[Server-devel] Dealing with the disruptions caused by XSCE.

Samuel Greenfeld greenfeld at laptop.org
Thu Aug 8 14:26:19 EDT 2013

Unfortunately you chose a week to ask this question when many people are on

I will give my personal, non-official response; however as it is wider
issue, server-devel@ likely is not the list this should be discussed on.

Recently there have been a number of cases where volunteers along with
other companies/parties have either been confused for or interfered with
official representatives of OLPC.  This is causing problems with support &
sales where the OLPC Association is trying to send one message, and the
other party, no matter what their intent, is sending another.

As a result, the mandate has come that we need to be extra clear when
volunteers and other parties are doing something versus someone actually
hired or contracted by OLPC professionally.  This is why you might have
noticed templates being added to the XSCE Wiki articles noting that it was
not something OLPC supported or created.

That being said; I welcome a discussion on how to do this.  Although it may
be desired to move purely volunteer-run items into their own area,
personally I do not think we should splinter hosting all over the place.

On Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 3:47 AM, David Farning
<dfarning at activitycentral.com>wrote:

> Over the past couple of days there have been some threads about XSCE
> and OLPC-XS which raised some interesting questions.
> The primary impetus for the project was that several of the original
> participants had struggled to deploy and adapt OLPC-XS to meet a
> specific deployments needs. The original School Server design was
> sound. We felt deployments struggled unnecessary with the monolithic
> implementation. The project could improve from a more modular
> implementation. The potential rewards or a rewrite were significant.
> However, the risks were just as significant:
> 1. The project could fail for any of a million reasons. That would
> mean wasted work and pilots left with an unsupported server.
> 2. The project could alienated current stakeholders. Several people
> and organizations had become experts at setting up and maintain XS
> systems. A different system would have a negative impact on the value
> of their expertise.
> 3. The project would reduce the value of past investments in XS.
> Several deployments had invested significant amounts of time and money
> on their current systems. A different system would have a negative
> impact on the value of their investment.
> As the impact on of XSCE increases, the ecosystem is adapting to these
> changes by adapting, ignoring, or pushing back. These are all rational
> adaptations. Building credibility is an iterative process. The
> responsibility for building the credibility is squarely on the
> shoulders of XSCE to _prove_ that the rewards of working with the
> project are greater than the risks.
> This is all pretty straightforward stuff as described by Disruptive
> Innovation theory.
> This disruption is particularly evident in the relationship between
> XSCE and OLPC. Long term, XSCE _might_ be valuable to OLPC in their
> role as "The world food bank of education." Short term. in their roles
> as a sustainable business, it is a pain in the ass. What do you say to
> a customer when they ask for features which are still in a unreleased
> version of a community project... which just showed up on their wiki
> one day.
> Now that XSCE exists and is a viable project, OLPC will have to make a
> decision; take a wait and see approach, compete with it, or
> collaborate with it.
> A first question is should the XSCE wiki remain in a username space at
> wiki.laptop.org ? Should it move to another home? Should it move to
> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/XSCE ? or should we wait 3 months and
> revisit the issue?
> --
> David Farning
> Activity Central: http://www.activitycentral.com
> _______________________________________________
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> Server-devel at lists.laptop.org
> http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/server-devel
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