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.
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
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
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.
gimp-user-list mailing list