This is my first post here, I’m Matthijs Kooijman and I’ve been doing some work for Fon in the last few weeks. Fon has a very cool community surrounding their Fonera firmware, but it hasn’t been investing nearly enough time in communicating with this community recently. There is a lot of useful feedback that hasn’t received the attention it deserves. My (part-time) work is now to get the fonosfera, the Fon community, back on track. Let’s look at a few things I’ve done or am still doing.
There were a lot of comments on this blog that needed to be moderated. Partly because everybody was busy and partly because there wasn’t a single person responsible for comment moderation, this list had accumulated to nearly 300 comments. In the last few days, I’ve gone through the list, deleting half of the comments since they were autogenerated spam and approving the other ones. Just for the record, every real comment has been approved, with the exception of a handful of comments that were plainly offensive and contained swearing. You might have gotten the impression recently that we didn’t publish criticizing comments, but we just haven’t been publishing any comments… We might become a bit more strict in our moderation, though, more about that soon. For now, please keep to on-topic comments, and use the proper channels (forums, IRC, trac) for other things you want to share.
There’s also the trac, which is full of tickets. Some of these address very real bugs, a lot more suggest very useful features, but there is also a lot of duplication and some (spam) polution in there. To turn the trac into a useful development tool again, I’ve started reviewing tickets. The first goal is to filter out duplicate issues, remove useless tickets (that need more information but have not contact information, or that are really configuration problems instead of real bugs), sort the issues into different components, firmware versions, etc. and sometimes even try to confirm the bug or even fix it. So far, I’ve looked at over 150 tickets and there’s still over 250 to go.
To improve the quality of (new) tickets, we’ve also cleaned up the ticket metadata a bit. There is now a hardware field to choose either 2.0n or 2.0g, the list of versions and components is more complete and some useless fields have been removed or hidden from anonymous users.
We have also enabled anonymous commenting for tickets. If you report a problem, you can now supply additional information, or answer our questions in a comment. To improve communication, we have also enabled email notifications of tickets: You will now get notified about all changes and comments to tickets you’ve reported (but only if you filled in your email address in the reporter field). So, if you’ve created a ticket in the past and didn’t fill in your email address, feel free to leave your address in a comment so we can contact you with questions and updates. Note that trac will not make your address public, even when it’s a comment.
This option for feedback on the trac has already payed off: A lot of bug reporters have been supplying extra information and we even managed to nail a few bugs because of that. Thanks for that, reporters!
Finally, I’ve also been doing some early testing with the most recent firmware on 2.0g hardware. There has been a focus on getting 2.0n stable in the last few firmware releases, but now it is really time to get 2.0g up to speed again. I hope to have the next release support 2.0g again (though there might be one more bugfix release for 2.0n first, to fix some import bugs, more about that soon). Note that the next 2.0g release will probably not have bridge mode yet, due to different hardware capabilities…).