[Sugar-devel] Today's Minutes and Next Meeting Time

Srevin Saju srevinsaju at sugarlabs.org
Fri Dec 11 02:02:15 EST 2020

On 12/11/20 12:18 AM, Alex Perez wrote:
> James Cameron wrote on 12/9/20 9:09 PM:
>> On Thu, Dec 10, 2020 at 07:13:49AM +0300, Srevin Saju wrote:
>>> G'day!
>>> I have a topic, which perhaps needs discussion,
>> It is about time this came up again.
> Pretty much :)


>>> We have been using IRC for many years. Recently, some of our
>>> communication moved to Slack, and some to Jitsi. What is Sugar
>>> Labs's idea of a best, unified communication platform which it
>>> should recommend to new developers.  Right now, all the guides point
>>> directly to IRC,
>> Yes, even my "How to get started as a Sugar Labs developer" points to
>> IRC.
Yes, the problem is, we recommend IRC, but we do not use it. There are 
people who follow guides like this, set up everything on IRC with some 
great difficulty, put some message out there in the channel, and receive 
no reply. Yes, we are in different timezones, but perhaps we should 
explicitly tell them to "stay around for 48 hours, we cannot reply 
immediately" or something like that.
>>> most new developers, who are interested to contributing to Sugar
>>> drop a message to an IRC channel, and almost never get a reply. This
>>> is possibly because the communication has diversified, or because of
>>> a community split on the basis of communication medium.
>> It is easier to explain the lack of reply as being caused by a lack of
>> contributing members, and a focus by the remaining members on their
>> specific projects in a way that does not require collaborating in
>> real-time.  The GitHub commit pattern over time confirms this.
>>> Recently, many new developers told us of the difficulties of using
>>> IRC clients, the need for Bouncers, etc.
>> (a) my preference is not to call them developers until they have
>> contributed,
I assume they are supposed to be called contributors right? I mean "just 
developers", not "Sugar developers"
> Agreed. Until you've contributed something, you're just an interested
> party. Simply aspiring to be a developer does not make you one.
>> (b) these barriers to using IRC do not seem difficult; above all, why
>> are we doing FreeNode's job for them?
> In what way do you feel we're doing FreeNode's job for them? I don't get it.

If you are saying about matrix, just like freenode, they require 
registration. They require registration unlike freenode. Freenode has 
registration optional, but almost all matrix servers require 
registration by an email address. So, all matrix users are registered.

Regarding the bouncer, its just because of the decentralized nature of 
matrix. It is not a bouncer actually, it is just how it works, like 
modern chat clients. The server remains connected to all freenode 
channels in the world (not just #sugar), and we can opt in to join any 
freenode channel we wish to.

>>> We (some of us) suggested them to use a Matrix client to connect to
>>> #sugar, and indeed they are quite satisfied with new mode of
>>> communication.. The Matrix protocol.
>> Most recent discussion on #sugar was just you talking to cyksager, and
>> we couldn't see anything from them until they did something to fix it.

Yes, thats when Bernie suggested cyksagar to use matrix instead of 
Sugar. Thats when I wrote to this channel. The matrix channel was not 
very published. Many people did not know about it, but still there are 
many people who have found the matrix channel on their own without us 
telling them to: for example, jamescarter, icarito, _llaske, and 
previously purhan

>>> The Matrix protocol is interesting. Sugar had a matrix channel for
>>> many years. Recently we set up a bridge between the matrix channel
>>> (#sugar:matrix.org) and the IRC irc.freenode.net channel, i.e
>>> (#sugar), which helped a few developers to keep connected to the IRC
>>> channel without a bouncer and also make use of newer clients for
>>> mobile, for example Element Android (available  on F-droid, Google
>>> Play), and Element iOS. Element / Matrix has a intuitive web client
>>> which supports reactions and better formatting as compared to IRC,
>>> and is the best place for a developer to start contributing. The
>>> most interesting and useful feature is the IRC bridge, which helps
>>> to make use of the best of Matrix and maintain the connection
>>> between the IRC channel and the Matrix channel. The bridge is a tool
>>> which helps to convert the IRC protocol to the matrix protocol and
>>> vice versa.
>>> Topic of discussion, we a Sugar Gitter channel, Sugarizer Matrix
>>> channel, etc. Matrix has the support to integrate everything to a
>>> single channel.  What is your opinion?
> While it may be a factually accurate statement that "we have had this
> channel for years", that doesn't mean it's been trafficked/visited much
> at all. For instance, I had no knowledge of its existence before several
> months ago, when the IRC bridge was set up. The IRC channel has existed
> since the inception of the Sugar Labs project. You may see IRC as an
> antiquated protocol, and I have no problem with Sugar Matrix channel,
> bridged to the IRC channel. But to show up and suggest that we eliminate
> the primary real-time collaboration tool that the project has used since
> its inception shows, frankly, somewhat of a lack of understanding of how
> open source projects work. You need to learn to build consensus. If you
> show up and, shortly thereafter, say "I don't like the way we
> communicate", let's change it completely, you're inevitably going to
> experience resistance. To expect anything else is nuts. We have mailing
> lists for non-realtime communications. If you're e-mail averse, you will
> not last long in any open source community.

