zaterdag, maart 12, 2005

OSNews' Eugenia on Gnome

I was rather unpleasantly surprised by Eugenia's article on OSNews today.


"A feature will be implemented if and only if there is a developer who wants to implement it" (it was later mentioned in the discussion that this is if the developer actually has such a need himself for the feature).


Ofcourse! OSS is software by enthousiasts *for* enthousiasts. OSS developers are not a heap of programming slaves waiting to be commanded by demanding users.


I do not like or agree with the above statement, because I see software as simple tools. Only good tools can ultimately succeed. And I want Open Source to succeed.

The key to the success is more users contributing. Not complaining to developers to work harder for free.


For example, the No1 Gnome feature request, a menu editor that actually works properly, is still not realized after so many years.

So, what are you waiting for? During so many years, I'm pretty sure you could have implemented it yourself.

... users had to wait 6 months to get a checkbox on the preference panel ...

Oh please, it's a darn shame that none of them got to implement it themselves.




Open source devs generally only code whatever they personally need, and that's a huge difference from a commercial application where the "customer" is being asked repeatedly what features he/she needs in the application.

Sure. The customer pays, he gets his satisfaction, the programmer gets his by getting his wage. That's called a job. The other thing is called a hobby, which people do just for the fun of it. To please themselves. A hobby is not about pleasing others. It might please others, but that's not what makes it a hobby.

You may argue that in the second case you pay real money to get such support, but in my book, engineering is engineering. ... So, no matter if something is developed for OSS or for commercial reasons, the principle of engineering remains the same, because in both cases, the software is released out there to be consumed by [innocent] people.

NO. The software is written so satisfy the developers needs and as a free bonus he releases it. If someone might be able to use it, then it's a free gift. If they don't, well, then they are free to ignore it.




So in both cases, there is some responsibility on what the user would expect out of a given application and in the case of Gnome, there are a few millions of users that developers should take into account.

No, the OSS developer who is a hobbist programmer has _no_ responsibility.

Here's a nice quote from the GPL:


NO WARRANTY

11. BECAUSE THE PROGRAM IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE, THERE IS NO WARRANTY
FOR THE PROGRAM, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. EXCEPT WHEN
OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND/OR OTHER PARTIES
PROVIDE THE PROGRAM "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED
OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK AS
TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE PROGRAM IS WITH YOU. SHOULD THE
PROGRAM PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING,
REPAIR OR CORRECTION.




If these developers really don't want user feedback, they should close down their bugzilla, stop offering their software freely (only use it for their own needs), stop sending press releases out and stop asking for donations on their front page. It's as simple as that.

No, it's not as simple as that. There's users like the one quoted above, who nag and complain about OSS not being good enough, and there's users who are happy to be able to use and modify software for free. If you don't like OSS, you should stop visiting bugzilla, stop donating money and stop reading press releases. I happen to like all the aforementioned a lot.


If the "plain user" entity in the OSS world is such a taboo why the hell would I want to use OSS software?

You don't have to! Nobody is forcing you!


Just because the code is open?

Well, that's what defines OSS, doesn't it?

I don't personally have any real use for the source code (and most normal users don't either). I don't do C anymore (in the case of Gnome)

Well, if you don't like the software and are not prepared to enhance it, well, then that's pity. I suggest you go and find software that'll better fit your needs.


and I can't possibly pay $100-200 per hour to a consultant to add features for me.

If you can't spend $200 for getting a needed feature implemented, you certainly can't spend more on getting a WinPC full of software.

The point of OSS is that you _can_ add the feature yourself or ask someone to do it for you. If you can, good for you, if someone is kind enough to do it for you for free *be grateful*, otherwise pay someone.

Try getting your favorite feature into MS Visual Studio or any other closed source software package. Those companies will _truly_ ignore you. They might do market research to please to commonly asked features, but they certainly won't satisfy you specific needs.

All that "the source code is open, send me patches" it's all looney-baloney for the vast majority of users.

Please reread the "NO WARRANTY" section of the GPL.

You don't seem to get the nice thing about OSS, that is, if I write software to satisfy my needs, there might be other people who've got the same needs. And it will cost me little effort to just make it available. If they need different features, they can add them, and I can enjoy them as well.


However, I wouldn't mind at all paying about $30 per year to a big project like Gnome, but get assured that users aren't cut off from its development process (the current donation scheme does not take care of this).

They are *not* cut off. They are free to contribute. They are just not entitled to command any open source programmer and that seems rather reasonable to me.



They can only quickly describe what they need, and that's that.

Sure, I like to quickly describe what I need too, but apparantly the real world doesn't work like that. I like a Porche 911 for example. And, I don't like paying for it either, nor would I like building it myself. So, please you get me one. For free.



Normal users don't use bugzilla. Only power users & developers do. Besides, no one likes spending time to register.

Ah! So, you don't like devoting 5 minutes of your precious time to register at bugzilla, but you expect other people to devote many hourse of their *precious* time to implement your favorite software for free for you!


What I like to see, is some market research. Approach all kinds of users, put their gripes in line, make a note of their features they really need and evaluate them. Then, create a project plan and distribute the tasks that need to be done to your developers and make sure they deliver what they must deliver.

If you want to force people to work for free for you, that's called slavery.

People will say "that's not how OSS works", but as a user, I don't really care how OSS works.

Yes you do. You are imposing a working method on other people; telling them what to do. For free. For you.

I care about using software that's been properly developed taking users into account rather than purely developers' needs.

The features you need are not there, you are not intending to add them yourself. Okay. But you should not be annoyed that you can't force others to add them for you.


