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Re: Future Direction of GNU Hurd?

From: Richard Braun
Subject: Re: Future Direction of GNU Hurd?
Date: Sun, 13 Sep 2020 23:57:38 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.10.1 (2018-07-13)

On Sun, Sep 13, 2020 at 11:08:57PM +0200, Paul Boddie wrote:
> > I'm not dismissing their experience, but you seem to consider them the rule
> > rather than the exception.
> We actually have no real idea how common it is, but it does have an 
> unfortunate habit of happening in quite a few projects, sometimes very 
> quietly, sometimes very publicly. Where it is happening publicly, I would say 
> that it has shown itself to be a significant challenge to the governance and 
> functioning of those projects.

I'm quite sure this doesn't happen in the Hurd, so that's irrlevant.

> > You're questioning *our* decency as project contributors/maintainers as if
> > *we* were responsible for the fact that other people would burn out from
> > *their* own issues.
> I'm not questioning your decency, although it almost seems like you want me 
> to 
> just for the mock outrage opportunity. Nothing happens entirely in isolation, 
> which means that people experiencing personal adversity may have done so in 
> part due to their efforts working on Free Software.

Yeah well, if someone is sad because their contribution gets rejected,
let them be sad and deal with it. That doesn't mean we're not decent.

I don't want you to do anything, you clearly questioned our decency
where you mentioned "expecting volunteers to show up and burn out on
doing what would really be paid work in other contexts" [1].

> As I noted, there is a pervasive "audition culture" around Free Software 
> which 
> merely tells people to work harder, produce patches that are "just right", 
> often with terse and discouraging responses, and so on. None of this is 
> likely 
> to improve the well-being of anyone sliding towards burn-out for whatever 
> reason. It would seem to me like an abdication of responsibility to then 
> claim 
> that the outcome was all that person's fault, but then what do I know?

That's not what we're doing. Irrelevant.

> In properly regulated workplaces, the employer wouldn't be so readily able to 
> just claim that "the guy just worked here: we had nothing to do with his 
> problems", so I don't really see participation in a Free Software project, 
> especially a demanding one, to be any different from an ethical perspective.

We're not abusing people. Irrelevant.

> > > Nobody seriously claims that a "mere website" will "save" anything.
> > > However, quite a few people would seriously claim that a "mere website"
> > > and the associated assets of a project would certainly improve a
> > > project's viability.
> > Obviously, I exaggerated the idea to turn in into a parody.
> Because that is obviously the most constructive way of discussing such 
> issues, 
> is it?

It properly conveys my idea. so while not the "most constructive", it's
good enough. That's just a dubious attack on mere form.

> > Again, I'm not against completely reworking the website and adding assets.
> > As usual, I want the right stuff. So not a "modern" looking website with
> > content that changes as you scroll down just because it seems like a "cool"
> > idea. That's not going to work.
> So, I guess people wasted their time explaining that they weren't just 
> looking 
> for a "modern"/"cool" Web site.

I wasn't reacting to those people. See [2]. Irrelevant.

> I am sure that people can get a good enough impression from just reading 
> through that thread and seeing how constructive each of the participants were 
> in their replies. You know, I have actually been in the position of the 
> person 
> who started that thread, albeit in a different project that you will have 
> heard of, and my experience in that situation was that some people were 
> constructive and others less so to the point of being dismissive and entitled.

Here, I care about the impression they would get from *your* first
message. Irrelevant.

> Normally, when someone offers to contribute their time and effort in an area 
> that is poorly served in a project, one might expect the response to be 
> gratitude, especially if the person concerned offers to be sensitive and to 
> work with others and especially when it effectively costs the project 
> nothing. 
> But when the response starts off being dismissive, which in my experience 
> amounted to "I don't see the point" (when various others did), and ends up 
> being entitled, which in my experience amounted to "I never liked the way we 
> did that: maybe show me something I will like" then one knows that one has 
> the 
> measure of the project in terms of how worthwhile it is to continue engaging 
> with it.

You seem to operate from the principle that contributors "offer" their
work, as if they weren't doing it for themselves in the first place.
You want your name in a project you like, you want social recognition,
then do good work. I'm not taking contributions merely on the vague
idea that it's a free gift. Also, you claim that it "costs the project
nothing", but reviewing contributions is actually quite time consuming
and time is really by far the most important resource we can put into
the project.

I fail to understand how "I never liked the way we did that: maybe show
me something I will like" is entitled. Maintainers are entitled to review
contributions by definition.

> > > Sorry again, but I didn't assert or even imply anything about people being
> > > "too dumb" or "drama queens", although one can certainly find drama in the
> > > mailing list archives. My only suspicion was that people decided that
> > > various L4 kernels weren't suitable and then may not have reviewed their
> > > assumptions when newer kernels emerged. Instead they went off and started
> > > new microkernel projects, which the other Richard feared would be a bad
> > > idea. Well, I guess he was right about something else.
> > 
> > That's the impression me and others got when reading your message.
> And others? They can speak for themselves.

Not really, I was referring to people around me I asked to double
check my interpretation.

> > As I wrote earlier, "dead" to me means that it stagnates. In the case of
> > Hurd on L4, there is simply no activity at all. Projects are not people,
> > they don't necessarily stay dead. I assumed that was obvious.
> "Dead" typically has the connotation of finality. By using the term and by 
> stating that any such activity lies in the past - I surely do not need to 
> quote you here - you communicated an intolerance for any further 
> consideration 
> or discussion of such an endeavour. And projects are not people, obviously, 
> but they are also more than just code.

I really fail to understand how someone who knows a bit about open source
could really understand "dead" as final for an open source software
project. That's another dubious attack on mere form. Anyone who wants to
revive (at least fork) an open source project can do so and that's well known.

> > Obviously, if someone else can do that with an L4 kernel, or anything
> > else, I'd be delighted, and that's why I'm still following this list.
> So why did you seek to close down discussion? Do not claim that you only 
> meant 
> to reference a singular Hurd-on-L4 implementation by such a remark. As far as 
> I know, this list has always been about the entire spectrum of approaches to 
> use L4-family microkernels as the basis of a Hurd-like system, even if some 
> people may have liked the idea of an "easy" port from one technology to the 
> other.

I didn't mean to close down discussion, that's another instance of you

> > So yes, the only thing left for me to do is point the finger at the guy
> > who spreads soft FUD to newcomers.
> I only described the situation as I saw it, leading you to identify yourself 
> as a participant in that situation. Feel free to shoot the messenger: it just 
> makes the silence afterwards more awkward.

You wrote in your initial message [3] that : "One gets the impression that
unless someone is either a top-level operating system architect and/or
willing to burn themselves out fixing up huge amounts of existing code
or writing new code in precisely the way envisaged by others who
nevertheless aren't going to be writing any themselves, then new
contributions are not really welcome".

My point is : "That's just wrong. Please be aware that because of its
nature, the project can easily involve difficult stuff and/or a lot of
work (think SMP). Ask yourself if you're up for the journey, and if you
are, do your best. If your contributions are good enough, they are
definitely welcome".

That's the whole point of all my replies. That's what I blame you for.
*You* are the one misleading people to not contribute. Stop that.

As this whole thing got beyond annoying to absurdly childish, this will
be my last message.

Richard Braun

[1] https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/l4-hurd/2020-09/msg00006.html
[2] https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-hurd/2020-08/msg00119.html
[3] https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/l4-hurd/2020-09/msg00001.html

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