Understanding why we are here
It is through the combined passion, creativity and fervor of Jeff "jebba" Moe that many of us are here rallying around this distribution known as BLAG linux and gnu. It identifies itself with the spirit of computer users, hackers, activist, conscious-minded individuals worldwide young and old who everyday are living in a time where its vital that the values of computer user freedom remain at the forefront of discussions pertaining to Free Software, technology and social change.
This message is a call and response. A call for unity among users within the BLAG and free software community who have knowledge and skills to contribute in rebuilding our foundation. It is a response for those who have skills that do not believe that they can contribute if they are not developers and who have potential to make a difference by simply sharing what you know and applying it in core areas where we need it. The process of developing BLAG is an effort by many to come toegther as a community of great people who have great ideas that demonstrate free software in action. Over the past six years, BLAG has continually strived and been committed to releasing a 100% Free Software distribution that has stepped up in challenging misconceptions about GNU/Linux by bringing together individuals who bring the best of themselves here to ensure and maintain core principals to live in a Free Society.
BLAG is one of 8 Free Software Distros available to the computer user community at large. In over the past two years, it has suffered the loss of its main developer in which it has not contributed its last three releases and has been unable to maintain its most updated release. These types of issues have bought up many questions and discussions within our forums, mailing list, IRC and within e-mails that I have discussed actively with those who are dedicated to Free Software. These issues are not immune to any distro as recently demonstrated by Kongoni's, A.J. Venter declaring that he can not maintain the distro by himself. These are foundation issues that must be resolved by every distro in order that each may prosper for the people committed to Free Software who use BLAG, but also for developers and contributors who dedicate the time energy to a process which alone can be daunting. From discussions I have had within BLAG, most recently within the Free Software Latin America's Freenode Channel and with other Free Software users, it's vital that users, developers and contributors need to have a discussions within our distros not only relating to everyday technical aspects of the software that is being used. The infrastructure that moves each distro individually affects our survival long-term. If one to two developers are taking a lead role in maintaining a project without the help of contributors and their users, in the short term they can only manage to focus in one area, sometimes leaving other areas to suffer. An easily installable distro with little problems updating for the user is vital to our success. Our sites, wikis, forums and external connections (i.e wikipedia entries, news articles)have an impact on user experience too. If these things are left to fall behind because we do not feel like our skills are up to a grande level then we leave distros at risk by not engaging in the process to understand that we the greatest ability to take the opportunity to learn by utilizing our local resources (i.e documentation, libraries, users with the skills we seek) to be the support we need to makes the changes we wish to see.
What I would like to propose is a FreeSoftwareDistributionConference(FSDCon) by which:
Each Free Software Foundation can introduce itself and its most important initatives.
Each Free Software Distribution can introduce itself and discuss areas where there is need
Free Software Users can actively speak to representatives from both and coordination can take place for people to network with FSF and FSD
A topic list can be generated for areas we need to make changes as a whole
An example of the above would be the development of a video aggregating site, like youtube where ogg and HTML5 can be used to watch videos in IceCat. This discussion can involve gnash contributors on areas where they need help in making gnash update to reflect the changes being made to Adobe's Flash format
Combining efforts in common areas. With so many users how can we effectively use the time to ensure that we are not duplicating work that can be done commonly.
Creation of a global semantic linux hardware database, first for free distros and further expanding other GNU/Linux communities.
What common issues do we need to resolve that have been a constant issue for users with each release. How can we address making the distro approachable to new free software users and new users in general who require an experience that may not be intimidating when it comes to selecting, configuring and using the hardware that sometimes prohibits adoption
The original purpose of this e-mail was to get support from the BLAG community members, support from the Free Software community that are using the FSF's List of Free GNU/Linux distros, but its clear that with the discussions and e-mails that I have been having on BLAG IRC and other Free Software Distro channels on Freenode, that it is time that our community begin talking about the strengths and weaknesses of each distro and how we all move ahead together.
Please post this message where needed outside of your mailinglist and if a better translation can be made from English, please contact me, so I can help to express any ideas that may not be clear.