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drive-by enlightenings

From: William Leslie
Subject: drive-by enlightenings
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2009 05:07:10 +1000

This list is addictive in a bad way; and I should probably stay clear
of it. It seems to mostly be assertions about what the project should
be by people who have no interest in contributing, and even less
interest in reading the archives or even the wiki, which clearly
outlines the issues in the various kernels that the developers had to
deal with along the way.

As artists and engineers, there are bound to be things we don't like
about any significantly complex piece of machinery; but critical
analysis only really makes sense (to me) if it is believed that the
alternative will lead to widespread adoption, and that developments
resulting from the analysis will be supported in some noticeable way
by the publisher. The first is particularly interesting, because most
criticism seems due from people who have no experience or interest in
developing systems software; the second seems obvious from the fact
that most criticism seems to end with notes that the publisher has no
interest in contributing in the near future.

Sure, there are things I don't like about the current design. I well
know that if I was an active contributor, suggestions I could make
about the fundamentals of the design might hold more weight. If it
didn't gain enough support, I could fork, and once I'd shown promise
that I was committed to the future of my fork, it might attract more
developers. But if these ideas have been discussed on the list before,
and I haven't the obvious emotional commitment to seeing the concept
through to fruition, and I haven't put the machinery in place to show
that I'm serious about the idea, I think I might leave such
suggestions well enough alone.

It is probably the case that the lead engineers, with decades of
experience developing the software that you probably haven't even read
the wiki for, are a lot smarter than you, know what the current issues
are, and better understand how to get there. Making statements for
which the rebuttal is in the wiki will not make you seem particularly
insightful. Attempted drive-by enlightenings benefit nobody.

Dumber by the minute,

William Leslie

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