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.

#24 Re: Open Source does NOT benefit consumers

by MattyT <>

Tuesday May 2nd, 2000 2:47 AM

You are replying to this message

> I'm sorry, but I haven't seen an open > source project delivering superior > quality to a closed source one. Maybe > Mozilla will be the exception to that.

A large number of people disagree with you on that assessment. I can attest that Linux is more stable than Windows, and Apache is used more than all of the other web servers put together, plus some.

> With Open Source, there are too many > things to go wrong. What if somebody > takes the code, chucks the license > and flogs their version of the > software without giving credit nor > source? You cannot prove he didn't > write it himself.

The GPL requires source. Most open source projects don't, and they still work just fine. Indeed, many people encourage the use of open source code in proprietary products.

The problem of knowing who wrote source code exists no matter whether the software is open source!

> As for Open Source projects > encouraging and accepting more > feedback, well I'll dispute that > right now.

Before you start criticizing open source feedback systems it would help if you discussed some good proprietary software feedback systems, because my experience is that they are like chalk and cheese. No-one's claiming OSS is perfect, just better.

> A while ago in this > forum, I posted something about > Autocomplete and Tooltips.

Firstly, this isn't a support forum, and developers can't be expected to scour the net for bug reports.

> Somebody > from Netscape literally laughed at > me.

Could you post a link to this? I'd like to see what the situation was. As with anything, its possible to step on toes unknowingly, and it's possible to get a bad apple.

And I certainly hope you're not basing your opinion about open source feedback in general on a few comments on Mozillazine.

> I think it was Tanyel who > said Mozilla wasn't that great on a > 32 meg machine, and was laughed at > and labelled a troll. I have heard > of many cases like this,

Again, link(s) please. Maybe Tanyel is a troll. A troll could still post a valid issue, if they knew the issue had been discussed to death before.

> with too many Netscape engineers' > heads too far up their a**es.

Actually, I have never seen this to the degree you're describing.

In the case of the bug system, there are adequate instructions, and people often don't read them, so that can annoy developers. There are plenty of people like myself who are trying to improve Mozilla's processes.

The benefit of open source is not that it is perfect, but that it is naturally self-correcting through peer-review of both source code and development process. Like now, when I'm trying to find the source of the problems you're encountering.