[linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity

Martin Pool mbp@samba.org
Mon Oct 13 19:17:42 PDT 2003

On 14 Oct 2003, "Karsten M. Self" <kmself@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> on Thu, Oct 09, 2003 at 01:13:38PM -0700, Greg KH (greg@kroah.com) wrote:
> > On Thu, Oct 09, 2003 at 09:15:33AM +0100, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> > > on Wed, Oct 08, 2003 at 12:10:40PM -0700, Greg KH (greg@kroah.com) wrote:
> > > Censorship is bullshit, Greg.  
> > 
> > I'm not saying stop talking.  Just don't keep talking and not
> > producing any valid code, and expect anyone to take you seriously.
> While I can see the frustrations here, I still disagree with this
> statement fundamentally.

You can demand to be taken seriously all you like, but it is unlikely
to help.

I don't see any developers saying that they like being told how to do
their job by people who don't understand the technology.  Practically
all think it's a waste of time; the only difference is how politely
they respond to it.  If there is anyone here who enjoys that, raise
your hand.

I do see some non-developers demanding their brilliant ideas be
implemented, and saying how bogus it is that nobody listens.  Well, if
you pay the going rate, I'll build whatever you want.

Not only is this the way the world works, but in many ways it is a
good thing.

It's very easy for Karsten or Rick to fire off an email demanding that
things be done in a particular way.  Actually implementing it might
take weeks of work.  If the alternative design is not obviously
better, or obviously not better, why should the developer invest all
that time to do Karsten's experiment?  The only sane approach is to
say "patches gladly accepted".

Aside from keeping developers sane, it has the benefit that once in a
while, people do actually send patches!  Therefore we actually have
some software, rather than just a pile of email.

Even explaining why a design document is wrong can take a lot of work.
I could go through Karsten's previous email and point out problems,
but since he's unlikely to implement it why bother?  If he really was
preparing to go and write a new configuration library then there might
be some return on the investment of time.

> > > If you're going to code, accept the compliments _and_ the complaints.
> > 
> > Heh, like I don't know how to take complaints.  You haven't seen my
> > inbox over the years.  Nothing's worse than a mad user who's new-fangled
> > USB device doesn't work on Linux and they decide to take it out on a
> > unsuspecting kernel developer who had nothing to do with the fact that
> > the manufacturer is a git.

> I believe this is about the third time I've made the point:  the
> distinction that needs to be made is not between coders and non-coders,
> but between people who can and cannot contribute to software design and
> improvement.

Not being able to code is a strong indicator of not being able to
design.  The two are not exactly identical, and there might be rare
idiot savants who can design but not code.  (Certainly there are
people who can code but not design.)  

Much as I respect your other work (such as on SCO), you are not
convincing me that you can design a better configuration library.

Of course you can contribute by filing bugs, but the developers have
the right to mark some of them WONTFIX.  If you want to get past that
barrier, you need to be able to send a patch.

> > Merely pointing out the fact that open source projects do not
> > generally enjoy users yapping on and on about what should be done,
> There seems to be genuine disagreement in the current case (GNOME &
> gconf) that this is what's being done.  Given the experience and
> diversity of viewpoints present on this list, I'd call your comments a
> mischaracterization of the discussion.

I think Greg is explaining why a large fraction of developers more or
less agree with Havoc's statement.


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