[nSLUG] Lock the door...

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Tue Jan 6 17:58:44 AST 2009


2009/1/6 George N. White III <gnwiii at gmail.com>:
> On Tue, Jan 6, 2009 at 11:31 AM, Daniel Morrison <draker at gmail.com> wrote:

> A free software developer can have whatever attitude she/he wants --

I can't dispute that.  Doesn't stop it from stinking though!

Also it's rare for a single developer to be entirely responsible for a
project.  I feel that a bad developer attitude is disrespectful to the
original authors.  When Spencer Kimball and Peter Mathis (sp?) originally
wrote GTK, it was a revolution in X11 widget toolboxes.  The current
developers of GTK2, IMO, owe debt of respect to the original developers.  I
doubt very much that the project would have gone anywhere at all if GTK2 had
been the first revision (especially on hardware from that time)!

Of course this doesn't force the developers' hands in any way.  I just think
it's sad when a truly new and useful project becomes bogged down and bloated,
and has silly wars over "my interface is slicker than yours (if you have
bazillions of Mhz and GB to spare)".

I firmly believe that the fact that we have more CPU power, more RAM and
faster disk _on_the_average_common_new_system_ in no way means that it's OK to
add questionably useful features at the expense of slower hardware.  However I
don't think my belief is widespread, unfortunately.

> if users want to be the bosses they have to pay for the software (and even
> then developers have been getting away with bad code _and_ bad attitudes).

I'm sorry but I feel this is old thinking.  The open source model is a
meritocracy; users "pay" for software by making it popular.  If a developer
puts forth a new project, and has the attitude that "I rule, you suck, and
I'll fix problems only if they affect me on my brand new 8x core 3Gpbs SATA
workstation", then their project will likely sink without a trace.

However when new developers take over older, successful projects, they are
inheriting a "living project" with an existing user base.  It's no surprise
that people speak of the "open source wilderness, full of free software flora
and fauna".

Sure, if you inherit a nice piece of rain forest with lots of plants and
animals, I can't prevent you from burning it down and building a parking lot.
But I can stand on the sidelines and disapprove of the squandering of a
carefully "grown" project.

> We need more people who stick up for small, lightweight, reliable
> tools that don't involve GUI interfaces.

I'm not against GUI interfaces.  So I agree with that statement, except for
the GUI interfaces part.  I see no reason why a good GUI interface can't be
small, lightweight, reliable, and flexible enough to allow power keyboard
users to do anything that a mouser can do (and probably 10x faster).

> As people worry more about security in linux, the number of conflicts between
> simplicity and "ease of use" will increase because every string that can be
> accepted as input has to be considered as a possible chink and appropriate
> checks applied.

I don't disagree, but think this is off-topic.  Software is undoubtedly
getting more complex, and this leads to _more_ security risks.  There are at
least three parts of the GTK2 file dialog that can accept text input (the
text/file location bar, the file lister, and a weird unnamed text box that
pops up unexpectedly if you press the '/' key first).  Three times as many
chances for incorrect input handling.

-D.



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