From: David Chart (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat May 11 2002 - 05:54:44 EDT
On Sat, 2002-05-11 at 01:25, Alessandro Baretta wrote:
> I simply wish to
> remind the community, and the developers in particular, that
> for free software to thrive, we all must maintain as
> positive an attitude as we can. This includes responding
> tactfully to other peoples requests, even if they might
> redundant or banal.
You say you've only recently joined the user list, which means you've
probably missed the many, many previous threads about libgal. Developers
get frustrated too.
> As far as the "bug" concerning the right-to-left feature, I
> have never thought about mentioning it on bugzilla, because
> I was not and am not convinced that there is a bug in the
> Abiword source. I believe there must be a "buggy"
> interaction between Abiword and some components of my
> distribution, which I will have a hard time identifying
> without the help of other users, expert with the
> right-to-left feature, or of the developers.
It should still go into bugzilla. The relevant developers might well not
have time to look at the problem now, but if it's in bugzilla, it will
still be there when they do have time. If it isn't Abi's fault, the bug
will just be closed INVALID -- that happened to one of mine that was a
GTK library bug. This is the sort of behaviour that might well be Abi's
fault, and so it should be filed in bugzilla so that it gets checked.
> > The fact that David blamed *us* for his having a hard
> time finding
> > libgal is a problem that needed addressing, which is
> further annoying
> > because it was hiding right underneath his nose.
> Mr. Thompson expressed his feelings about the "ease of
> installation", or rather the lack thereof.
" I know ihave asked this before, but, does anyone know where to get
libgal.so.7. It seems ridiculous that abisource should make abiword that
requires a file which is very obscure to work properly.
If the makers of abiword are reading this - come on guys get it together
and put links on your site to what is needed. "
Now, he is perfectly entitled to express his frustration in this way.
Dom is perfectly entitled to express his frustration as well, especially
since his reply does answer the question, and is rather more restrained
than Mr Thompson's original post.
> As I already mentioned, the main benefit of free
> software over commercial software is the intrinsically
> democratic nature of the community where the former is
> developed and used. Democracy is a societal condition
> whereby all members of a group have a right to express their
> opinion, with due respect, and have a duty to listen to
> others' opinions, again with due respect.
This is a common misconception. Free software is not democratic, it is
anarchic. The only rights that people have are rights not to be stopped.
There is no duty to listen to anyone with respect. The only duties come
from general courtesy, in which case the duty is on the users to be
polite to the people who are doing lots of unpaid work and giving it
Suppose a skilled decorator offered to paint your house for free. You
pick the colours, and he starts painting. Just as he's finishing, you
say "The paint doesn't match the carpet. Come on, get it together and
fit new carpet as well." The decorator snaps at you, saying that he
doesn't know why he bothers to volunteer, given the grief he gets, and
anyway you can get free carpets from carpetfind.
Who's being rude?
> But, if you chose to act as a maintainer for Abiword,
> then implicitly you are responsible for communicating with
> your users, as well as for maintaining a moderate tone in
> your postings.
No. By acting as a maintainer, he accepts responsibility for dealing
with patches submitted by people without CVS commit access, and for
either engaging in dicussions between developers about the direction of
the program, or accepting the results of those discussions. He accepts
no responsibilities towards users beyond the responsibility to code as
well as he can, when he does write code for the project.
Now, it would be nice if all free software developers were paragons of
patience and courtesy, but oddly enough they seem (mostly) to be human
beings. There is much more of an obligation on the users to cut the
developers some slack than there is on the developers to do the same for
-- David Chart
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