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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Developer-centric and proud of it

Ok, as ev­ery­one and its goat in the free soft­ware/open source/pet-­keep­ing com­mu­ni­ties al­ready has read, Eu­ge­nia [1] has been up to her old an­tic­s.

The lat­est shape of her dis­con­tent is, de­vel­op­ers of GNOME (and late­ly of KDE, too [2]) are de­vel­op­er-­cen­tric in­stead of user-­cen­tric.

Ba­si­cal­ly, the gist is that de­vel­op­ers have a re­spon­s­abil­i­ty to keep in mind their users de­sires, and fol­low their wish­es when de­cid­ing what way their projects should go. That these "peo­ple" are de­vel­op­ing said soft­ware in their free time and giv­ing it away is unim­por­tan­t, she says, the user's voice shall be heard. [3]

Well, I am not a de­vel­op­er nowa­days, at least not of shared soft­ware [4] but I still re­call when I was one. And I am cranky. And I have lit­tle care about what peo­ple think about me. So...

Let me ex­press my feel­ings when I read her ed­i­to­ri­al (and an­oth­er one called the rid­dle of the sphinx, I think [5] ).

Ptu­i!

I have read, in the ed­i­to­ri­als and (spe­cial­ly) the clue­less talk­back­s, the fol­low­ing:

  • If you are go­ing to do a half-assed job, don't put it on the in­­ter­net

Well, dude, pre­tend it's not there. That works for me when I con­sid­er ja­pa­nese ten­ta­cle porn, it can work for you and a mail clien­t. If you pre­tend it's not there, it won't both­er you. Then those who tol­er­ate half-assed jobs can live a life of jol­ly ful­fill­men­t.

  • The us­er has in­­vest­ed ef­­fort on learn­ing and us­ing the pro­­gram, so the de­vel­op­er owes him some­thing.

I sup­pose the so­lu­tion for that is not al­low­ing peo­ple to use the soft­ware un­less they ac­cept that it is pro­vid­ed as-is... oh, wait­... that's al­ready true. Nev­er mind.

  • That since GNOME (or KDE) claim to pro­­vide use­­ful and user-friend­­ly soft­­ware, by fail­ing to fol­low the user's lead we are en­­gag­ing in some sort of false ad­ver­tis­ing.

Co­ca Co­la promised me "Ev­ery­thing is bet­ter with Co­ca Co­la". Then I tried pour­ing a can in­to my com­put­er, hop­ing it would make it faster, or some­how bet­ter in some way. I have to tell you, those bas­tards won't know what hit'em!

  • Post­ing bug de­scrip­­tions in bugzil­la is too much work.

Well, try fix­ing one some­day, mis­sy! That's WAY hard­er. You are say­ing that us­ing a lit­tle en­er­gy is too much work, to peo­ple who spend hun­dred times more as a con­se­quence.

It's like com­plain­ing that plant­ing seeds is too much work, when you lat­er get a har­vest. Well, if you think, so, drop agri­cul­ture.

  • That the de­vel­op­­ment is some­how skewed to­wards de­vel­op­er­s, not user­s.

Well, to that I have many an­swer­s. Let me share a few.

  1. So? You say that as if it's a bad thing.

  2. Well, that's good for the de­vel­op­er­s.

  3. What mag­ic po­­tion did I have to drink to be­­come a de­vel­op­er? De­vel­op­ers are just users who are way too in­­­volved in the pro­jec­t.

  4. As a lawyer once said, since phoeni­­cians in­­ven­t­ed mon­ey, the ques­­tion "what can I do for you?" has a sin­­gle an­swer. Well, think about it.

  5. No, it is­n't.

Fi­nal­ly, let me tell you the de­press­ing part. In a com­men­t, Eu­ge­nia said she dropped GNOME for Win­dow­Mak­er. Let me show you what she said:

RE: So Eu­ge­nia re­fus­es to use GNOME? By Eu­ge­nia (IP: ---.os­news.­com) - Post­ed on 2005-03-10 20:32:31

I moved back to Win­dow­Mak­er, yes. At least I don't ex­pect any­thing more from it, be­cause it is not a prom­i­nent en­vi­ron­ment and I know it's a much small­er project with few­er re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Talk about throw­ing the ba­by away with the bath wa­ter. She is sim­ply say­ing that she choses to use worse soft­ware (ac­cord­ing to her need­s), be­cause... well, I have no idea why.

