[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Doom of Debian Re: Debian Weekly News - February 18th, 2003

Miles Bader wrote:
Davide Inglima <st970743@educ.di.unito.it> writes:

I have already begun to see growing disaffection to GNU/Linux by
former enthusiast people, and this can simply spell the final doom on
the credibility of open-source.

Ha ha ha... such `enthusiasts' are hardly a loss, I think...

Well... if you think that you can get rid of enthusiasts you are wrong.
This is all IMO but think about it from this point of view: enthusiasts
make good testing ground. They do bug reports, they ask for features, they help other people to enter in both the Open Source mindset, and the Free Software

Some of them will begin also to code, helping you providing patches, or at least try do do actual bug-hunt finding that comma or bracket that makes the usage of a feature impossible in your program (error that you programmer failed to see in your long night coding sessions).

Other enthusiast will help doing funding.
If you think that the free software community can do without fandom, you are (IMO) wrong. Free Software needs people who believes in it. Otherwise people would just become software-apathic and get back to closed-software... because... "Who cares? Bad software is Gnu, and Bad software is Windows, but at least I can do useful job with Windows, let's give 200$ to microsoft this year as well..."

Note: I am the first to say that the world would be better without linux-zealots or other *-zealots (put here any technical acronym, os name, hardware or software company or product). I am talking about enthusiast.

A coding community can't simply live without people that use the code.

The security advantages of `open source' are simply a nice bonus,
they're hardly the main reason for it's existance.

In any case, this is actually a sterling example of how source-code
availability and modifiability wins big:  note that the easter-egg in
question was installed by the program's _author_ -- and because the
source code was available, the problem could in fact be found and
corrected, even if not immediately.  If it was a proprietary program,
the easter-egg would still be there, and no one would be the wiser.
[Sure, there'd be less bad press, but that's like hiding your head
in the sand and claiming it's safe!]

Yes, but this does not answer by a mile the problem I was raising.

If people is already driven off because of the Free Software/Open Source community at large inability of getting a common ground and beginning to build a set of common tools which work well and seamlessly together because any coder is trying to do the prima-donna and rewrite interfaces, protocols, scripting languages and common utility libraries (and the schism between Gnome and KDE is a nice example of this happening [1]) then, what do you really think would happen when incidents like the one of Micq begin to spread more and more and more?

People will be ticked off, even worse than with the spyware bundled with the latest p2p application from an unkwnown town on the baltic sea [2]:

In the case of p2p application, spyware is only made by greedy people that "only wants" to force ad banners in our throat, (and since I'm using p2p to steal music, I should stay silent and eat all banners, or maybe I can resort to ad-removal tools)...

In the case of an open source project, OTOH, it's the author that tries to actively screw me and fuck my CS ignorance in the ass. Oh, yes, the code may be opensource, and if I had technical abilities I could read that! But since I'm ignorant and I happily download the pre-compiled binary, my real fault is that I trusted code that I shouldn't have trusted in the first place. And the community that first gave me a false sense of security (peer-reviewable code! let's all play nice by the rules) now turns back their head ad show a face worse than any ugly popupadvertiser from the baltic rim...

Ok, an explosion in this sense, in this kind of abuse of people goodwill to trust the other, has yet to happen. This is just an example, and I didn't really wanted to talk about it. What I would have liked to underline is this: it's true: Debian has to do peer-review of the code that distributes. But my question is: wouldn't this bring too much strain to the distribution?

[1] It would be a very nice the day when I can make a pic in The Gimp, then
visualize it in KWord, and then copy+paste the stuff to Evolution and mail everything to my friend passing only from the clipboard, and not having to save&load the stuff everytime...

[2] Of course here I'm using strong images. Sorry if this upset you. I don't want to troll.

                           Davide Inglima
         "The question of whether computers can think is like the"
       "question of whether submarines can swim." -- Edsgar Dijkstra

Reply to: