Re: roadmap status update/update request

Well the secret to open source success is that the users and developers
are the same people.  Projects where developers aren't users tend to
wallow in decay and misery.  This is why, for example, there isn't much
in the way of open source children's software, or open source tax
preparation software.  These are areas where its hard for a grass-roots
type of project to emerge.

The way to get this sort of thing implemented if you're merely a user
and not a developer is to hire someone to do it for you.  IBM has done
this with, for example, linux support for IBM mainframes, which likely
wouldn't be anything like it is today without IBM paying for that
development.  Similarly, there are a number of things that exist in the
GNOME desktop today that likely would not if not for the support of
companies like Red Hat, Ximian, and now Novell.

I don't think that very many developers would get angry if someone took
the time to compile a web page on enhancement requests.  What would make
them angry is if anyone tried to claim that because something appears on
that page, they have an obligation to spend their time working on that.
Experience shows that bugzilla voting leads to exactly this sort of
expectation, and this is the reason why voting wasn't enabled.  The
voting ends up being at best a placebo like the buttons at many
intersections, and at worst a source of friction between some users and
the developers.  Also, it makes developers' lives easier if all the
issue tracking is kept in bugzilla, so any such page would ideally be
simply a front-end to bugzilla.

I think that perhaps creating a dynamic bounty page where people can
make a donation to the foundation and ask that a bounty be created for a
specific bug for some percentage of the donation would be cool.  (The
donation would have to include administrative costs, so perhaps say 75%
of the donation would go directly to the bounty, and the foundation
could buy bonds or an insurance policy on paying the bounties, so that
this could become a revenue source for the foundation).  People could
make additional donations to add to the bounty for a particular item.
This way users can vote with their cash.  I could even imagine some
people working full time on bounties based on bounty winnings, though
there is some concern about collaboration and cooperation if the money
becomes significant.  Also, the bounties would have to be pre-approved
by maintainers so we don't end up with bounties on features that won't
be accepted under any circumstances.  I wonder how high the bounty would
get on "add click to raise as an option"?


On Mon, 2005-03-07 at 10:21 -0800, Eugenia Loli-Queru wrote:
> Rob, I don't know if you are representing the Gnome Project with your reply, 
> but if you are (you are a Gnome developer anyway so I take it you have 
> reasons to write what  you wrote), here's my response to you, Havoc and the 
> Gnome Project:
> >A feature will be implemented if and only if there is a developer who wants 
> >to implement it, regardless of the number of votes it's received.
> Which is exactly why open source software will never replace commercial 
> software or Microsoft.
> Without market research to find out what "people want" you are codemning 
> your software to be "the software of its developers" instead of the 
> "software of the people". It is a short-sighted view on the evolution of the 
> project. With great success, great responsibilities arise too. Sucks, I 
> know. But that's the reality.
> Sure, no one wants to work for free for arrogant users that only know how to 
> demand things like little children ask for candy (I realize, I am one of 
> them), but the Project should have thought about this earlier, before 
> releasing software to the world for public consumption and doing marketing 
> pushes, and doing press releases and all that jazz. Keep it to yourself then 
> and close down Bugzilla too.
> You make Gnome sound ellitistic, and that's bad PR business to start with.
> I can already hear Havoc in my head telling me "that's not how Free Software 
> works", but you know what? Who cares how it works if its software is not as 
> usable or full-featured as Microsoft's or Apple's? Software is software, and 
> software is nothing but tools to get some work done. Open, closed, red, 
> green, whatever, it's all software made out of bits and bytes.
> The _only_ question for the 99% of the users is: how well the software does 
> its job? You obviously, don't wanna know about how well your software 
> performs in the minds of your users (point: after so many years, the No1 
> user request, a menu editor or something similar that actually really works, 
> is still not a reality). And if that's so, there's a major problem in the 
> Gnome Project IMHO, and the Foundation (or whoever else who can) should do 
> something about it. And fast.
> >The [user's] help can be in the form of homework and analysis
> Havoc, about users writing docs and analysis when they want a particular 
> feature: *I am* going to write such an analysis for each one of my 20 
> feature requests and then file them on bugzilla. Then, I will sit back and 
> watch how many of these bugzilla entries, if any, ever get a response from 
> its respective maintainer, let alone get realized in the next 1 year. My 
> experience so far with feature requests on Gnome is that they are getting 
> completely ignored and devs just do the few things they want to do for 
> themselves (except when there's a Sun/Novell/RH corporate decision to 
> develop something specific), and that's that.
> Also, why have the devs get "angry" (as you said) for showing them a web 
> page with the most wanted features? I TAKE  MAJOR OFFENSE as a user and a 
> Gnome advocate & supporter, you telling me that the developers of a 
> particular product don't even want to HEAR about what their users need. It 
> makes me feel that Microsoft and Apple are WAY more friendly and more open 
> to users' needs. Unlike most in this mailing list, "normal" people won't use 
> OSS software because of political reasons, they will only use it only if it 
> "does the job".
> IMHO, a voting-like effort should take place every year or every 6 months, 
> before the next release cycle. There, users will be able to vote for 3 
> options out of 50-60 feature requests, yes, each one complete with "analysis 
> and homework" links. The 6-7 most-voted ones and after the gnome devs have 
> decided that the XYZ features is indeed worthwhile and makes sense, should 
> be implemented for the next release.  I don't see any problem with this from 
> where I stand. Sure, someone will have to sit its bum down and write code, 
> but that's what developers do, right? That's why they joined the Gnome 
> Project in the first place, right?
> Lastly, I realize that Gnome is not a democracy. It is still governed by its 
> developers and I am perfectly ok with that. But that's not a reason to shut 
> off the users out of the procedure and only "use" them for bug reports. It 
> royally sucks to be a Gnome user these days.
> Eugenia
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