Dear Marius Gripsgard,The UBports Team
There need to be some serious changes in the UBports project. There are many people who spend a lot of time and money but never see the fruits of those efforts. There's no direction to any of its work. Some of us wait weeks, and even months, to hear from you. We don't want to continue like this any more. Here's what's wrong, and what can be done.
We are writing this as a last resort: we've all talked to you about these exact issues before and been either ignored or brushed off. We're tired of this, and so is the community at large.
What's the direction?
Developers at UBports fly solo and blind.
There's no direction to our project. We don't have a good definition of milestones or dependencies, we don't even have much of a hierarchy.
Developers need to know what their goal is, and be able to have the resources to reach it. There needs to be someone managing the project at a high level to set its direction.
What do you want us to do?
We get it. You're busy. The community team has told many people to sit tight as UBports works on devices. But why, if you're so busy and unable to keep up with this project, do you insist on being the single point of failure?
A lot of the time, we feel that you would prefer it if we all left you alone to work on this project yourself. Infrastructure changes or improvements can only be made by you for many services (whether it's because you're the only one with credentials or the knowledge of how they're built). What about the "Team" DigitalOcean account? What happens if you are stricken by hit-by-a-bus syndrome? Where will we be?
The community needs to know what it can do to help better the UBports project. This information needs to be clearly available to everyone. We also need people who can carry on the project in case of emergency... or a long absence from you. As a community project, it shouldn't be handled by one person at any time.
There are a lot of people willing to help pull this project together. You have large ambitions, but without a strong team with a united direction, we're worried that all effort will sink into the sea. We want to see Ubuntu Touch succeed and we want to be busy making it work, rather than sitting around looking at the goals you set, and having no way to contribute.
This project is hard-pressed to follow the spirit of open source. Discussions happen behind the scenes, little information is public, and your code fixes are only released when you so wish. Case in point: October 21st of 2016, when you told us that you have Android Marshmallow sources that boot UBports that could be used as a starting point. It is now April 23rd of 2017 with no Android 6 sources.
Another case: when you sprung on the developers that UBports was going to take a path more similar to SFOS for hardware enablement. This was decided by only you while at a conference. See the last heading.
Yet another: the fact that UBports was forking Unity 8. Without consulting any of UBports.
The community needs more open development and planning.
Why are we reinventing the wheel before we walk?
Ubuntu is big. Anbox is big. Unity 8 is big. Mir is big. Halium is big. These are all big projects that you've decided that UBports will be taking on. Before we can improve these, we need to build what already existed.
What needs to be done?
It's a terrible idea to give criticism without saying how to fix the problem. This is what this project needs to stay afloat:
* A team of people to make the decisions, not one person.
* A sense of community, a listening atmosphere between developers, teams, and the people who support us.
* A project roadmap that we follow (decided upon by the steering group)
* Make these changes and stick to them for more than a week
You're working on something that's bigger than just you. It's a community with lots of members and lots of things to track. It's a community that's too big for one person to manage. We want to help you. That's why we're here.
If these organizational issues aren't fixed (and stay fixed) by the 19th of May, we will leave the UBports project. We can all see that if UBports continues the way that it is currently going, it will fail. Miserably.
Thank you for your time in reading. Thank you for UBports. Let's use this to make it better.
- Dalton, Jan, Chloe, Florian, Marius Quabeck
P.S. This letter has been in the works since the end of 2016.