On 05/05/2012 10:30 AM, Alexandre Prokoudine wrote:
On Sat, May 5, 2012 at 12:21 PM, Ken Warner wrote:

but many posts calling for civility have come from people who want to divide
the user base into two groups where one group is somehow more entitled to
use GIMP than the other because of the things they do with GIMP.

You know, it's quite frustrating that after all the explanations
people still seem to get this wrong. So let's try again.

We are not separating people into better of worse users, or the
deserving and non-deserving, or entitled and not entitled. This would
not be a constructive approach.

What we _are_ doing is _focusing_ on a group of users who are
underloved by free software. We are building workflows around their
needs. We are _targeting_ those users.

Maybe not everyone can see the difference, but it's right there. Hence
attributing any kind of discrimination to us would be utterly wrong. I
wish people really stopped doing that.

Alexandre Prokoudine
http://libregraphicsworld.org


Alexandre,

Please allow me a few words...

a) The users whose workflow has been made more difficult are _understandably_ upset. They were using a program in a certain way that worked well for them. However, either unknown to them (maybe they should have been paying more attention?) the focus of the developers changed/evolved over time in a way that is not helpful to those users AND/OR those users simply did not realize (months and years ago) that they were using a program that was going to move away from the way in which they were using it.

Part of what seems to be missing here is humility and respect on the part of the developers ... would it be too hard to simply say "We are sorry ... even though we are the ones doing the work and we have chosen to go in a particular direction, WE ARE SORRY!" Sometimes those simple words can go a very long way. It is like saying "I am sorry for your loss"... there is not a darn thing that I can do about the fact that Uncle Harold has died, but I _am_ sorry that it has happened and that your life will change as a result.

On the other side, however, the upset users have not, IMHO, shown adequate understanding or appreciation for what the developers have GIVEN to them over the years. Maybe it is a case of a good thing that must come to an end for certain users.

b) The users could have paid more attention to the conversations the developers were having ... I am an "ordinary" user and *I* knew this was coming because I monitor the developer list.

c) The developers UTTERLY FAILED to manage public relations on this. It was completely obvious to me (from monitoring the discussions on the developer list) that this subject was going to touch of an enormous storm of anger among some users.

If the developers don't like the angry reaction they have received, perhaps the developers should examine how they could have done a better job of communication ON THE USER LISTS to warn people of what was coming. I am not saying "ask", I am saying "warn".

In what I have observed over the years as rather typical attitude by open-source developers, the developers did not seem to think about (and certainly did not execute) good ADVANCE public relations on this subject. The attitude of "we did it, like it or leave it" is just not well received in this day and age.

At the same time, users must understand that the developers are (despite what the developers might think), only human. They are fallible. They screw up. They make bad decisions. However, the developers are the ones doing the work!!!! Anybody that does not like the direction that an open-source program is going can branch off and do their own work. I know that 99.99% of users, like me, do not have the skills to do that, but that is the price we users pay for using free software.

Users of open-software have an extremely high loyalty and commitment to the particular software they use. They feel that it is "theirs". That they "own" it. That is all well and good until the software goes in a direction that is different from where the user wants it to go -- when that happens, there is great anger because there is great emotional loss. Developers have a responsibility to at least understand this concept and to attempt to mitigate users' feelings of loss and to prepare them in advance for inevitable changes.

If developers don't feel that they have such a "responsibility" -- which would be a reasonable opinion on a developer's part -- the developer must accept the anger that will come. It is inevitable; thinking otherwise is unsound.

d) As I said, I monitored, and participated a bit, in the developer discussion about save/export when implementation was being discussed. I described my workflow and how the proposed change would negatively affect me and users like me.

At that time export may have been part of the goals for the program, but it seemed that all aspects were still open for discussion.

In that process, despite a few people (it was a developer list, after all) saying "what about ordinary users", I had the sense that very little respect was given for the impact that this change was going to have on ordinary users.

I did not feel that, in those discussions, there was any serious consideration of possible ways that the needs of BOTH sides could be satisfied.

In summary... I completely understand the reasons behind the export behavior and I agree that it is critically important to many users. However, with so many thousands of users who do not use the "export workflow" that is needed by so many other users, there _must_ be a way that the "old" save method can be "turned on" -- that users can switch from one workflow method to the other.

I completely respect that the developers have a particular "target" user base in mind for the program -- and that must guide development. Just as this is not a word processor, this is not a "simple" image editor. However, take a hard look at the existing user base, and ask if it would really be so difficult to in some way make the "old" save method (efficiently) available for those users. In my opinion, doing so would not dumb-down or lessen the wonderfulness of the program.

Jay
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