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.

#7 You can put a price on responsibility

by braden <>

Friday April 28th, 2000 6:35 PM

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The persons responsible to Netscape for meeting Netscape's deadlines are the people Netscape is paying to be responsible. In other words, Netscape employees.

Independent developers don't have a responsibility to commercial entities, nor do they have a responsibility to end users. Many independent developers may *elect* to heed suggestions of other users, but that's at their discretion. The key word is "independent". And can choose to accept or reject the contributions of such developers at its discretion.

Remember that independent developers are simply empowered users. You can't tell your users what to do, and you can't tell independent developers what to do either.

If Netscape feels users' requests for SVG and MathML are important enough for their 6.0 browser, let *them* allocate *their* resources to accelerate development.