Re: [xml] Bug or User Error

Well...I'm hesitant to go on, because I've said my piece and I have no
wish to start, or participate in, a pointless bitch session.  Much
better to do some constructive work instead, as others have already

But, since you asked: I understand why you get annoyed.  I've been
there myself, in the course of my own projects.  Probably a lot of us
reading the list have.  I would guess the list includes a fair number
of clever and senior programmers, since the list topic is a clever and
useful library you have written.

I'm not suggesting you need to do anything programming-wise.  You've
done your share and much, much more.  I fully agree with the
proposition that if someone doesn't like something, the Right Thing to
do is not to bitch but to design a better replacement and submit a

Nor am I smart enough to tell you or anyone, excepting maybe my
kids, how to manage human relations, either in person or in the
context of an e-mail list.

All I can do is note that, in my own experience, both as programmer
and manager, human relations by e-mail are trickier than face to face,
and I have been tripped up by the fact that stuff written down is
harder to take back or clarify than stuff spoken.  So sometimes when I
find myself annoyed I find it helpful to take a few hours' pause for
contemplation before sending an unusually heated e-mail off.  Not
saying I change what I say.  Not saying you would, or should.  But a
little extra patience and good humor in how things get said never

And, I repeat, I fully appreciate the awesome work you've done, and
you deserve the utmost respect for your willingness to give as much as
you do to the community of open-source programmers, in this product
and through the mailing list.

Maybe you should set up one of those PayPal "tipjars" like the
bloggers do and collect donations!  Help retire the mortgage early or
something. . .

And now I'll shut up for good on this topic and get back to


On Fri, Jan 30, 2004 at 08:22:15AM -0500, Daniel Veillard wrote:
On Fri, Jan 30, 2004 at 12:28:50AM -0800, Christopher J. Grayce wrote:
With all due respect, Daniel, I kind of agree with some of this.  I've
been using libxml2 for quite a while, and I've done my best to study
the documentation, the tutorials, the mailing list archive, and I've
pored over the source code myself, walked through it with the debugger
step by step, et cetera, and I *still* get snagged by features or
"features" which, no doubt, are clear to you when you built them,
but which catch me by surprise.  

I'm not a fool, either.  I've been writing large production scientific
code for 18 years, all on Multics/Unix/Linux systems and generally with
open software and GNU tools.  

Unfortunately, the documentation for libxml2 is just not especially
well-organized and decidedly incomplete.  I'm not complaining about
that -- you've done great work on the library itself, it *is* an
open-source project, and anyone who doesn't like it is free to do a
better job.

But -- it's a little often the case that you yell at people for being
dumbheads and not reading the docs, etc. -- a little too often, IMHO.
You don't have to be an especial dumbhead to be puzzled or surprised
by libxml2, for reasons above.  It may be that the people who are writing
to the list are not quite as dumb or lazy as you may be assuming.  And 
in any event, we all ask dumbass newbie questions from time to time.  It's
not unreasonable to hope that, therefore, when it's our turn to be the
expert, we're a little patient with those just get starting.

I'm not trying to be a jerk or unappreciative of all you've done, and
I know very well what it's like to be frustrated in the way you are.
Just some feedback, is all, perhaps food for thought.

  So tell me. What should I do ? 
  - Quit my job, loose my earnings and try to fullfill all the request
    to the lists 24 hours a day ? 
  - Quit my job, loose my earnings and try to write a book about libxml2
    which anyway won't give me enough revenues to even feed me.
  - Just ignore requests ?
  - anything else constructive ?

If I get really annoyed, it is because I care about this. Otherwise I would
just ignore posts, right ?


Daniel Veillard      | Red Hat Network
veillard redhat com  | libxml GNOME XML XSLT toolkit | Rpmfind RPM search engine

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