A really cool benefit of being at FUDCon is that, with many people representing various interests being physically present in the same room, there is a lot of ad hoc productivity. Perhaps a Brownian motion model of development-at-conference, in addition to the cathedral and bazaar models?
Kushal Das recounted yesterday on the per-chance work on updating the packaging for lekhonee-gnome (which I’m using at the moment to write this post). Christoph Wickert‘s barcamp session yesterday (on collaboration with other projects) ended up spilling over and merging into the next session on live media, with some interesting ideas emerging about improving the installation experience.
Today I approached Joshua Wulf to troubleshoot a problem updating the crowd-sourced Fedora book, and ended up looking into fixing the Avant Window Manager (decided in the end that it’s probably not worth putting too much effort since upstream development has stalled, but discovered a cool alternative in Cairo Dock).
In a distributed project, there is often a communication lag — things happen quickly if you catch the relevant people on IRC, but communication on mailing lists and bug trackers is by nature slower. And there is that je ne sais quoi that is physical presence that is missing in the ethereal world of the Internet — you look at someone’s computer, see they’re running an older version of Fedora because a crucial piece of their desktop is no longer supported, and start looking into solution.
Things do flourish in a community — as Hillary Clinton said, it does indeed take a village.