citizen of the EU and has been playing around with various distros and a smattering of coding for a while now. His work is based on Ubuntu and I asked him what he thought he had to offer the community. Ubuntu is pretty good just the way it is. This is what he told me:
I started out calling it "Super Ubuntu". I changed it from Super Ubuntu because I was informed about the ubuntu trademark guidelines, and I did not wanted to comply with them. Canonical (the official ubuntu sponsor) did not force me, and they were ok if I used the name IF I complied with the guidelines. I did this because I now think I have more freedom to do modifications to the OS (not using the "Ubuntu" name).
Super Ubuntu, now referred to as Super OS, started with a simple need: having a Live CD that worked out-of-the-box. "A long time ago" I used Live CDs a lot (now I use mainly Live USBs) , and one thing that frustrated me was having to install flash and MP3 codecs on the Live CD everytime I needed those features! I also know MP3 and flash (and all that restricted/"non-free" stuff) are probably the first things many people install on their Ubuntu systems, so I decided to make their life easier and at the same time promote ubuntu and open-source software.
But that only gives him a jumping-off point for his real innovation.
One of the other problems I found on current linux distros is the hard way to simply run files and install software not in the official repositories (forcing the user to use the command line to simply execute a program as root!), so I came up with App Runner and more recently SRUN (still in beta-testing). Other thing I also do not like is having to wait 6 months for new versions of software, I know there are backports, but they are not really well implemented... a good solution would be portable apps (or self-contained programs), something I am also working on (SRUN + portable apps).
Remember in our earlier article we talked about taking package management, or at least the front end to package management to a unified tool? Look closely as htl's beta projects above...SRUN and portable apps.
This is the beginning of his vision for unified packaging. He plans to work with other distros that want his help after he has the Ubuntu/Super OS project finished.
We talked about vision being part of a good leader. He isn't standing still when that is done. He also wants to improve the upgrade process between releases.
"I think I can make this much easier and less time consuming. Service Packs for Super OS. This would not force the user to re-install Super OS every time a new minor version is out. Service pack 1 is already being worked out, and I expect to release it in less then one month from now. My RoadMap:"Since The HeliOS Project is constantly fighting the lack of Internet connections when we install for our kids, htl's superdebs and SRUN packaging components are ideal. We have implemented the use of Super OS on all of our installs now and plan to continue doing so. Htl has agreed to work as a HeliOS Project development partner and boy howdy was it needed...I couldn't code my way into a rocking chair.
There are efforts like htl's out there. Mint has done a great job in making the new user's experience easier, as has TheeMann's Ubuntu Ultimate. What we like about htl's Super OS is the direction he wants to take it. He wants to think ahead...not dress up something already pretty...but alter it in a way that leads to other possibilities, from other people.
And that's another thing that makes a good leader.
He's not afraid to be improved upon. It's all about the end result, not the notation behind it giving him credit for the achievement. Nor is he afraid of criticism...honest, non-defensive criticism. You may have questions about security, about the process...things that he may or may not have thought of. This is a good place to bring them up.
My guess is that he'll be watching.
Htl will need help with mirrors. He expects rapid growth once Super OS hits Distrowatch and based on the performance so far on our kid's computers, I am assuming uptake will be brisk. If you have any mirroring space or know of an organization that will mirror Super OS, please contact us via the comments and we will pursue it quickly.
If I were to hazard a prediction, it would be that he'd need the space pretty soon.