[arch-dev-public] Goals / Mission Statement

Judd Vinet jvinet at zeroflux.org
Tue May 29 19:13:59 EDT 2007

On Tue, 29 May 2007 17:15:41 -0500
"Aaron Griffin" <aaronmgriffin at gmail.com> wrote:
> One of our recent "growing pains" we've had is that there is a certain
> sense of direction that is unclear.  We don't have a clear set of
> "goals" defined.
> Below you will find the points listed in our dev wiki.  What I want to
> do, right now, is flesh this out.  We need to define ourselves a clear
> set of goals.  It's important to note that a goal is not "make sure
> packages go to testing" - that's an implementation detail.  A goal is
> something more ethereal, such as "provide stable, up-to-date
> software".
> I would like all of you to read through these (feel free to add your
> own) and try and list 3-5 of these that you feel are important.

Thanks for keeping on this, Aaron.

I think I've just realized why these goals are a difficult step for
me.  If you look through the summarized list of goals we have so far,
most of them are actually goals we've already achieved and simply need
to continue to achieve.

- Simple design
- Remain a "install once, run forever" distribution
- Continue to be a strongly community oriented distribution
- Remain a lightweight, general purpose distributino
- Not be dependent on any graphical interface
- Provide the latest software as is practical


Now granted, goals need to be upheld so that we don't regress and start
"un-accomplishing" some already-achieved goals.  But at the same time,
most of these are old hat.  With the exception of a few goals, the gist
I'm getting from the developers is that we're already where we want to
be, goal-wise.  Objective-wise, I'm sure there are more efficient ways
to _stay_ where we are (internal organization/communciation, package
building, roles and accountability, etc) but these are just the means
to the end.  So at the goal-setting stage of this discussion, these
objectives are not yet relevant.

So, in a multi-paragraph nutshell, that's why I've struggled with the
"next step" as far as Arch vision goes.  We're already really good.

These may be more objectives than goals, and if so, I apologize for
jumping the gun.  But personally, these are things that could/should be
addressed.  These aren't new points -- in fact, we've been circling
them for years now.

1. A clean movement towards multiple architectures.  x86-64 has been a
hack so far as far as its official integration goes.  Props to andyrtr
and his team, but we still haven't found a good way to alter our
infrastructure to bring in x86-64 at the same capacity as 32-bit.  Our
underlying tools obviously need to evolve.  Thankfully, Paul and others
are already working on this.

2. Internal organization could improve somewhat so that growth spurts
are not counter-productive.  I'm amazed at how much time some
developers have to devote to Arch Linux, and frustrated at the same
time by my own dwindling spare time (I think I'm in the red now,
actually).  There are a solid chunk of developers that are more-or-less
carrying the team, and it's a scary thought to think what would happen
if they discontinued their selfless contributions.  If most developers
only have 5 hours/week to devote to the project, then we'll obviously
need more developers.  But as the number of devs grows, we need a
logical hierarchy so we can grow properly.  Short version: Internal
Hierarchy, Communication, Organization, Processes, and Roles.
I call it project HIPCOR.  Sounds more evil that way.

Anyway, I kinda digressed into the goals/objs above, but to revisit my
main point -- most of our goals are already achieved.  With the future
in mind, what _new_ goals should we shoot for?

- Judd

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