I do not suggest that we replace IRC with Matrix. you might have got me 
wrong. Matrix is the best to go along with IRC. Rather than we just have 
IRC, we can also have matrix along with IRC and suggest them to users. I 
would not myself give away IRC. I would still use IRC

Regarding this history of the matrix channel,... Matrix channel was 
found by samtoday (Sam), and icarito (Sebastian), and it existed with 
few members. Bernie introduced me to matrix during July, and we somehow 
found that we had a channel called #sugar:matrix.org on matrix, and we 
did not know. Next steps were, we asked icarito to kindly provide me and 
bernie, admin privileges and we dusted out the channel, and connected 
the matrix channel to IRC using a matrix bridge maintained by matrix.org

I had written to the mailing list, but I am sure it went unnoticed due 
to the lack of context in my explanation


>> My opinion is that you've got the cart before the horse.  First thing
>> that is needed is for potential contributors to become developers, and
>> to collaborate on something.
> Agreed. And honestly, if you can't follow basic directions on how to use
> and connect to an IRC channel, I find it very, very unlikely that
> newcomers will have the patience necessary to become meaningful
> contributors.

Yes, I agree too. Matrix is also not meant to make it easy for new 
contributors. It is only a future convenience. Being in touch with the 
community without a bouncer, being able to answer people's questions 
even when you are away from keyboard, for example over an Android/iOS 
device, or anywhere from a web browser. Matrix includes the "basic 
directions" but to connect to a matrix channel. Not all people have 
bouncers though. A person might ask a question in the afternoon, but to 
get the  reply after he got disconnected.

The main problem is _not_ about a new communication platform. The 
question is.. if we dont use IRC, or reply to a person's message, or if 
we know that their questions will likely go unanswered, then shouldn't 
we remove IRC from our preferred mode of communication. On "Getting 
started as a Sugar Labs contributor" and sugar-docs/../contact.md, we 
both mention IRC as our primary mode of contact. Maybe, we should 
replace it with the mailing list, (as I have seen that the mailing list 
has more conversation than IRC in the past 3-4 months) so that users can 
reach out there instead of an IRC channel where they almost never get a 
reply right? I am sure almost all questions on the mailing list get 
answered by someone. Async.

>> Where you have potential contributors using IRC to ask questions that
>> are answered by documentation or source code; that's just a help line
>> or chat bot.  It is often a waste of time to invest in that.  Better
>> is to fix the problem they are reporting.
> Agreed. It's not as though we have paid customer support/engagement
> people to do anything with such complaints, anyways.
>>> Interesting points of discussion and helpful material:
>>> * Pull request to add Matrix as a communication medium
>>> (https://github.com/sugarlabs/sugar-docs/pull/203)
>>> * Matrix Sugar Labs wiki page (https://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Matrix)
>>> * Official matrix-irc guide (https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-appservice-irc/wiki/Guide:-How-to-use-Matrix-to-participate-in-IRC-rooms)
>>> As of now, many popular open source communities use Matrix as the
>>> main mode of communication, and all the sister nodes bridged to the
>>> matrix network For example:
>>> * Fedora
>>> * KDE
>>> * Mozilla Thunderbird
>>> It would be cool, if we discuss this among a wider range of
>>> community, putting a lot of people's idea rather than two of us
>>> discussion [cited]. So, I hope this topic, would be a good candidate
>>> for the next SLOBS meeting.
>> An alternate way of looking at this is to avoid talking about
>> choice of communication tools, instead work toward;
>> - gathering people together,
>> - agreeing on the unmet needs, or technical debt, to be resolved,
>> - dividing up the work to be done,
>> - starting the work, and;
>> - tracking progress.
> Agreed.


Things which I do not agree to:

* Splitting of the community on the basis of a mode of communication
* Documentation suggesting IRC, which almost never gets a reply, 
otherwise, we have to explicitly ask them to stay around for 48 hours on 
the channel and not leave hopeless
* Lack of transparency in what happens in sister projects of Sugar Labs
* Communication is becoming lesser and lesser transparent than what it 
was when it was on IRC, or on mailing lists.

I am a fan of IRC. I like its simplicity. It is lightweight. I also like 
matrix. I use both. During December 2019- January 2020, the IRC channel 
was quite active.. you know :) Google Code-In.

Looking forward for Sugar Labs Code-In. :)

>>> Regards
> _______________________________________________
> Sugar-devel mailing list
> Sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org
> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/sugar-devel

Srevin Saju

More information about the Sugar-devel mailing list