Hi Mitch and everybody!

On Tuesday 20 March 2007, Michael Natterer wrote:
> On Mon, 2007-03-19 at 23:35 -0300, Joao S. O. Bueno Calligaris wrote:
> > It is not really hard - and that is to you Mitch, you Sven, you Nomis,
> > to simply rememebr the person on the other sidee is sitll a human
> > being, is not it? Not less human for having less abilities to
> > compile/hack complicated software projects, much less for simply not
> > knowing how to do so.
> Come on, that is simply a rude accusation. Definitely more rude than
> giving a small "check for yourself" to a question that clearly shows
> that the person did not do the slightest bit of work by itself.
> I don't see the point in answering questions that are *trivial* for
> *everybody* to answer themselves, regardless of abilities or
> experience.
> Yet each time such questions come up, somebody steps forward and
> answers them. That is simply no help at all for the person who
> asked the question. A "you can find out yourself trivially"
> is infinitely more helpful than doing the people's work for
> them.

Actually I also think it was too rude. Let's analyze it:

On Wed, 2007-03-14 at 12:47 -0700, Federico Alcantara wrote:
> Hi
> I am interested in knowning if Gimp is written in
> C/C++, and which tools are needed to compile, debug,
> and test it?

What about downloading it and checking yourself?


1. You didn't say "hi".

2. You phrased it as a question that implied the original poster should have 
thought abuot it himself, instead of giving an answer.

If I were you I would have written the following:


Hi Federico!

The core GIMP code is mostly written in ANSI C. You can learn about its source 
code and how to compile it by checking out the source according to the 
instructions in the following URL, and then looking at the HACKING, INSTALL 
and README files:



        Shlomi Fish

It took me 10 minutes to write.

However, I believe Alpár's and Joao commentary was induced by the general 
trend of treating people on this list (and potential future contributors) 
rudely or impatiently. I've noticed this general trend here too after someone 
made me more aware of it.

I believe the GIMP could have been much better off today, if it weren't for 
all the antagonism that the developers' have created. I mean, sure after 
Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis left the project and most of the other 
original developers left to work on GNOME, very few developers were left. But 
since then the community of FOSS developers grew by leaps and bounds, and 
there shouldn't have been any problem finding much more potential developers 
than we have today. There are plenty of fish in the sea.

Let's look at Inkscape for a counter example. They have been around for a much 
shorter time than the GIMP, but have made remarkable progress, because the 
atomosphere they have is much better. If they could do it, why can't we? Only 
because we reject potential developers.

Another good example for a well-run project is Subversion. I've been 
personally involved in developing it, and it is run in an excellent manner. 
It already has 126 commiters (exlcuding some contributors without a commit 
bit), and is very sophisticated, solid and successful. It is probably the most 
popular open-source alternative to CVS, and is used by many projects 
including by GIMP and the rest of GNOME. Again none of this would have been 
possible without the core developers working hard on creating a good 

And Karl Fogel, a core Subversion developer have written a book about exactly 


(Freely available online) 

It would probably make a good read.

Also of interest is this interview I conducted with Ben Collins-Sussman 
(another Subversion developer) where we touched upon the topic:


Now, a few possible ways I can see to handle the situation:

1. Create a page with some FAQs and canned responses in both HTML and plain 
text formats. I volunteer to prepare and maintain this page. I also get sick 
of reading more "You should change the name of the GIMP, it is an insult in 
English", "When is CMYK/16-bit/whatever support coming?", etc. questions, but 
I believe we can at least answer them politely.

2. Have a system of self-moderation. Let the messages of developers with a 
tendency to be rude and untactful pass through a small forward 
of "friendliness experts" for approval and correction. IF the experts are 
unhappy, they'll tell the senders to edit them and re-send them.

Note that I'm not necessarily suggesting we force it down the developers' 
throat, although it may not be a bad idea either.

3. One good trend that I noticed is that Carol Spears has stopped posting 
messages on the mail lists. Hopefully this trend will continue into the 
future, because she's been doing a lot of damage previously.

4. Otherwise have the developers pay attention and try to be as hopsitable, 
friendly and tactful as possible. Reading the Producing OSS book would be a 
good start.


If we make GIMP better in this regard, we can have much more contributors, a 
better perception among the community, and this will lead to a faster 
development rate.

So let's do it and rock this joint!


        Shlomi Fish

Shlomi Fish      [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Homepage:        http://www.shlomifish.org/

Chuck Norris wrote a complete Perl 6 implementation in a day but then
destroyed all evidence with his bare hands, so no one will know his secrets.
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