Research blog

FOSDEM 2012

Opening talk at Fosdem 2012. BruxellesFosdem 2012

On the 4th and 5th February, I attended FOSDEM'12. Very exciting and inspiring!! My expectations were not disregarded :)

I was aware that over the years, FOSDEM became a large community event, but I honestly did not expect such a wide audience. Amazing.

As a more substantial consideration, since my research interests rest on how end-users (the non-technical or non-geeky users as some speakers referred to :) ) participation to FOSS project influences the software continuous design, I was very pleased and interested in realizing the the topics of why, and how end-users should/could be more integrated in FOSS projects entered inside the broader community culture. I'm not saying that I expected these topics to be absent (for instance, they were discussed already in this conference), however, I did not expect them to be so central in many talks.

Looking forward to FOSDEM 2012

FOSDEM (Free and Open source Software Developers' European Meeting) is probably the biggest non-commercial event where FOSS enthusiasts, developers and users meet every year. This year it takes place on the 4th-5th February, in Brussels (as usual).

It is since long that I'm trying to go there, but for one reason or another I never managed to. This year I have one reason more to go there and, indeed, my flights and rooms for FOSDEM are finally booked!

The reason is that many FOSS game developers set up a devroom for the 5th, where they will talk about issues related to FOSS game development. I definitely want to be there and to listen to the BfW related talk, in particular!! :)

First dive into the project - Quote from the field

"...this also was my first contact with an open source community :)
What I found was almost no hierarchy, people saying "well, just go for it and we'll see afterwards if it's worth it", or "sounds good, have a go on it". One of my first activities on IRC was a talk with Dave where I learned, that:

  • He was probably the only person who had an overall view of the codebase
  • Most other coders never even had looked into the code I was about to touch.
  • ..." (Wesnoth developer, Interview 10/01/2012)

Coming back soon - Some updates

The last entry in this blog is three months old now, but not the blog nor the research are dead. I'll come back soon to write about the final phase of data collection and the analysis of data.

This long blogging break was due to several factors. First of all I needed some days of vacation, therefore I took-off a couple of weeks in mid-august. In September, I had to tune up with other senior colleagues at University to follow their planning of some courses/seminars for the next academic year. Moreover, I had to work hard on the writing of the theoretical chapter of my dissertation, which took me more than one month. Therefore in these months I had no time to keep working on data collection in a consistent way, let alone blogging about it.

Anyway, although I still have to finish setting up part of a seminar and one introductory course for this academic year, starting from the end of the next week I'll be back dedicating more time to the research itself, therefore more blog entries will soon appear. Stay tuned! :)

How suggested features die 'miserable deaths'

One of my recurrent question in my interviews with Wesnoth developers, contributors and users relates to negotiations between users (and their wishes for game improvement) and developers (and their efforts to improve the game).

Being a quite mature project, Wesnoth already developed its own governance mechanisms to deal with users' feature requests. I consider the Why doesn't Wesnoth have my favorite feature FAQ as an artefact of this maturity, however the way in which this disclaimer plays out in practice, in the daily life of the project, is of interest for my research and it does not show in the FAQ.

As of now, the account quoted below is one of the best description, I received during my interviews, of how ideas get suggested, discussed, implemented/rejected in the Wesnoth project.

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