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Re: [Qemu-devel] Qemu development schedule?

From: John R. Hogerhuis
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] Qemu development schedule?
Date: Wed, 01 Sep 2004 10:03:40 -0700

On Tue, 2004-08-31 at 10:40, Jeebs wrote:

> No, I'm saying it because I am concerned that how Qemu has been developed in
> the past will soon turn out to be a liability and impeed future progress.

I'll believe it when I see it. For now, progress is fantastic. You not
being a developer means you don't know what you're talking about. So how
can you provide constructive criticism about development methodology? Do
you claim to know under what conditions Fabrice and those who provide
patches here, are effective, efficient developers?

> >> At some point, successful open source projects have to transition from
> >> the
> >> 'free for all' attitude and organization to one with some actual
> >> specified
> >> goals and some organization.
> >
> > Why?
> Because most non-'toy' projects fail if they don't adapt.

Can you say passive aggressive? Your attitude implicit in the way you
say things is very negative. You will catch more flies with honey than
vinegar. Implying QEMU is a toy project is what you just did, that's
just going to piss off the folks that know you're wrong, and they will
stop listening to you, as I am about to do.

> Non-developers have different expectations.  Even if they don't expect 100% 
> perfect results and bug-free code, they still have different expectations, 
> and a 'developer' attitude rarely addresses those kinds of expectations.

And non-programmers apparently have different expectations than
programmers, like, if someone places software for freely available for
download they are inviting me to come and whine about how they organize
the development they do in their free time...

How would you like your boss to show up at your house on the weekend and
give you advice on how to deal with your personal issues, or organize
your chores more effectively and efficiently around your house?

FOSS developers do things in their free time. They don't mind if you ask
politely for features or file/post bug reports. You are treading
dangerous ground though when as a non-contributor you start making
complaints about development style.

> Since I'm not a developer, how do I determine what to put onto the list of
> things that need to be done?  A wee bit of a problem there.

As a non-developer you may qualified to write howtos, documentation,
make bug-reports, and collect traces showing how to fix those bugs. What
you are not qualified to do is determine the best way a FOSS project
should be organized or what is the most effective/efficient way to get
useful features into a product. But that seems to be all that I'm
hearing from you.

But what it sounds even more like, is that you know enough about
software to get by. If you knew C once, you could pick it up again. But
it seems you would rather wallow in your helplessness, since then you
don't actually have to do anything about the problems you whine about.

> But as I said, I'm out of practice.
> Just last week I was trying to tell somebody about a library function, and I
> had to actually go dig out my ref books just to see what header it's in and
> what the params are.

Most programming these days is API treasure hunt. Do you seriously think
anybody but an idiot savant really has all argument lists and parameters
in his head? Learn to use grep.

> After several years of no programming at all, I honest and truely seriously 
> doubt you'd be happy with the quality of code that I'd be writing today.

Probably not (that's why you need to give more respect to the type of
work that Fabrice is interested in doing, which is hard stuff the
average code monkey cannot do in a reasonable period of time), but does
that mean you can't design an API, build a front end, etc. Sometimes
just providing a working "seed" can spur another developer to extend it,
clean it up, or provide their own implementation. 

> > Again, why? If things get unusable for a developer, she will fix it. If
> > things get unusable for a non-developer, he will try to find somebody who
> > can and wants to fix it (often you can help the 2nd part).
> Alright....
> So these users complain.  Which has been starting to happen.

Not really. I haven't noticed much in the way of complaints aside from
yours. Most of the things I've read from non-programmers is "I can get
such and such to work, I've tried 6 ways, I read the FAQ, can't get it
to work, what do I do?" This is 100% legitimate. How to ask questions is
covered thoroughly by ESR, I suggest you learn to do it and ask one. If
you want to file bug reports against a front end, you're in luck as
there are front end projects out there (I believe there were 2 at last
count... but have you even tried contacting the folks at the project you
do know about?)

> What are the chances those bugs will get fixed?  Especially if nobody is
> bothering to even write them down?
> Pretty much zero.

Folks are generating patches, they post them to the list, and Fabrice
applies them as he sees fit. That's how it works. Do you have any reason
to believe he's dropping legitimate patches that should be applied?

> >
> > Why should the project have that goal? I am not Jesus nor RMS.
> If it doesn't, then okay.  If the actual, official goal of the project is to
> do it only as a developer project and not a user project, then okay.

Huh? I can use it. I don't have to tweak any code to use it. Therefore
it is usable. Does that make it a "user project", I don't know, since
I've never heard that term before...

What is a "developer project?" did you make that up? Do you know any
software projects that don't start out with sharp edges outside of
medical and aerospace? QEMU is remarkably usable for a young project of
its complexity. How much did you pay for VmWare? Look at how much you
paid for QEMU, and consider that QEMU is probably at or exceeding vmware
functionality in many ways, and is rapidly improving in the important

Since Fabrice said he would commit a decent GUI implementation to source
control, you can either pray that someone does it, learn to do it
yourself, pay someone to do it (i.e. start a company like Codeweavers
and build a polished front end and focus on showstopper bugs and
usability issues), etc. What won't work is whining to the list.

> But that needs to be stated, otherwise a whole lotta people are wasting
> their time watching this project.

Or else what, the Free Software Regulatory Agency is going to fine the
project? If you're asking for permission to go find something else to do
while QEMU "evolves" past a "toy " "developer project" (all your words)
then I give you permission. Go find something else to do. Whining about
things you clearly don't grok is unproductive. In the meantime you
apparently have a copy of VmWare to use.

If one non programmer on this list is making good use of QEMU, than you
are dead wrong on this about people "wasting their time." QEMU has
gotten steadily more useful in the important ways, even if not your pet
feature (GUI front end)

> >> At the very least, you need a list of things that eventually need to be
> >> done.
> >
> > No. You don't. Nobody has a (complete) list of things that need to be done
> > for the Linux kernel.
> Not a 100% list, probably not, no.  But they do (and did) have a rough list
> of problems and things to do and test.

No you are wrong. Linux is chaos with some controls, i.e. Linus and his
lieutenants. There is no roadmap a la a commercial project. And if you
notice, even in the commercial world, without a contract, roadmaps and
the substrate the bits travel is worth the substrate.

-- John.

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