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Re: Please assume good faith

David Kalnischkies <kalnischkies@gmail.com> writes:
> On Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 11:31 PM, Nikolaus Rath <Nikolaus@rath.org> wrote:
>> Thorsten Glaser <tg@mirbsd.de> writes:
>>> Lars Wirzenius <liw <at> liw.fi> writes:
>>>> I write a backup program. It uses its own storage format, and people
>>>> sometimes ask if they could use tar files instead. But I am evil
>>>> incarnate and FORCE them to use my own storage format instead. Should
>>> […]
>>>> can be, and I think that the storage format I've developed is better
>>>> than storing backups in tar files. I truly, deeply feel that using my
>>>> format makes the program better, and that offering tar as a choice
>>>> would be pretty much disastrous, because almost all of the features I
>>> This *is* bad because if there is an existing userbase with tar (which
>>> isn’t true in the obnam case, sure, but would be true if you were to
>>> try forbidding all other backup programs in Debian) this will break
>>> their use cases, and *that* is what the systemd situation is all
>>> about.
>> I don't understand this point of view. Even if there is an existing
>> userbase, I don't think that would obligate me (as the author) in any
>> way to support them in the future. […]
> You are not forced of course, but if you have (or aim to have) a userbase
> consisting of more than just a few people you might want to consider to not
> alienate them because you are a nice fellow (or aim to be one).

Yes, that's certainly what I do in practice. But I do not understand how
you make the jump from this to:

> That isn't meant to be advocating to never change anything, but you better
> have really really really good reasons to do it OR you accept that people
> start to distrust you and avoid you like the plague even if you have
> invented the cure for the common cold this time.

Is that really how you'd feel toward me if I stopped working on a piece
of software? By being nice to you for a limited time I get your distrust
and avoidance afterwards? I don't think that's a healthy attitude for
open source, because it means that if you want to get along with people,
you better not release any of your code in the first place (at least
everyone will still be neutral to you then).

(Note that I do not see a difference between stopping to work on a
project or taking it in a new direction. The old version is still
available in both cases.)

> A considerable amount of my volunteer work here in Debian is spent on
> keeping APT working even in the strangest usecases. I e.g. had quiet a few
> sleepless nights while trying to find a way to massage MultiArch into it
> without breaking too much.

(and that work is certainly much appreciated)

> Others did similar things in other areas.  If anyone involved would
> have a "I don't care about users" attitude we would probably still use
> ia32libs.

Not sure about that. I'm a user of my software, and I very much care
about me. I would not be surprised if much of this and other work was
because the developers personally wanted to have something fixed, rather
than because they wanted to improve the life of some random people
they've never met. I'm not saying that the latter doesn't happen, but
it's certainly not the only reason for work being done on open source

> And based on that we don't have enough people to maintain one APT¹, I doubt
> you find enough for two, so a "just fork it" sounds nice in theory, but
> just because you have a million users doesn't mean you have a million
> developers willing to work on it…

No, but that's really a problem (or non-problem) of the millions of
users. If no one is interested in working on apt, isn't that a sign that
apt is really good enough for most of its millions of users?

At least this is the reason that I'm not working on apt. For me it works
perfectly, so I spend my time working on things that really bug me
rather than working on apt.


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