Madagascar is all about users helping each other and advancing open technology for the benefit of everyone. Because of the network effect, all users benefit from an increase in their ranks, through more bug reports, more user-contributed documentation, more platforms configured and more developers emerging. I see two ways of increasing the community that can be exploited through concerted action. I list them below and welcome opinions and suggestions in the “Comments” section.
The first avenue for concerted action is targeted more towards small users. It consists in conducting a “Google bombing”. Let me explain what that is.
There are basically three ways in which users get to Madagascar’s website: (1) Word of mouth; (2) following a link from a website, and (3) typing a search phrase in a search engine, and finding Madagascar highly ranked in the search results. It is this last one (3) which can be improved. The number of phrases that a user would search for a package like Madagascar is relatively small: “open source seismic software”, “free seismic software”, maybe with some attribute like “processing” before “seismic”, or “package” instead of “software”. Madagascar users are a pretty web-literate bunch, and many of us have websites. If we decide on a search phrase that users are more likely to search on, we can improve Madagascar’s ranking for that search by using that phrase in links from our websites to Madagascar! Technical details on Wikipedia. Suggestions of which search phrases users are more likely to search are welcome.
The fees can be used towards the time of those preparing the exam (grading is easy: the paper has to be reproducible!) and for other Madagascar purposes, i.e. LSB Certification ( $1000 for one release on one architecture +$250 per additional architecture or additional release – see schedule). Having a fee of \$250 ensures one certified user one gets one additional architecture-release certified 🙂 A reduced rate could be offered to students, so that they can put their Madagascar experience in their CV. For a Developer certificate, one would have to have: (1) passed the user exam; (2) added meaningful GPL-ed capabilities to the Madagascar core that show he understands the way its SCons system functions; (3) contributed a GPL-ed program of moderate complexity with a reproducible paper and user guide/implementation notes.