Re: [gnu.misc.discuss,gnu.emacs.gnus] Free software: Packagers vs Developers
(Sorry about the empty message, my connection keeps dumping)
*Per Abrahamsen wrote:
> Stephane Bortzmeyer <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> Some *users* may want the hottest newest stuff, withouit going through
> all the trouble of downloading it from the developers and subscribing
> to their mailing lists. Well, fuck them.
Fair enough. But, if someone else grabs a package and spoonfeeds
it to a user, why should the user not say "fuck the developer",
... an eye for an eye.
> The best you can hope for is theory backed by anecdotical evidence,
> unless someone is going to make a survey amongst software developers.
Perhaps you are generalizing from your experience. I only make changes
to conform with our standards, or to fix broken things. I would
really rather not spend the time doing it. In fact, I wish I
had more time to modify upstream packages.
> Neither do I. I have no idea what to do with a bug report or patch
> comming from a middleman, who neither have the same direct experience
> of the problem as the user, nor the same knowledge of the code as the
> developer. Of course, I could try to contact the user directly, hope
> that he is willing to explain everything again, figure out what code
> he has received from Debian, try to figure out if the problem is due
> to my code or the Debian mangling, and then start from there.
> Instead, I just curse Debian for sabotaging my work, and delete the
I'm sorry that you have had bad experiences. I have had many
good experiences. I have been happy to see bug reports alert upstream
developers to bugs that would have otherwise taken longer to find.
These bugs are now incorporated upstream. The bug reporter, myself,
and the developer are very happy about it, we exchange emails of thanks.
Just because it pisses you off, does not mean it pisses everyone off.
> > That's why the queso package of Debian is 64-bits clean, unlike the
> > upstream tarball, works with rejecting routes, unlike the upstream
> > tarball, etc.
> Maybe if there hadn't been a Debian package with all these attributes,
> the _real_ queso would do all this. Benefitting _everybody_, not just
> Debian users.
Rubbish. Are you saying that the developer should sit there with his hands
over his ears, refusing to hear that there is a bug in his program,
to accept a patch, to even look at a problem, until he hears it
from some certified "user"? He is only shooting himself in the foot.
> > But our changes are available publically, in the source package, so,
> > even if the Debian developer does not forward patches, anyone can
> > submit them upstream.
> Patches are almost useless, what develops need are quality bug reports
> comming directly from the affected users, running a version of the
> code identical to what is released, except for changes made by the
> user himself. _If_ these are combined with a patch, that is an extra
What you need most. Not what all developers need. Some are happy to
get a bug report or potential patch from a wider variety of sources.
> You add value, but at the wrong place. You add it in the middle, thus
> only reaching a branch of the tree, instead of the top, where you
> would reach the entire tree. And by adding the value in the middle,
> you make it less likely that the value will reach the top. The users
> in your branch won't see the need.
I guess you don't like the idea of distributions. But
the fraction of people who use homebrew systems is
negligible. We add value and we add it at the right place.
We have a unique perspective, and one of our functions is to
integrate software. This is something that can't been done
at a buch of independent top level nodes. We make systems
immeasurably more accessible, bringing the software to
many more users (and at the same time giving it a much
more thorough test.)
You have some legitimate complaints about people abusing
the relationship, but I really can't agree at all with your
general attacks on the notion of distributions and the motives
of developers involved in distributions.
As a final comment. In our physics department, Xemacs is
not installed on Sun, Digital or SGI machines, but it is installed
on RedHat and Debian machines. (really, I just checked them)
Any ideas why this is so?
John Lapeyre <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org