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507 comments

Myth 7432: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703407)

Open source developers have the same good hygene as Microsoft developers.

MOD PARENT UP!!!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703760)

RMS has algae growing in his cornhole

second post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703424)

oooh! teeheehee! buahahaha! muahahaha! oooh!

GNAASE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703427)

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A__________nna__an__na___nn__nnn___SSOCIATION_of__ ________G
G__________ana_naa__an___nnn______________________ ________E
N__________ananan___nn___aan_IGGER________________ ________R
A__________nnna____naa____________________________ ________S
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A________ana____nn_________IRC-EFNET-#GNAA________ ________S
A_______nn_____na_________________________________ ________O
*_______aaaan_____________________________________ ________C
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other myths (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703428)

that there are any hetrosexual open sores developers.

that open sores is ready for the desktop

that open sores users are more gay than M.A.C. users

Myths About Slashdot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703457)

Myth 1: CmdrTaco is heterosexual

Myth 2: Hemos is heterosexual

Myth 3: Moderators are heterosexual

Myth 4: You're heterosexual

Hah? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703458)

The article is probably +5 Flamebait. Let's read it...

yes the article is indeed +5 flamebait. (-1, Offtopic)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703487)

it offers just about zero.
it offers nada zip zero nothing.

here's a myth that's also relity: if you get a stupid ass flamebait article posted on slashdot you will get thousands of visitors.

the relevant points are relevant to ANY software. though, it's much nicer to have a source that needs only bit tweaking to get it going than a binary only installer that just simply refuses to work and gives no warnings at all.

Headline for the article is a troll (5, Interesting)

Aron S-T (3012) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703464)

Nearly all of the article's "myths" are relevant for all software development, not just FOSS. As for the first myth, and the one cited in the posting, that's just a troll. I don't think anyone believes that just releasing code makes it useful or desirable. In other words, this article should have titled: 7 Myths about Software Development. As such, it's not bad, although I didn't find any deep insights in it.

----------------
Mythical Man Month Methodology
http://fourm.info/

Re:Headline for the article is a troll (1, Informative)

goldspider (445116) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703545)

You completely missed the point of the headline Myth. It has nothing to do with believing one's OSS is useful or desirable.

The myth is addressing the assumption that people who use said software will contribute to its development with patches and improvements to the code.

Re:Headline for the article is a troll (-1, Redundant)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703692)

I've never assumed that anyone would *want* to see my very hairy backside, either.

Re:Headline for the article is a troll (4, Insightful)

RatBastard (949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703611)

Nearly all of the article's "myths" are relevant for all software development, not just FOSS.

This is true, however, most commercial developement groups already know that these myths are just that, if not the coders, then their managers at least.

The issue he is covering is the fact that many people on the FS/OSS movements beleive that these myths are true. This article is not a condemnation of the FS/OSS community, but a reality check for them.

Re:Headline for the article is a troll (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703619)

Don't get your panties all in a bunch, senorita. They weren't saying that open source is bad, they were only saying that some things you geeks tout about OSS never really pan out. Spend 2 seconds at sourceforge to see how true this is- if OSS was so great, 99% of the projects wouldn't have stalled in the .10 pre-alpha-alpha release.

You geeks are some of the most uptight people around. Learn to relax.

Re:Headline for the article is a troll (3, Insightful)

Kris Thalamus (555841) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703629)

If open source developers are ever going to shake their image of being zealots, they need more of the kind of self aware pragmatism that this article provides.

Defensively crying "troll" in response to criticism isn't going to help matters any.

Interesting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703719)

I wonder what you'll have to say the next time a "Windows is ass" vs "But you can install stuff on it" flame war breaks out.

Open Source all the way however..... (0, Insightful)

vwjeff (709903) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703469)

most of the work (mine included) is done on highly visible projects (Linux).

Installation and configuration (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703476)

This is a problem. Many OS projects out there require you to install to many things. I can't count the number of times I have stumbled over installing something like ImageMagick on a new version of Redhat.

Re:Installation and configuration (1)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703625)

Having a nice dependancy checker is part of modern distros. If redhat don't have one you should probably choose something else. Have you tried apt for rpm?

myth 9: (5, Funny)

Savatte (111615) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703483)

writing open source software will get me laid!

It was obvious (0, Offtopic)

flicken (182650) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703546)

See my almost identical comment [slashdot.org] , which was unfortunately submitted too slow.

Re:It was obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703585)

haha...way to suck

Re:It was obvious (1)

Savatte (111615) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703607)

I saw that, and then when I refreshed the page, it was modded down to -1. I'm sorry. In retrospect, I should have put something like myth 9: "open source developers do not die as virgins," but since I was on the phone at the time, I typed the most obvious thing. I'll let you get the earlier post next time.

Re:It was obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703656)

Hoping to catch some sympathy karma? It wont work because you are a retard.

yea! just like myth 10: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703556)

getting +5, Funny mods on slashdot will get me laid faster

Re:yea! just like myth 10: (2, Funny)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703717)

Fuck, that explains it!

