[Squeakfoundation]Concrete SqF projects

Paul Fernhout squeakfoundation@lists.squeakfoundation.org
Sat, 26 May 2001 03:38:38 -0400

"Raab, Andreas" wrote:
> What we *do* need are a couple of people
> dedicating one hour of their time per week to browsing through the messages
> and (for the case of an FAQ) write a couple of messages along the lines of
> [snip]

I do not know how long all this work would take. You might be close to
right for a starter mini-faq. But for the other projects, I would guess
at least several people working full time for several months to get
started to do a decent good job on starting ot organize much of what is
out there on Squeak (not including dealing with license status).
Remember, there are entire books out there on Squeak now that took
knowledgeable people like Mark Guzdial months to write. Perhaps someone
who has worked at the UIUC Smalltalk archive could give a better
estimate of what time it takes to get one started and to keep up. 

Consider this slashdot article on Knowledgebases:
"Indiana [University] says they spend 300 hours a week on their KB."
and "[On making a KB for a company] If this is something they want you
to do, make sure they know that it can use up a lot of your time,
especially in the beginning. Make sure they acknowledge this and don't
expect you to do this job and another full-time job on top of it."

With that said, one hour a week from a hundred people might accomplish a
lot in a short time -- say if everyone who wrote a Squeak module made
the equivalent of a UIUC index card for it and put it on a Wiki that
worked like DMOZ.
Or perhaps everyone on the Squeak list could check their own emails
written to the list and post related faq questions or answers into some
central Wiki. 

> > And reiterating the comment Cees made to me about duplication
> > of effort (posted earlier) there is no reason we can not have
> > many people organizing lists, many people making lists and tools,
> > and many people making tools, all without much coordination. The
> > marketplace of the web will decide among the successes by whose
> > work gets used and linked to.
> I am uncertain how to interpret this statement. Do you mean the SqF should
> *not* aim at being the primary place for people to go when they have
> questions about Squeak?! In this case I disagree strongly. I consider a
> well-chosen and very visible presence of SqF on the web as crucial for
> success.

I feel it would be great if some part of SqF was to be a major marketer
and educator about the Squeak community and promote some stable versions
of Squeak.

What I wrote was meant to say that a lot of people might try to create
materials for this and perhaps only one will succeed, or individuals
might consolidate their efforts over time, as well as split them apart

We've seen what a bunch of money poured into an organization to promote
Smalltalk can produce (STIC) which for a while decided to promote Java.
I'd rather try a bunch of volunteers committed to Squeak Smalltalk
stepping on each other's toes.

In practice, I think a Squeak Foundation could field an effective
marketing presence even with behind the scenes chaos (for-profit
companies do that all the time). Perhaps it would just take putting
someone (or a committee) that many people trust and who maintain a good
track record in charge of "blessing" what actually goes on the web site,
and then let the (potential) contributions flow in on their own.

Perhaps a marketing / education arm is all SqF should be? Telling people
about what exists (or will soon) is certainly much clearer and easier to
execute mission (with limited funding) than trying to actually improve
on what exists. A few months of a couple of full-time technical writers
could be beneficial to Squeak.

-Paul Fernhout
Kurtz-Fernhout Software 
Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator