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.

#9 Volunteers, deadlines, and control

by jimminy_xmas <>

Friday April 28th, 2000 9:16 PM

You are replying to this message

A deadline cannot (should not) be placed on a volunteer. Open source frees the coder from tyranny - either by a company or by users.

However users benefit from knowing the stage of software development when the code is freed. The answer to the question "Is this program supported?" is to ask the developer(s) if the project is dead.

The most freeing element is that you can ask the developers. I have participated on #mozillazine on occasion to ask about bugs, status, etc. and I have always been helped. Bugs I noticed have even been fixed! I will almost always choose software that is freed over closed software because I have a voice in open software. My ideas may be bad or I may have the wrong ideas but I can ask (or look at code) and find out.

Does that give me more control? Only if I do something like submit patches or give good bug reports. The developer maintains more control over the project because in the end the developer makes the decisions, not a third party.

I don't care about deadlines anymore. As long as the project continues to improve I will continue to use it. I don't think the linux kernel has ever been declared "beta" or anything but it constantly gets better.