I thought it might be paralyzing social fear. But it's the karma whoring that leaves my dance card so empty, and my /porn share so full!

Re:yea! just like myth 10: (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703728)

getting +5, Funny mods on slashdot will get me laid faster

They will, if you consider getting attacked by a pack of randy pit-bulls "getting laid".

Reality 9: (1)

a!b!c! (137622) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703738)

Being a Karma whore will leave you with Open Sores.

Obvious omission from the list (-1, Redundant)

flicken (182650) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703488)

Myth #9:
Writing open source will get you laid.

Sorry, duder, you missed it by a minute (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703784)

Unfortunately, the moronic moderator who slapped you did not regard the one minute (or less) gap between your posts.

Myth # 9 (4, Insightful)

Hayzeus (596826) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703489)

Open source is more likely to be stable and bug-free because the code will be widely inspected by thousands of eyes

This may be true for a minority of widely used projects, but for most applications, I've never bought this argument. Bug swatting, and especially code inspection, is and always will be a tedious process, not well-suited for a volunteer-only development community. The only advantage I see for open source in this area is that bugs can be fixed as they are encountered -- but this only works where the end user has the required skills to do the fixing in the first place.

Re:Myth # 9 (5, Insightful)

elviscious (681985) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703684)

Not really sure that this is a myth. Anybody can write crappy, buggy code. People do it everyday. Same thing with stability. Whether unix is a better platform than windows might be debateable, I don't think anybody denies that crappy code is written on both platforms.

The only thing that open source brings to the table is that people might look at it, and might point out problems. But if you are relying on both of those to happen you are making two big assumptions.

Fear not, corporate developers (5, Insightful)

the man with the pla (710711) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703491)

My limited experience with open source is summed up with this article sentence:
~~~
Not all open-source projects are alike, however. A small number of open-source projects have become well known, but the vast majority never get off the ground, according to Scacchi.
~~~
Open source is obviously faster/better/cheaper when 1000's of people donate their time to a single project. The only open source project I've been involved in was a collaboration among several corporations, all of which wanted to leverage each other's resources, but none of which could really contribute their own.

There's nothing like money to motivate people to work on a project for which people aren't willing to donate their time.

Personally, I'm not convinced speed is related to developer quantity. There's too big a variation in productivity between experienced and amateur developers.

I'm also not convinced open-source is right for all types of software. How many open-source developers you know that conduct large-scale usability tests? How many open-source developers go around interviewing end users? When the developer and product consumer is the same, open-source makes much more sense to me.

Re:Fear not, corporate developers (2, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703783)

How many open-source developers you know that conduct large-scale usability tests? How many open-source developers go around interviewing end users?

None. Why? One potential reason is because it's not needed. Ever consider that all the 'usability tests' that MS conducts are a bunch of shit? Look at the two 'major' - supposed - outcomes of such research: MS Bob and Windows XP's graphical interface. All that this illustrates is that MS found people are dumb, and that MS doesn't think most folks are capable of too terribly much, mentally. So make it simple to the point where it loses practicality for the marginal number of people that are skilled.

Consider that when an open source developer is using software, and he finds a problem, or he sees a feature he wants, he impliments it. It has happened on Windows, too, with projects like WindowBlinds and AfterStep. People want more features, so they write them themselves - and quite a few people will use them. Sure, most people don't (they just use the 'vanilla' configuration), but it's necessary to have that flexibility in the framework; otherwise there will be no innovation. The benefit to a system like linux is that flexibility is there due to the openness and availability of the source code: nothing needs to be reverse engineered.

When the developer and product consumer is the same, open-source makes much more sense to me.

Er, correct me if I'm wrong, but developers are not a higher form of life than everyone else. They are no smarter than anyone else. They, like everyone else, has a personal opinion and personal way of relating to their environment; considering that most developers are human, I'm guessing that such interfaces would generally be understandable enough for someone of similar origin to figure out. If not, that's of no fallacy of the interface itself, but of the user: there are more options. If you -need- MS Windows and can't 'adapt' to KDE's interface (which is undeniably more full-featured), then stay with MS Windows -it's what you were initially introduced to, and it's what you're more familiar with. Simple enough, quit bitching. That doesn't mean that other designs are worse. Look at the forever-going battle over the GUIs of Windows vs. MacOS - they both think their own is superior.

Not everyone is a Type A, Type C, or Type Z. Some of us are Type 1, Type 0, and Type 01010110.

Myth 9? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703492)

Myth: The GPL is the only open source license
Truth: Although it's the most popular, it's not the only license.

Sadly, I think this is what most people think of when they think of open source.

Fortress of Insanity [homeunix.org]

Re:Myth 9? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703710)

Well, it wouldn't be the first time those damn dirty, socialist hippies have ruined it for the rest of us!

Hmm... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703495)

Could this be... Because not many people use open source software??

