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Re: Done

On Saturday 13 September 2003 13:40, Colin Watson wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 12, 2003 at 10:46:55AM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> > 	I sincerely hope that the sentiment in the argument above is
> >  not widely held. Because of this sentiment, though,  I am reluctantly
> >  beginning to come to the conclusion that there may be something of
> >  substance in user complaints that debian developers are arrogantr,
> >  novice unfriendly, and the distribution is one for steeped in
> >  elitism.
> How far away is that, really, from holding the attitude you've often
> professed that developers work primarily to produce the best system for
> themselves, and that altruism is merely a biologically infeasible
> delusion? ;-) In my experience, such as it is, people who are unwilling
> or unable to follow up an inadequate package description and discover
> what it does are statistically less likely to be collaborative users, on
> the basis that only a limited proportion of novices end up
> collaborating, and therefore a strict approach of enlightened
> self-interest would seem to give their problems lower priority.

okay, here's some input from a plain run-of-the-mill user. there is a 
distinct difference between mamoj's emphasis on the belief that users deserve 
coherent descriptions of what any given package is and does and steve's 
untenable position that users' ignorance is their fate. as users of debian, 
we come to this particular distro because we were motivated by 
dissatisfaction to such an extent that we ended up here. there can't possibly 
be a user of debian who has taken on the task without having a simultaneous 
sense of commitment to debian that, to my my mind, indicates a certain degree 
of collaboration with the project as a whole. for us, the users, it spares us 
consternation and confusion when the packages are properly described in a 
manner or style that respects our commitment. i frankly find it baffling that 
manoj has had to struggle as hard as he has to have the rest of you accept a 
point that is so blatantly plain and obvious. those who would argue against 
coherent package descriptions are ultimately arguing against the success of 
the project.

in addition, the bickering that i've read around this particular subject 
leads me to wonder whether or not there will be a debian one, two or three 
years from now. i'm running woody on a quirky-ass sony laptop. given that the 
quirky nature of this machine posed so many problems, i was rendered 
completely dependent on good descriptions of the essential packages necessary 
to run debian.

as much as i revere you guys for what you do in providing us plain users with 
an honest and honestly excellent free operating system, i worry that you seem 
to have made a hobby of hacking, in the negative sense, on each other. for 
instance, colin, though i've read posts from manoj where he has stated that 
the developers work on the system for their own satisfaction (which actually 
recommends debian), i have never read a single post of his where he claimed 
that altruism is a biologically infeasible(sic) delusion. maybe i missed 
that, but the point is that we, the users, are here, and some of us are a bit 
more enlightened, some of us a tad less, but we are here. we are as much as a 
contributory part of the project as those of you who put it all together. we 
feel the same pride whenever a press release reveals that debian has garnered 
new appreciation wherever. your activity is that upon which we depend, but, 
without us, the users, why would you even be motivated to comment your code?

maybe the lazy attitude about package description came about because, for 
some, the responsibility involved in being a developer/maintainer proved too 
exacting a task; maybe there are other reasons; but manoj's position is one 
that all users appreciate, and one that is supported by policy, and--correct 
me if i'm wrong--the policy only makes sense if it exists to accommodate all 
of us together.

i wish, as i'm fairly sure most plain users wish, that i could contribute 
more. one does what one can. these days, i run woody, and i have no 
complaints. a year ago, i ran sid and participated much more on debian-user. 
as ever, i am in debt to those of you who make it possible for all of us to 
be free in our choice of operating system, but it's noticeable that, apart 
from manoj, colin, and branden, there are few developers who regularly listen 
to what goes on on debian-user. pose the question there, especially for the 
novices' sake, whether the package description is adequate. we, the users, 
are those who require adequate package description, if for no other reason 
than to accommodate our desire to share what we can amongst ourselves. 
imagine for a moment that all of you did your work blindly in the dark and 
without a common language. there would be no debian. adequate package 
description gives us regular folks a means to make the best of our world. 
altruism, shmaltruism--we are social animals, we thrive on contact and 
communication. to counter that goes against human nature, and that, i 
believe, is manoj's point.
> It seems a very small step behind enlightened self-interest to care only
> about problems that directly affect your own use of the system, which
> often leads to being unfriendly to novices. I prefer not to think about
> things that way myself.
> (I freely admit to caring *more* about problems that affect me, but I
> wouldn't pay so much attention to bugs if that were my only motivation.)
> Cheers,


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