On 8/26/05, Sven Neumann <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> Hi,
> 
> Nathan Summers <[EMAIL PROTECTED] > writes:
> 
> >> 2.3 is a development version with no API guarantees whatsoever. The
> >> API is constantly changing and noone should be developing any
> >> plug-ins for it.
> >
> > If you have such a closed Gimp Club attitude, why make developer
> > releases at all?  After all, all the members of the Gimp Club have
> > cvs accounts.  One of the most important reasons that we have
> > preview releases is so that when 2.4 is released, third-party
> > plugins are already available for it.  It's abundantly obvious that
> > 2.3 is a developer edition, with all that entails, and both users
> > and plugin developers are aware of the fact that things can break,
> > but that doesn't mean that it's counterproductive to track
> > development and to test the new features.  Would you prefer that
> > serious problems in newly added plug-in apis not be discovered until
> > after they are frozen?
> 
> The only reason I don't want to see a 2.3 version in a plug-in
> registry is that doesn't seem to make much sense. After all any new
> API could change with the next new minor 2.3 release. The version
> listed in the registry would also have to include the micro version
> number then.

All plugins will eventually go obsolete, true, regardless of what
versions they compile against.  Including the point release is easy
enough.  Chances are also pretty good that a plugin that compiles
against 7.5.15 will compile against 7.5.17 even if they are both
development versions.  Caveat compilor, but I would be willing to give
it a go, especially if it were a plugin I had a distinct need for.

> I am deliberately ignoring the hostile attitude of your mail. We both
> know very well that we don't like each other.  There's no point in
> continuing this in public. Feel free to flame me in private mail.

I'm sorry if you don't like me, but I like you just fine.  Would you
honestly want me to not speak up when you say something that's not in
GIMP's best interests?  If I wanted to be hostile, I would have been
much, much more hostile.  I would have been more subtle, but subtly is
often lost on you.

So no, I will say what I think is best for the GIMP project, and I
will do so publicly.  If you think I disagree with everything you do,
you're wrong.  You have good judgement on technical matters, and I
respect pretty much all the decisions you've made in that area.  (The
few I haven't are well-documented.)  You can't possibly want me to "me
too" every good decision you make like some AOLer. :)

But realize that you are not perfect, and when I do speak up, it's
because I want GIMP to be the best it can be.  I'm not perfect either,
and I'm not always right, but I truly believe that by putting our
heads together, we can all come to a mutually-agreed conclusion on
what is best.  GIMP used to be run by that principle, and it's my
personal belief that that system can work better than any personal
dictatorship ever could.

Right now one of the most serious problems that GIMP has is a lack of
active developers.  I will be blunt (frank, not hostile, and only
because such frankness is necessary.)  The reason for this is that
GIMP development has become dysfunctional, and the original mail I
responded to was symptomatic of this dysfunction.

Like any good dysfunction, there are several interrelated parts.  One
part is that a small but vocal minority of the community are quite
hostilely impatient with practically any newcomer who tries to learn
the ropes, and as a result, almost all of them get driven away.  There
were serious problems with the first patch I ever submitted to a
software project.  If I had gotten the treatment that most newcomers
who haven't been magically endowed with the all the right skills now
get here, I'd probably be working for Microsoft and spending my free
time blogging about how the open source zealots don't understand the
real world.  Instead, I got a patient reply explaining how exactly how
to submit my changes in the most suitable form, and I got very
prominent mention in the release notes of the next version. 
Unsurprisingly, I continued to contribute to that and later to other
projects.

The unwillingness to mentor potential new developers, combined with
the fact that practically everyone who was willing to speak up if they
didn't like a particular decision have left in disgust at your
tendency to turn any disagreement into a personal matter, as you just
tried to here, has resulted in a very unhealthy environment.  For
example, I used to spend all of my free time hacking gimp, but that is
no longer the case, and the only reason for this is that it's not
worth it for me to fight for every single nontrivial change or
addition that I make, especially since no one is left who will back me
if I don't get time to complete it.

I am far from the only contributor that feels this way.  I might knock
off a low-hanging feature or bug if I'm bored or it scratches a
personal itch, but in general there is better bang for my hacking buck
elsewhere.  If that is true for me, someone who has been hacking gimp
since before it had cvs, what chance is there of it not being true for
newcomers?  There is plenty of competition for developers in the
interesting open-source project sector.

I still care passionately about GIMP, and I still feel that I've
contributed enough in terms of time and lines of code that my opinions
about it should mean something.  I want GIMP to improve, and that rate
of improvement to increase.  I want more people to join the Gimp Club.
 If the dysfunction can't be ended then all our recruiting efforts
will be almost entirely in vain, and you can bet that assuredly as
lead falls when dropped near your toes that I will speak about it, and
in public if I feel that doing so best suits the interests of the GIMP
project.

Your friend in GIMP,

Rockwalrus
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