[owncloud-devel] Developer survey results

Jos Poortvliet jospoortvliet at gmail.com
Wed Apr 29 14:34:35 GMT 2015

Hi all,

A while ago we did a survey asking you all for your opinions around a bunch of 
ownCloud development things. I have good news!

First, we have three winners of the Banana Pi devices:

* brantje (Sander Brand)
* Rullzer (Roeland Douma)
* Yetanfou (Frank de Lange)

Congrats! The devices will soon be on their way to you.

Now for the results of the survey. Here's a summary:
* Most respondents have been 1-2 years involved in ownCloud, 2/3rd is 
technical contributor. 20% paid by Inc.
* Main motivations to contribution are changing the world, improving software 
they use themselves & out of technical interest
* contributing  to ownCloud gets a 7 out of 10 and the technical processes are 
very highly regarded.
* many say that apps are important and most note that there should be more 
focus on the app ecosystem, and related, ownCloud architecture & API's
* people are happy with technical decision making, on social side they feel 
Inc. is too dominant and decisions are made behind closed doors. A more public 
vision and direction would be helpful.
* Many feel there is an issue with getting architectural improvements in and 
PR's from volunteers don't get the needed attention. Mentoring and special 
community time was proposed, as were more hackathons.

As you can imagine, we want to do something with the input. There are some 
concrete proposals we will soon turn into PR's or changes. Other things tack 
on to what we're already working on. For example, many said they are happy 
that we focus more on stability, well - meet the upcoming ownCloud 8.1! We 
certainly plan to keep you all updated.

If you're interested, here follows a more extensive analysis.

# General
* Most respondents have been 1-2 years involved in ownCloud.
* almost all help with testing, half does coding and reviewing PR's. 45% also 
does advocacy.
* main motivations to contribute are changing the world, scratch own itch & 
interest in technology. Of average importance are the community and the 
technical challenge ownCloud faces, least important are money and job 
* 20% is paid by ownCloud Inc., 13% paid by other companies, 80% contributes 
in their free time.
* over 90% would visit the conference if they could (about a third thinks they 
can make it)

# Development
ownCloud is fun to contribute to (average score of 7 out of 10) and most 
consider it easy to get code in ownCloud (still 23% thinks it is hard). Most 
interesting developments are in architectural and feature work.

The review process and release cycle get very high marks and this is reflected 
in the comments: our development process is healthy. A few gave practical 
suggestions. It is noted that pull requests related to architectural 
changes/refactoring could do with a clearer vision/goals (documented! and 
perhaps more thinking.

# specifically about apps (mentioned a lot)
Several people mention apps are very important, extensively talking about 
'ownCloud as a platform' and such. Many then go on noting that the API isn't 
great, documentation worse & it can be hard to get answers to questions. Some 
note that parts of ownCloud like the sharing need work before they would build 
on it... The need for architectural improvements comes up many times and 
several people note that there is resistance against cleaning up the code. One 
person notes that he understands where it comes from but this should not 
"impair competent developers". More trust would be welcome for developers who 
want/need to improve the architecture of ownCloud core. Not all attempts to do 
so are 'refactoritis'.

# Decision making & communication
Most people are positive about the tech direction of ownCloud - test-driven, 
stability, architectural work, they like it. The technical decision making 
process is considered OK but a bit non-transparent. It would benefit from 
documenting decisions, including the 'why' behind them. Also because some note 
that decisions sometimes feel 'based on gut feelings' and could be explained 
(and thus discussed and often MADE) better.

People are less positive about the project-wide decision making process and 
consider it more vague and less open. People feel decisions are often done 
behind closed (Inc.) doors. Inc is considered too dominant by more than a few. 
More coordination with, at least, some high profile contributors would benefit 
ownCloud. Two concrete ideas that several people note are: include community 
PR's in milestones; and have a public vision that's more concrete than "world 
domination" to help direct efforts.

# promo/marketing
To promote ownCloud, some point out we should 'hug' people doing good stuff 
more; and that we should perhaps make videos of core ownCloud functionality to 
promote it. More local groups doing promo!
Many thoughts on getting people involved. Reviewing PR's of volunteers is high 
on the agenda. Perhaps a monthly 'community day' where questions about 
development can be asked (mentoring comes up a few times) and PR's are 
reviewed by core members is a good idea - multiple people come up with related 
thoughts. Doing more local meetups or hackathons at conferences comes up a few 
times as well. Last but not least, the (ir)regular development reports are 
greatly appreciated.

# other
* Best reason to contribute: To enable my daughter to access our data from her 
school-owned tablet (on which she is only allowed a limited number of 
* Several people point out the translation process isn't great.

Everything I do and say is based on my view of the world today. I am not 
responsible for changes in the world, nor my view on it. Everything I say is 
meant in a positive and friendly way, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
find me on blog.jospoortvliet.com
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