Where are we at in 5 years?

Continuing the discussion from Thoughts about NethServer Mission,Vision and Values:

That’s a great question! Thanks @fasttech I have my own opinions here but really curious to hear all of yours:
@flatspin @dnutan @dz00te @GG_jr @jgjimenezs @medworthy @bojce @Hunv @Ctek @robb @Jim


Don’t know where we will be in five years. What is clear to me is that the community needs more developers and package maintainers, so that new packages and the ones dropped by nethesis remain available to the community. This will also ease main developers’ work, allowing them to focus on fixing rough edges, refining settings for better security and performance, or adding new features.

What will put the community off?

  • Dropping/replacing features (without having a community maintainer)
  • Outdated versions
  • No upgrade path
  • Losing decision making

@dnutan how can you think you (or the project) can attract and also keep developers to maintain community or nethesis dropped rpm.

Does a paid exterior repository is an acceptable way ?


That’s a tough question for which I don’t know the right answer. I’m sure you have thought about it may times and it has been discussed before, so excuse me if I say something silly.

As long as it remains open source so the code can be tested and reviewed (by anyone), yes. This is how Ardour does it for pre-compiled packages (subscription, one time payment with minor version updates…), if I’m not mistaken. But there should be some kind of demo for users to see what they will get.
Would be better if the repository could be integrated within software center, somehow.

But I would prefer the packages to be available to everyone on nethforge, regardless of if they paid or not, as long as the developer goals were meet (bounty, crowdsourcing…)

Another way is crowdsourcing, like krita does. Setting funding goals to implement a feature.

There are bounties. Which are already implemented but are not having much success.

Or donations (the past week I compiled nethserver-transmission and saw in the code that you accept donations through paypal).

Another option would be to create an API + appstore for contributors.

Another silly idea… is for nethesis to hold fundraising for approved contributors. The source of money could be nethesis and its partners, and community donations. That means to keep a bag of money (over time) for package developers/maintainers.

Mixing open community and money is not always easy. The developer wants to know in advance that their work will be properly rewarded, while the users sometime are keen to donate without knowing if the feature will be finally implemented or maintained.

Of course there is who code for fun, or to scratch its own itch, or to improve her skills, or who is implementing a feature for his company and shares it with the community… et cetera. But developing and maintaining it are the hard parts.

There are a few not so feasible/good ideas I keep for myself.
Would be interesting to see how other projects do it (if it’s through a foundation, et cetera)


Sorry guys, but what exactly are we talking here about? A vision of what the software should be able to perform in future, a vision of what the community should be able to afford or a business-modell to finance the costs of this project?
I’m a little bit confused. :confused: All 3 questions are legit and worth to discuss, but I think they should be discussed seperatly, although they are strongly connected to each other.


How to see beyond 5 years?

NethServer as an AD server, the maximum stable or LTS version.

What our customers need? A stable system that has a staff that can provide them adequate support.

What our community needs? Maintainers modules, support staff training. Donations are a part of what can benefit. maintainers, but as you can do to have a center of international support?

Where are we in 5 years?

This is IMO a very important question. And it should be split in 2 sections:

  • Where will the community be in 5 years?
  • Where will the project be in 5 years?

Both questions are essential to make NethServer a solid distribuition and the community thriving. We have to be clear in our ambition and define clear goals for short and longterm periods. After that fill in how we think we can accomplish those goals.

Well, here is my foresight for NethServer. Maybe 5 years is a (too) long period. Don’t forget the community as it is now, only exists for about 18 months. 5 Years is more than 3 times that.

For me the community part will have priority since I am more a community man than a technical man. I do know my networking but have next to none experience with coding. I gladly leave that part to others… :wink:

For the community I hope we can work on several fronts. I think it will be essential to have the content our members need. Therefor our docs team will have a huge task in writing new topics, and updating old topics in our documentation and wiki.
The community team will concentrate on the forums and communication with all the members. Communication is a key factor.

Important will be that we come to a consistent approach on how we do our ‘jobs’ in the community. Clear procedures (without putting on a harness on what can and can not be done) will guide the documentation and community team. To get there these guidelines need to be created and documented.
I want to explicitly point that we HAVE to avoid that guidelines become a bat to hit others with that think differently than you do. As an example: I experienced a very cold and aggressive atmosphere in the wikipedia community. This will drive people away and that is not what we want to accomplish. It is very important that our community maintains it character and stays as friendly as it is now, helping each other where we can.

This all can be a topic for a meeting (online or irl). I think we need to formalize this and put it in writing so we can live to it and get reminded every time.

btw: anyone is free to chip in, but there are no ‘musts’ here. Help if you think this is interesting stuff to think and debate about. Help with experiences you have had with NethServer or other communities. Lets cherry-pick and make NS community even better.


Another question is importand to where we will be in 5 years.
Feels nethesis strong enough and are they willing to support this community for long term?
Is there a clear statement: Yes we can and we will?
I don’t want to offend anybody. Maybe I’ve overseen it.

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From my (developer) point of view as long as I see code commits here and new RPMs there the project can be considered alive :wink:

Those are my clear statement :pray:




Totally agree with you Robb.

Regarding this, we have discussed how important is having people-people here.

I don’t know if this way is feasible, looks interesting and not tried before.
Key is transparency here

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We have discussed community, what about the project/product?
Can we sustain this as a free server distro so users can depend on it in 5 years? How?

I think this is a more technical question. We shouldn’t go in details too much here, but I think we should speak out the ambition we have for the project.
My idea in this:

  • Stay at least on par with new technology. Adopt new upstream developments.
  • Have the distribution as modular as possible, on multiple levels: Be able to choose what application to install (from Software center). Be able to have multiple servers in the network and install a module on a server and another module on another server. Be able to install the same module on several servers so loadbalancing can be implemented (for instance, multiple fileservers)
  • More and easy/easier creation of Nethforge modules. This way any application can become a NethServer integrated module.

Further I hope the project will get bigger and more professional. An idea in this:

  • Create an official (Nethserver/Nethesis) certification track so sysadmins can prove they know what NethServer is and they know how to handle a server with NethServer installed. The technical level of this track could be split in a beginner and advanced version.

3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Create an official NethServer certification track