Portrait of Edd Dumbill, taken by Giles Turnbull

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Loving Evolution

I've used the Evolution mail client for several years now, starting off with development CVS snapshots. It's a wonderful piece of software, and I'm very happy with it.

I was interested to read this, from Jeff Stedfast, one of the Evolution developers:

There's talk of starting an Evolution blog to try and get development to be more open and hopefully attract more outside developers in an effort to build a development community. We really need good code contributions from people. We are totally understaffed and can't do much more than simply maintaining the beast. Unfortunately it seems there is no interest from outside developers. We need to change that...

I will admit it didn't occur to me that Evolution needed more love from outsiders. As with many open source projects started by companies, it's easy to get the impression from the outside that the project's doing very well thanks, and involvement on any more than a simple bugfix level isn't really required or solicited.

This is a similar problem to that of OpenOffice.org, and I guess Mozilla in its earlier days (alas, they have even more problems to worry about now.) Evolution needs more visibility to hackers in order to get them involved. There is a page on how to contribute, but it doesn't really motivate the contribution of much more than a simple patch.

If more outside involvement is desired, we need to be able to see details of Evolution's architecture, guidelines on what the major work items are, a release schedule, who the module owners are, and so on. I'm not sure that a blog, as Jeff suggests, is the answer, but rather we need much better documentation of the internals of the software and the project. When that's in place, some sort of community content, like a weblog, will definitely provide another hook for people to get involved.

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