[mythtv] Mythtv Bug 4989

Daniel Kristjansson danielk at cuymedia.net
Fri Feb 6 16:16:08 UTC 2009

On Fri, 2009-02-06 at 21:07 +1100, Jean-Yves Avenard wrote:
> 2009/2/6 Steve Hodge <stevehodge at gmail.com>:
> > The usual definition is that a bug is a piece of code that does not work as
> > intended. This code does do what it was designed to do - the Live TV
> > handling is something that wasn't implemented, not something that was
> > implemented but doesn't work as intended. So (IMHO) it's a feature request.
> Jeez, I wonder how you explain that view at your job if you're a
> software developer.
> It's okay sir, it's not a bug ; if it failed to work it's because it
> wasn't implemented... You see ; a bug is .....

That's pretty much how it works professionally. You spec all the things
that you think are needed, then the feature is cut because the payback
is not sufficient for the cost. Then you deliver the project as
specified. Then you're told they really need that missing feature.
Then you spec that feature and charge extra for the change order or
incorporate it into some larger follow-on project at normal billing.

This happens in pretty much any profession outside heavily regulated
ones like law and accounting, not coincidentally professions whose
customers constantly complain about being billed for things they didn't
request but are required by law and professional ethics. My mother once
managed a cleaning service. The military put out to bid for cleaning and
she suggested they might want to add periodic cleaning of surfaces other
than the floors and bathroom fixtures. But they didn't want that. So her
service put in a bid for just what they asked for. Then she got
complaints about her cleaners and when she visited the site found they
had cleaned the surfaces they were supposed to, but not the giant pizza
stains on the walls. Her collection of former crackheads did a lot of
stupid stuff, but the complaints she fielded were generally for things
that weren't in the contract. The contract was lowest bid as would be
the next contract, so she couldn't afford "extras" to make her customer
happy. My wife is an architect, a couple years ago she was asked to
remove the ground floor windows on one of her buildings because of lack
of funds in the budget. She unhappily did this and the building went out
to bid. A couple weeks later they found money for the windows, but since
it had already gone out to bid it now cost three times as much to add
the windows back, so the windows stayed out of the design. A shovel
hadn't even hit the ground yet. So I think software developers are a
bit more forgiving than the norm. Before we start coding we'll generally
accept changes to the spec for the cost of modifying the spec plus
implementation costs.

Since MythTV is a self-help project I can't triple bill you for feature
requests. I'd honestly be very happy working for $450 an hour on a
change request, but such is not the nature of the project. Here the
currency that will get my attention is a workable patch. Occasionally
I'll work on a feature for someone else that can't code, but only after
they have shown themselves to be valuable to the project in other ways,
such as writing documentation or helping others on the user's mailing

-- Daniel

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