while i am not interested in excluding GIMP from collections of software
that people call *OSS, there is certainly a lot of confusion involving
*OSS advocates when it comes to the expectations of them about what gimp
developers and volunteers will do.

here is one point.  people coming here from OSS and not gpl seem to
think that the more users there are the better that is.  this might be
the case for other projects, but not for gimp.  no one that i know of
who is working on gimp seems to have the time or desire to count
downloads.  the unfortunate fact is that even if they did, even i could
write a little script that would download a package and delete it again.
there is a very good chance that a project that was interested in actual
numbers could easily prevent my downloads from being counted, but would
their bosses (or whoever they are showing the numbers to) know this?

software that is labeled as *OSS only (and not some of the other free
type labels that are currently available) began life being mimics of
software created for profit by corporations that need profit and that
are full of and being run by bosses who might demand numbers (of
downloads for instance) without understanding how easy that is to hack.

if you do not really care about how many people are using your software
and care instead about what the software does and how it works and how
easy it is to maintain, 5000 people in need is not what you want.  1 or
2 people who can write a tutorial or help with a documentation
translation or something productive is what you want.

take for example my web site.  i can tell you that the last time the
stats were looked at (by my knowlege) it had received +40,000 web hits
between a Sunday and Thursday and that looks really really impressive.
if i start to break down these hits by where they came from, it makes
this number look less and less impressive.  i will be honest when i say
that perhaps considering 5000 of these hits is a little optimistic.

the bigger truth of my web site is that i write it thinking that a few
of the gimp developers might read it (and even then, those people seem
to rarely read it!) and thinking about how much i love the application i
am writing about.  even 100 hits (that are not me checking my work) is
unexpected by me and somewhat a pain because i am not able to easily
move the site and run it from my own computer the same way i started.

so, i guess i was writing the pages so that people would read them.  now
that people are reading them, the message should be that there is not
such strength in numbers as everyone seems to suspect and try to
manipulate with.

on forums:
to use this term generically as was suggested in a different thread
avoids the differences between a web site like www.gimptalk.com and an
old fashioned mail list like this one.  this mail list, and it is a mail
list and not a forum has some instructions which have been provided for
on the gimp web site:
when that page was designed, the people working then were trying to be
nice so you might have to scroll down to read the ettiquette that was
thoughtfully authored there.

i suspect that some web forums (and there are a lot of web interfaces
calling themselves that online right now and they work differently than
things called mail lists do) have made it possible to post to this mail
list via their web interface -- or the other way around, where posts to
this mail list appear as if it is part of the discussion on their web

if my suspicions are accurate, this is both a nice thing as it reduces
wear and tear on the mail server and a bad thing as it means that some
of the users will never understand that it is a mail list and not
understand the ettiquette involved.  it makes the ignorant to be stupid.
ignorance is not the problem, stupid thoughtless interfaces are.  and
the user is not the problem either.  who ever runs their web interface
this way is.

sorry this is so long to read.  diplomatic answers seem to need more
words than simply honest answers.  if all *OSS advocates could simply
understand that the number of users is basically meaningless to people
who are working on a project like GIMP, it would help.  can one or two
of all of those numbers of GIMPShop users please help that poor guy with
his bandwidth problems?  if not, those numbers are a negative to a
project whose sole purpose to to allow people to edit images with their
own computers.

and when the numbers are not meaningless, they tend to be a hinderance.

please advocate not being a hinderance.


one of the strengths that photoshop has over gimp is that, to the best
of my knowledge, they don't get judged by how they say no to their
users.  GIMP could start that way to emulate Photoshop, perhaps,
experimentally, of course.

start a new line of development mimicing software -- should we call it
OSNUI Open Source No User Input.  

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