Weekend Discussion

Friday April 28th, 2000

What does Open Source mean to you in terms of user feedback? Does it mean that you are given more power to interact with the developers? That you are given more power over those developers? That the end-user takes on a more active role in determining the direction of development?

And the big question (which feeds off a discussion in a forum today): what kind of responsibility do third party developers have to meet the deadlines of commercial entities who are utilizing their Open Source code? What if these deadlines are being advocated by end-users? What role should the end user play in directing the time of volunteer coders?

For example, should the third-party volunteers implementing XSLT or SVG or MathML have a responsibility to meet the deadlines of Netscape 6? Even if Netscape didn't promise the technology for the 6 release? What if end-users are telling them that they need to get it done for that release? How much can or should an end-user expect in this situation? How much responsibility should the volunteer developer feel to deliver?

We're interested in feedback from both end-users and developers. Let us know what you think. It's a complex question, but one that I think needs a public airing.

#15 My Thoughts

by Tanyel <>

Saturday April 29th, 2000 10:10 PM

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In "terms of feedback", I think "open source" if a more efficient form than traditional "beta testing". I do not believe it provides more power to interact with developers. I do not believe it gives people more control over the developers with the exception of other developers, who can alter the "source code" and force other developers to alter "code" as well. I do not believe "open source" causes an end user to take a more active role in the development of software.

If the "third party developers" are not being paid then they have no responsibility to meet the deadlines of commercial entities. The "end users" mean nothing if they are not paying the developers, unless the developer holds some type of moral or personal obligation to the "end users". The "end users" should make comments and suggestions to improve the software.

If the "third party coders" promised to make the "code" ready in time to meet a deadline then they should do that. If not then nobody should expect anything and there is no obligation.

Concerning Mozilla, I have found the effort of the Bugzilla people to be mostly good. I was disappointed by the "WORKSFORME" setting but I believe they still do well.