Be careful: I am not asking the OSS developers to implement every little thing that's asked out there, I am asking them to simply take users into account ...

Which does mean implementing every little thing that's asked out there.



I personally find it "deteriorating" for any user to use Open Source software made from such 'lone' developers and not by a company which specifically asks for feature requests or does market research. It would be like the user does not respect him/herself by using a tool that does not do all it could do or all things the user needs it to do

I think your statements show a lack of respect for the people out there who devote their free time to write software and then decide to give it away for free and release the full source code.


To me, software is a tool, nothing more. I am as practical as it goes when it comes to computers. I don't idolize them and I don't have a political ideology about software or hardware (and in fact, I personally take pity to anyone who does -- there's more important things in this world than to be political over bits and bytes).

But you do want a horde a programmers to work for free for you.



If something is open source, that's cool, it's a meta-feature that the closed source apps don't have, and I welcome it and I embrace it.

No you don't. You stated before that you don't care about the source code at all.



But when it comes to software written by hobbyists who don't want to implement anything apart from what they personally need, and systematically ignore their users

Again. They are hobbyists. They enjoy themselves writing software. Like you might enjoy taking a biketrip or whatever. They have every right to ignore their users. Just like you have the right to ignore my problems in my software while you are taking your biketrip.

(apart for their crashing bug reports, which is the only thing that they seem to need them for),

You should be grateful for that. They are trying to fix the problems *you* are having for free for you. Please try to send a bugreport to MS and see what response you'll get.


I refuse to use that software, because I respect myself and my choices.

Good for you. You surely seem to respect yourself. But you surely lack respect for the huge amount of work a huge amount of people made available for you for free.

While this might not be a huge problem for small time applications, it is a big problem when a project that's used by millions has the same attitude towards its users. It's disappointing, to say the least.

Yes. Your selfishness is disappointing.



Oh yes, I'm planning to build a house. I'll quickly describe how I want it, as I don't like to take time to explain clearly on how I want my house to be. But, once you've completed it, it should perfectly fit my needs, otherwise, I'll come to nag and complain about all the things you did wrong. And of course, I don't like paying for it. Oh, and as I'm not such a handy guy myself, I don't want to help out. So, you'll find me in Spain somewhere at the beach.




Update:
After reading Eugenia's article, I noticed this on her profile page:
... so if you have a problem with my spelling and grammar either:
a) do not come back (spare us and save your time too) b) send me a proofread version of the article in question.


This is truly hilarious. So, while she's saying that OSS developers should do everything to please the consumers of their software, she's saying to her readers -the consumers of her articles- that if they don't like her writings the should not read it or fix it themselves.

:-D

5 opmerkingen:

Anoniem zei

After reading the article on osnews all I have to say is: WHAT A STUPID FUCKING BITCH!!!

She's obviously a computer ignoramus, from reading her commentary in other articles on osnews, and now she throws some juvenile hissy fit dsiguised as an "editorial" because gnome doesn't drop everything they're doing and cater to her fucking airheaded whims.

I'm sorry, but there's really no other way to put it: she's just plain fucking stupid. No insight, no understanding, no empathy, and a classic LUSER if there ever was one. Just fucking stupid.

SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU IGNORANT WHORE

Eugenia zei

The ignorant whore, is you, idiot.

BTW, Taki, Panagioti: If Gnome or KDE want NO input, then they SHOULD STOP sending out press releases of being "enterprise-ready" and compete with Microsoft.

From the moment they ask for donations, and they have a marketing department, THEY HAVE to function like any other truly user-centric company.

Takis zei

I wasn't saying that they didn't want input. I was saying that no user has the right to *demand* anything from the developers.

And regarding the donations: That's why it's called a donation and not a wage. If you would pay them a wage, then you would be entitled to order them what to do. A donation means: I like what your doing so here's a token of my appreciation.

So no, even with donations, they don't *have* to do anything.

Anoniem zei

I think Denis Leary said it best in his stand up routine:

...Fuck you, pay me.
Lighting strikes my house?
Fuck you pay me
Hit me in your car?
Fuck you pay me
(now for my addition)
Want this feature added to Gnome?
Fuck you pay me.

Buy windows and see if you get any further with Micro$haft, no matter how much you pay them.

Eugenia is a Troll, a 1uzr, don't give her the pleasure she is looking for. That's why I don't read her stupid fucking site. It's "Eugenia's Worthless Opinions and Trolls on Open Source", not OSNews. If it was really news, her opinion would go in the Op Ed section where it belongs, and nobody would fucking read it except her idiot friends. Instead she frames her stuff as "news", "fact", or whatever, when it's really her opinion.

My guess is the combination of calendar day of the month, along with an ignored feature request, set her down the warpath. Her baseless feelings of self importance are apparently unequalled.

I can picture events leading up to this, and the conversation she had with herself before publishing this crap:
a. makes feature request
b. gets ignored
c. exchanges "Do you know who I am" heated emails with developers.
d. "they don't want to put my feature in, I'll teach them"

While I am sure that Eugenia has some worthwhile information to share, that is obscured by the drivel and apparent lack of journalistic ethic. She gets personal. You can't get personal in your writing, and call yourself a journalist who publishes "the news", much less "unbiased".

fak3r zei

Found this post via Google, while it's a couple years old, it's still valid! Here's the latest: http://osnews.com/comment.php?news_id=18656&limit=no&threshold=-1

Someone disagrees with her, what does she say? "...be VERY careful WHAT you write over here, because baseless accusations indeed CAN lead to banning."

Hahahaha, she's making friends left and right. What an annoying, self centered person.

fak3r