[maemo-users] gpe contacts import

From: Jac Kersing j.kersing at the-box.com
Date: Fri Apr 25 00:53:34 EEST 2008
On Thu, 24 Apr 2008, Jonathan Markevich wrote:

> Why should it be so different?  Isn't it nice to be a hobby developer 
> and be listed up there with the big boys?

For hobby developers it would be nice. Most of the time it would imply not 
being a hobby developer as well as the only way to keep up with numerous 
bug reports is to spend a significant amount of time on bug tracking. For 
most developers this means it has to be a way to generate income as well 
as there will not be time left for an income generating job...

> All a user is trying to do is keep the water out of the boat, not figure 
> out the oceanography that caused the rock to puncture it.

All the developer asks is to spend a little of your time to help solve the 
problem. Have you ever released open source software? And tried to keep up 
with the feedback, continue developing the software, fix bugs, earn a 
living doing something else and still have a life?

> And chewing out at a user like that gives a pretty clear message of the
> importance of the user(s).

I'll grant you the observation some developers are pretty rude to the 
users. However, don't forget a number of users are at least as rude by 
demanding a developer spends his/her time to fix/change whatever bugs that 
user. And once you get a significant number of those demands (yes, 
demands, not requests) you need to have saint like qualities in order to 
stay polite all of the time.

> Bugzilla appears to be useful. Any bug tracking system is essential. 
> It's just not a user tool, it's a developer tool.  It's complex and 
> frightening, and indeed, rather user hostile.

It's even hostile to (some) developers. However, given the number of 
installations used by open source projects it seems to be the only kid on 
the block.

> Respect goes two ways.  Blowing off users is a bad move.  Using the program
> IS contributing to it.  It tends to create a network of users, spreading the
> word is important and attracts potential developers.

Using a program is not contributing. Helping other users where needed, 
filing bug reports, writing how-to's and documentation is. IMHO (oh oh, 
short and all caps, can't be good)

> No no, the developer can't be in an ivory tower.  If he uses a bug tracker
> in the background or not, I don't need to know or care. The developer needs
> to be *there*.  The forum posts are sometimes as good as fully fledged bug
> reports.  They may still solicit bug submissions, but likely the user might
> have already have done what he could.

Given your messages on this subject it seems you've never been on the open 
source developers side of the fence. I've been there and I'm a user of 
(open source) software as well so I know both sides fairly well. As a user 
it bugs me when software does not do what it should according to the 
documentation. It bugs me when I report a bug and it does not get solved. 
(It bugs me even more when it happens with commercial software as I'm out 
of both money and time)

However for a developer, when the software you release becomes a success 
and is used by a fair amount of users there is no way to keep up with all 
the messages generated. Reading and answering messages in mail and 
interacting on forums consumes most if not all the time available. Then 
development stalls and no bugs get fixed. A developer simply has a 
limitted amount of time available and needs to make choices.

For successfull projects that's where a community works. Users share 
hints, tips and solutions and help a developer by trying to pin point a 
bug. So while one user might not be able to provide more details, some of 
them working together might very well find clues very helpfull to 
pin point the problem. (Which it seems is what happened for the gpe 
contact import issue as well)

As a user it is good to keep in mind you always have the choice not to use 
the software. If it does not do what you want and/or need you're free to 
look elsewhere or check later to see if things have improved.
As a non paying user of software one certainly does not have the right to 
demand anything. One may _request_, however as you're asking someone a 
favor you might be better of by humouring them when they request you do 
something. Be it entering a bug report, provide additional information or 
perform some tests. (Yes, developers fixing bugs are doing you a favor, 
they're spending their valuable time improving software. A developers time 
is at least as valuable as yours!)

Best regards,


  Jac Kersing            Technical Consultant   The-Box Development
  j.kersing at the-box.com     CISSP   RHCE        http://www.the-box.com

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