Be­cause she has low-e­nough ex­pec­ta­tions about Win­dow­Mak­er that she won't be dis­ap­point­ed? That road leads to dat­ing ex-­con­vict­s, you know.

In the end, well, I have no idea what peo­ple think. I sim­ply don't un­der­stand the world. I mean, I in­tense­ly dis­like GNOME, and even a few peo­ple in­volved in it, but it's just code. And code that is worth mil­lions of dol­lars. And it's there, dudes! It's like find­ing a stack of bul­lion in your doorstep, and not on­ly that, but on ev­ery doorstep [6].

Why don't peo­ple sim­ply look up and thank the in­vis­i­ble dwarves who must have toiled in dark­ness for years in or­der to rip it off the earth? [7]

No, what we get in­stead is a bunch of jew­el­ers ask­ing for fin­er crafts­man­ship in the good­s, or else they are just gonna buy some bul­lion from some­one else.

You know what? De­vel­op­er-­cen­tric is good. In an ab­so­lute, ob­jec­tive, mea­sur­able way. Be­cause it's de­vel­op­er-­cen­tric you get de­vel­op­er­s. de­vel­op­ers make code. Code brings user­s.

If all you at­tract are users be­cause be­ing a de­vel­op­er is a pain the but­t, you have no de­vel­op­er­s, thus no code, thus no user­s.

What do you think is bet­ter for users in the long ter­m?

So, say it loud, I'm de­vel­op­er-­cen­tric and I'm proud. At least this old hack is.

[1] of OS­NEWS.­COM fame. You de­cide if that's a good or bad thing.

[2] A new post in her site. I sup­pose she has to feed the hit-­mon­ster.

[3] That be­ing pub­lished in a big site that lacks thread­ed replies in 2005, and a wom­an who, when she gets a com­plain about it, said she was do­ing it in her spare time, so stop both­er­ing her. No, I don't get it ei­ther.

[4] Is­n't that much nicer-­sound­ing than open source and much less an­noy­ing and pompous than free soft­ware?

[5] Which is, I think, #4 in the list of "ten ti­tles you should nev­er use in an opin­ion piece". #1 is What I did last sum­mer, but I di­gress...

[6] And by some eco­nom­ic mir­a­cle, it has­n't caused yet a glob­al de­pres­sion in the val­ue of bul­lion.

[7] Well, at least we work in com­fort­able chairs.

Me / 2006-04-03 15:30:

Eugenia is about as worthless as they come. Unfortunatly she has free reign over a site that gets linked to from some of the biggest in the industry. She needs to be levelset in that she is not a god and her crap does stink too.



Unfortunately the guy that owns OSnews doesn't have the guts to rid the site of her, he must not see the brighter side of it.

Former OSNews fan / 2006-04-03 15:31:

put 127.0.0.1 servedby.netshelter.net in your hosts file, and go post how you really feel. Hit them in their revenue generator. (Originally posted on osnews by an anonymous coward before it was deleted by a not so anonymous coward)

AC / 2006-04-03 15:32:

Great article! I had a good laugh. Thanks.

dave o / 2006-04-03 15:32:

I don't think this has anything to do with things being 'user'-centric or 'developer'-centric, I think eugenia's just pissed off because the development isn't eugenia-centric.

Eike Hein / 2006-04-03 15:33:

Eugenia's line of reasoning fails early one, when she complains about getting back this response from Gnome devs:

"A feature will be implemented if and only if there is a developer who wants to implement it"



What she apparently takes away from this is "it's only going to get implemented if a developer sees a personal use for it". Which of course isn't the case at all.



What developers do is decide whether or not the addition of a feature makes sense in the bigger picture of the application. That's a judgement call every software developer is called upon to make, OSS or not. She apparently doesn't get software development.

David Boddie / 2006-04-03 15:34:

Eugenia writes:



"To me, software is a tool, nothing more. I am as practical as it goes when it comes to computers. I don't idolize them and I don't have a political ideology about software or hardware (and in fact, I personally take pity to anyone who does -- there's more important things in this world than to be political over bits and bytes)."





When people adopt that sort of attitude, we end up with a political "elite" who think that they can get away with anything because they believe that not enough of the electorate really care about or value their freedom:



http://swpat.ffii.org/

Leo Spalteholz / 2006-04-03 15:34:

Let's not get too worked up about it. Even in the OSNews comments, most people realize how absolutely ridiculous this whole commotion is, and how off-base Eugenia is on the subject.



It's just a few people that had a bad experience with OSS going way overboard.


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