Mumble

Karsten Wade kwade at redhat.com
Tue Mar 16 05:56:53 UTC 2010


On Sun, Mar 14, 2010 at 02:41:44PM +0000, Nelson Marques wrote:

>  This would just make us closer I guess and communicate in real time. As
> long as you have internet connection and some kind of microphone (all
> laptops should be prepared for this under rough conditions), you can
> communicate jsut like in IRC, but through voice).
> 
>  Even on those days when we're off work we can speak a bit about
> everything and nothing if we have such service available, chill out,
> laugh a bit with each other... The possibilities are kinda infinite.
> 
>  I guess ease of usage would a great pro. Asterisk has different goals
> from this. Anyway, was just a suggestion. I was going to actually
> mention Ventrilo, but found this open source software which seems to be
> pretty good as well.

Others have already pointed out that we have these exact features in
Asterisk at talk.fedoraproject.org.  You can setup a conference room
which people can reach through a SIP client (softphone such as Ekiga
or Twinkle, or a SIP handset.)  It's integrated with Fedora, etc. and
has a few direct-dial numbers for when people cannot get SIP to work.

There is another and different point to discuss.

When Fedora Infrastructure was first considering setting up
talk.fp.org, Mike McGrath voiced a strong concern about what would
happen with our radically transparent culture if we started conducting
community business in voice rooms.  Since then, we have had a number
of informal discussions about this, and perhaps it's time to set up a
wiki page and get down the specifics. (I added some of this content to
https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Fedora_Talk .)

For pure social communities, it is probably unimportant that voice
chat creates a significant barrier to many potential participants.
Social communities are somewhat selective by nature, and what one is
socializing around is often exclusive-creating in itself, whether it's
gaming or brew pubs.

In an open source community of practice[1] such as the Fedora Project,
it is a very important consideration.  Here's a quick list of the
problems that arise when voice is used as part of conducting community
activities:

* It excludes people who cannot hear, who cannot understand English,
  or cannot understand the accent of the speaker(s).  Meetings that
  are conducted via voice exclude all of those people from
  participating.

* It is difficult to obtain a log of the discussion (a transcript.)
  Any notes or summaries are always interpreted by the people doing
  the writing and generally focus on the conclusions and decisions.  A
  chat log or a email list discussion can be archived and referred
  back to later to understand why something was done.

* It's hard or impossible to have multiple threaded discussions in
  voice; generally only one person at a time can speak.  This presents
  challenges to anyone who feels uncomfortable speaking in public or a
  group.  People who can otherwise participate in a written
  English-only discussion may not be able to participate in a voice
  only discussion.

* Translation is very difficult with voice, unless a full transcript
  is provided.  This excludes a sizeable part of the Fedora
  contributors.

The above is now at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Fedora_Talk under
the section "Why be careful?"

Thanks for "listening" ;-) - Karsten

[1] http://theopensourceway.org/wiki/Community_of_practice
-- 
name:  Karsten 'quaid' Wade, Sr. Community Gardener
team:                Red Hat Community Architecture 
uri:               http://TheOpenSourceWay.org/wiki
gpg:                                       AD0E0C41
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