[mythtv] 'stable' tag proposal

Jay R. Ashworth jra at baylink.com
Tue Mar 22 23:33:31 UTC 2005

On Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 05:34:36PM -0800, Brad Templeton wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 07:05:36PM -0500, Jay R. Ashworth wrote:
> > On Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 06:48:24PM -0500, andrew burke wrote:
> > Screw the users.  They're getting a *lot* of *really sweet* code FOR
> > FREE.  They didn't have to pay Isaac or, in general, anyone else, *any
> > money* for what they got.  And they were made aware that the code is
> > prerelease -- if in no other fashion, by the version number.
> Ah, but this misses out on the two reasons we want the users.  One
> is only important to some developers, the other is important to all
> developers.

I know, Brad.  I was just being loud.  :-)

> The one that's only important to some is that some developers of OSS
> code because they want their code to be used.  If I didn't care about
> users I wouldn't put any care into docs, or maintainability by others
> or any number of other things.   I think the majority of OSS coders
> truly want their code to be used, many of them also want the accolades
> and thanks and groupies.  Some want donations.  Some just want the
> knowledge lots of people are making good use.   Some don't care about
> any of this.

Isaac *says* he's in the latter category, most of the time (unless I'm
misinterpreting him :-), but so does Linus.  You end up with better
code that way.

> The second factor, however, is more compelling.  Having more users makes
> your software stronger.  It makes it more tested and more robust.  It
> gets it tried on lots more platforms.  And, perhaps most of all, it
> gets more people to do development and add features and send in fixes.
> Developers all start as users.  Nobody sits down and says, "I think
> I'll write code for this program I have no interest in running."
> And some users even contribute useful ideas even if they don't have time to
> code them.

Debugging is parallelizable.  Yes. 

> So while it's not true that you _owe_ the users anything, and they
> should indeed be thankful -- it is still the case that "Screw the users"
> is the wrong philosophy.  Not for the users, but for the developers.

Well, to a certain extent, there's another curve in that road: those
who *do* those things *aren't users* anymore.  They're developers,
however small, and IMHO *any* contribution into the gift economy,
however small, earns you brownie points (assuming it doesn't cost other
people lots of dev time), that you get to spend later.

> This doesn't mean bow down and treat the users better than paying
> customers, to cater to their whims.  It just recognizes their place
> in the OSS value chain is not simply as leeching consumer.


But if you don't want to be "just" a user, you have to contribute
*something* that the project leader *perceives* as a contribution,
which sometimes takes positioning, or politics :-).

And if you *don't*, then the desirability of your input -- especially
in a project as early-stage as this -- is likely to be limited.

It's a *wonderful* sociology class.

-- jra
Jay R. Ashworth                                                jra at baylink.com
Designer                          Baylink                             RFC 2100
Ashworth & Associates        The Things I Think                        '87 e24
St Petersburg FL USA      http://baylink.pitas.com             +1 727 647 1274

      If you can read this... thank a system adminstrator.  Or two.  --me

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