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Re: Why is help so hard to find?



On Sat, 15 Jan 2011 01:09:58 -0800
Mike Bird <mgb-debian@yosemite.net> wrote:

> On Sat January 15 2011 00:51:42 Neil Williams wrote:
> > Mike, you missed the sarcasm completely and just went on another
> > rant about two (unrelated) bugs which affect you directly. Guess
> > what
> > - I don't give two flying figs about those two specific issues
> > because they don't affect me. I care about the underlying problem.
> 
> We ran into those bugs while testing Squeeze and have for the most
> part worked around them.  We now know never to enable insserv.  We
> may even add some hacks to our systems to prevent sysv-rc from nagging
> us.  And we know to remove KDE 4 and install Trinity.

It's not about specifics, I'm trying to work on the underlying problem.
 
> They are not so much programming
> bugs as process bugs - abuses of the packaging system to force or
> trick people into switching to unwanted and undesirable software.

If the alternative software was maintained within Debian by an active
team then maybe the switch could be a choice. If nobody steps up to do
it, that choice is not available.

Lacking endless resources, Debian has to go with what people actually
doing the work want to work on.

If you want something different, work with people in Debian to provide
it but you do have to work with people with differing expertise.

Every great idea is worthless without someone to do the work.

Your issues may be valid, they might be invalid - I'm simply not
involved in those kinds of issues and I don't have time to worry about
it. Those who are willing to work on those issues within Debian get to
decide how Debian works in those areas.

Debian is a meritocracy - do the work and work with the people already
involved or it simply won't get done the way you want it done.

It makes no odds if your experience differs from others - my
experience / expertise exceeds yours in certain areas by at least as
much as you claim against those whom you criticise in Debian and your
experience / expertise in other areas exceeds mine by as much. Tough.
We're different, we work in completely different areas of Debian. Live
with it. Work with me and with others and respect different levels of
experience and expertise. Debian is simply not offering any other
choices.

You probably don't care about the kinds of systems which I work on and
I certainly don't care about the kinds of systems which you work on.
The fact remains that both sets can use Debian and we need to work
together to make that work better for both parties. If the current setup
suits my needs more than it does yours (which, AFAICT is the case
because I am completely unaffected by the bugs you find so troublesome)
then get involved, do the work and provide the alternative. Otherwise,
I will continue pushing for changes in Debian which suit me and doing
the work to provide those changes, test them, implement them and
continue helping Debian to become more like the system I want it to
become by being involved.

Those who do the work get to decide how the work is done. Nobody can
blame me for working towards what I want Debian to become unless that
person is willing to step up and do at least much work towards their
own goals as I put into achieving mine.

It really is that simple.

> They are intentional bugs, and therefore unlikely to be fixed by the
> packagers who created them without peer pressure from the majority
> of Debian developers who care about the quality of Squeeze.

I care about the quality of Squeeze but I don't care about your pet
issues and because there is nobody stepping up to provide the solutions
you want, it appears that nobody else does either.

If you can't scratch your own itch within Debian then you need to
persuade (not bully) someone else to help provide it within Debian or,
as you've done, work around it outside Debian. That is NOT the fault of
Debian. Debian works with those who work with Debian because the people
aren't there to work on other stuff.

I have pet issues of my own which aren't going to be fixed in Squeeze
and which I will have to work around in my day-to-day work for the next
couple of years until I can get the changes into Wheezy. Those are
release-critical to me too but I accept that my particular situation is
not the same as others in Debian. If I am to get Debian to work
the way I want it to work and fix these issues, I accept that I have to
work with people who have different expertise and probably know next to
nothing about my specific environment and needs. 

I'm a specialist - very few people within or outside Debian are doing
the precise work which occupies my daily life. (Think less than a
hundred world-wide and just a few dozen in free software, most of
whom I can name.) Can't help that - it's a small niche market. (It's
medical, so arguing that I should seek to increase the size of the
market could be seen as seeking for more people to be afflicted with a
debilitating life-long condition which isn't a nice thing to consider.)
Still, I do what I can to ensure that the detail of my specialism is
only evident to those who are interested for their own reasons and I
work to explain what I need from Debian in ways that Debian people
without my rather unusual expertise can understand.

What matters is working together to actually get the work done.

I've done my bit, I've achieved a lot of what I wanted and if you don't
like it, do the work and provide an alternative. I'm certainly not
going to do it for you, but as our areas of expertise differ, you
probably wouldn't want me to.

> > You also changed the topic of this part of the thread to something
> > much more interesting and important - lack of responses to RFH bugs
> > - and then put nothing in the body of the reply to actually relate
> > to the new subject.
> 
> You are mistaken Neil.  I indicated one important reason why
> experienced programmers don't want to work on Debian.  They have no
> desire to spend a year of their life humoring someone with a tenth of
> their expertise.

Tough. That person is at least working with Debian and putting their
time into making Debian better. If the alternative is having an
unmaintained subsystem which just gathers bugs because of a lack of
people to work on it, that is a backwards step and I'll fight tooth
and nail to move to a better method. I don't care about the protests and
I will ignore all rants. Do the work and I'll listen.

If I hadn't spent the last ten years humouring people with less than 1%
of my own expertise and (more importantly) being humoured by those who
have a hundred times more expertise in their area than I do, I would
have no friends in Debian and Debian would not work the way that I need.

I got involved, I did the work and now Debian works the way I want it to
work, mostly. I didn't work on the specific areas which bother you but I
didn't need to either.

I therefore assert that the generalisation in your reply is false. You
cannot assert that I am an inexperienced programmer and you cannot
assert that I have not spent more than a year working and humouring
people in Debian with a hundredth of that expertise.

I've done it and I have always tried to only claim the high ground when
I've personally done the hard slog of climbing onto the high ground
through my own effort.

Don't paint me with your over-generalised brush. I know what I know and
it differs from what you know. So? Sharing knowledge is what free
software is all about.

You are not an expert in all possible topics related to Debian, neither
am I. We don't have a genie in a bottle, we have teams of volunteers
who want to enjoy life by sharing their knowledge and helping make
things better for them and those who work with them.

Put aside your ego and work with me and others in Debian. Respect my
expertise and I'll respect yours. Do the work within Debian and I'll
respect your opinions on how I can adapt my Debian work to help you.

> Debian has unfortunately moved from excellence-driven to time-serving.

Debian is constrained by the people involved.

People do the work and the people doing the work decide how to do that
work. If that doesn't suit, do the work yourself or work with those
who are doing it. 

Complaining about it won't change a thing.

> The problem is curable.  Hopefully a DPL will tackle it one of these
> years.

It's not up to the DPL. It's about finding people willing to work with
other people and avoiding those who do nothing but complain.

-- 


Neil Williams
=============
http://www.linux.codehelp.co.uk/

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