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Re: Perl Commercial Entities?

by deprecated (Priest)
on Mar 19, 2001 at 23:23 UTC ( #65511=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Perl Commercial Entities?

Monks, I have yet to lose my temper on this site. But this post is perhaps one of the most infuriating things I have ever read on this site.

This kind of thinking is what destroys the quality of software. Software developers like me hesitate to write and distribute software because of users like you. Users, for some reason or other, feel that they are entitled to some kind of support.

Well, for commercial software, thats true, but only under the terms of the software you (dont) read when you buy it. Microsoft, Apple, and IBM (the three big vendors my clients use) all sell not only the hardware and (closed source) software, but they sell support contracts for it.

ugh! This really makes me angry! Your inferrance is that because somebody has written modules that have become core modules in perl that it is their responsibility to maintain them? What then, is my motivation for distributing any software? The responsibility you are ascribing Graham means that there will always be some user sucking at the teat of free time and support. Let me show you some examples of why this reasoning sucks.

When I needed a device driver for a PCMCIA Ethernet Card and CDROM for my laptop, I WROTE ONE. When I needed a package manager for OpenBSD so that my girlfriend could manage software on her laptop, i WROTE ONE. I wrote these pieces of software so that my life would be easier, not to increase global harmony, not to make your perl more functional, not to make anyone but myself and my girlfriend happy. I distribute software I write because I know other people can use it. I dont charge anyone for it because that is against my morals and ethics. I'm willing to support users (read: you) when I have the time and when I am so inclined. If my software becomes a core piece of somebody's software distribution (as my package manager may become for OpenBSD), it is still not my responsibility to support or update it. It is my option!

That having been said, let me move on to an additional subject which is deeply relevant here. The above examples (the drivers and package managers) could only have been written with extensive documentation and opensource. To make a product proprietary and closed source prevents development. Prevents updating. To make perl 'shareware' or 'limited support' is to kill not only its community, but its future development. To completely cripple any chance it has to evolve and progress as a language. Think how many people use EMACS. Emacs is on something like version 21 right now. How far do you think it would get if emacs went 'shareware' or 'limited support' tomorrow? I'll tell you exactly what would happen. A clone would appear in two weeks called "freemacs". Users would support it as rabidly as they had been supporting emacs, and it would get many new features from eager users. See the progress of awk through berkeley and gnu systems. If you watch the evolution of software, you often see that when something becomes opensource, it rapidly gains features (and sadly bugs too) and changes rapidly immediately, and then it settles down and becomes more consistent. Then all these new user-contributed changes become part of the core standard by which that utility is judged. gmake and gnu-ld are other examples of this.

Your thinking is backward. Its also harmful to perl. Its harmful to software development on a whole. And I really dont like it!

Software development has finally come to the hands of the people. No more big brother forcing us to use their tools and their software and their languages. Please dont try to get rid of the magic. Learn to code. Learn to understand code. And if you have problems that you can fix -- fix them and help others. But dont tell me I am required to be generous. I am generous because of who i am. Maybe that should be another programmer virtue, generosity.

I'll finish ranting, I think ive said my piece.

brother dep.

laziness, hubris, impatience, and generosity

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Re: Perl Commercial Entities?
by sierrathedog04 (Hermit) on Mar 21, 2001 at 03:23 UTC
    I am entitled to some support at least up to the point at which you tell me that you will not provide it. At that point I am not entitled to any support whatever, and it would be rude for me to ask again.

    Most CPAN modules are maintained by developers who do provide support. It is reasonable to expect —unless a developer says up front that he will not be providing any support— that he will be providing it.

    Not answering legitimate e-mail is not really polite. If a developer is not going to support his product then he ought not to give the impression that he will support it by providing his email address.

      No, you are not entitled to any support, whether or not the email address is present.

      The purpose of that email address is to document who wrote the software. But they have no obligation to provide support, answer questions, or supply fixes for problems. They also have no obligation to accept patches, treat you politely, etc.

      In point of fact you are likely to get all this and more. But I assure you that if you tell the authors of the software that their generousity has obliged them to do anything in the future, they will generally not be very happy about it. This is something that they choose to do. If you treat them rudely you will find that they are liable to choose to be rather rude back.

      By contrast companies truly are obliged to give support. And you will note that they generally do not give one drop more support than they feel they have to. IMHO that reflects human nature. People don't like being obliged to do things, and so do things they are obliged to do only grudgingly. People like doing things they voluntarily do, and are liable to go an extra mile...

Re: Re: Perl Commercial Entities?
by princepawn (Parson) on Mar 20, 2001 at 00:24 UTC
    Your thinking is backward. Its also harmful to perl. Its harmful to software development on a whole. And I really dont like it!

    You will have problems articulating what my thinking is on this subject, for I have not taken a position on the matter. I am only presenting a current dilemma and listing the prospective viewpoints.

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