If (and it's a pretty big if) open source got more widespread notice and acknowledgment, don't you think there would be more people interested in the code developed via that process? Also, if the program "mimics" other programs, or is just plain shoddy, people obviously aren't going to be attracted to it.

That said, he does make some obvious points about good software development. Well documented and well designed software will always attract more developers then that software which is undocumented, poorly implemented and/or poorly designed.

MITH#1 open source is comminust (1, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703500)


I cant tel you how many times I've herd this. That's crap. It's more like copyrights are an overbearing government regulation that locks out the little guy than a true free market property right. When you them for what it is, then the facts of why Linux is going to take over the marketplace becomes obvious.

Re:MITH#1 open source is comminust (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703535)

hey bozo I can "tel" you that you are probably a "comminust" too. retard.

Re:MITH#1 open source is comminust (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703553)

Are you retarded?

Re:MITH#1 open source is comminust (-1, Troll)

Horny Smurf (590916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703588)

Since you can't spell "communist", it's not surprising that you don't know what it means, either.

get off my case (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703665)

Since you can't spell "communist", it's not surprising that you don't know what it means, either.

Fine, so I rushed it and accidently hit the submit button rather than the preview button. Sue me. Sheesh, I guess it's easier to rant about spelling than the facts.

Re:get off my case (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703708)

The "facts"? What facts? You only gave an opinion. Man, you really are retarded.

Not a myth, just a partial truth (1)

macrealist (673411) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703789)

It's more like copyrights are an overbearing government regulation

I think you mean copyright abuse and special interest controlled overbearing government regulation. Copyrights and government regulations are a very important check and balance in the modern "free" market economy.

According to my Oxford Desk Dictionary

communism n. 1 political theory advocating public ownership of property.

I'd say that is not to far off of what SOME open source licences are about (GPL). The problem with calling something communist in the USA is that there is decades of hatred associated with that single concept. So even if it is a comparsion based in fact, biases against communism prevent an unbiased view of the analogy.

The "Myth" that all open source is communist is very similar to the "Myth" that the only open source licence is the GPL.

wrong in at least one place (4, Interesting)

krog (25663) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703503)

Myth: Publicly releasing open source code will attract flurries of patches and new contributors.
Reality: You'll be lucky to hear from people merely using your code, much less those interested in modifying it.


In my experience, this is not the case. I wrote a little rip-encode-and-tag script called choad and listed it on Freshmeat for the hell of it. This was two years ago, and I've received over 20 patches -- for a crappy little perl script!

I wrote it to solve my problem, and I continue to be pleasantly surprised when I get emails with feature enhancements, bug fixes, or just plain thanks and encouragement from people who had the same problem as me.

Re:wrong in at least one place (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703580)

I think one needs to differentiate between small and big projects. It's certainly easier to write a patch for a relatively short script, simply because it's easier to understand what it does. Try to write a useful patch for a big project like Mozilla and you'll spend quite some time trying to even understand which file you need to patch. It's obvious that smaller projects attract more patches while bigger projects attract more bug-reports.

Re:wrong in at least one place (4, Insightful)

CoolVibe (11466) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703623)

Exactly.

I also wrote a bunch of hacks that I just gave away, but I never expected patches, or for people to actually use it.

Open Source is like socialism, you just help out where you can, and share what you got. If people don't take it, then it's their loss :) At least it was useful for myself, and it might be useful for others.

To assume that one writes a few hundred lines of code, and then get instant fame is of course ridiculous :)

Re:wrong in at least one place (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703663)

Just a me too... I'm the author of a PEAR package (Auth_PrefManager), and while I have very little idea who the 8,522 installs were done by, I do know several of them have reported bugs which then got fixed.

The important thing is to make sure you fix the bugs as they get reported, or people give up reporting.

BTW - if you're one of those people who installed... what are you using it for?

Re:wrong in at least one place (1)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703683)

This was two years ago, and I've received over 20 patches

Um, 20 patches is not a flurry, regardless if it was just a like script you listed on freshmeat. The probem is your own experience doesn't scale. The best real life example of that it XFree86, which has hundred thousands of users yet has a regular developer base of less than 20 and less than 100 patch contributors.

That said, congrats on successfully sharing a open source project. Regardless of its size, it appears that it was useful (and hopefully helpful) to others.

Are these really myths? (5, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703506)

Is the use of the word "myth" really intended to indicate that a large cross-section of people actually believe these things?

I mean, does anyone really think that how they package their product won't effect how many people start using it? Are there really a lot of people out there who assume that they'll have an instant dedicated following of skilled developers spring from nowhere the moment they publish their source?

I really doubt it, somehow. Charitably, I'd file the advice in this article under the "Obvious but sometimes in need of restating" catagory in that sometimes people will lose the forest for the trees. Still, no real revelations here.

Re:Are these really myths? (1)

aridhol (112307) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703635)

Yes.

How many times have you seen a project that says "Here's our ultra-cool project. Just grab the files from CVS and build". No mention of the dependencies (the mailing list will tell you that you need libfoo-1.2; we depend on a specific bug in 1.2, so 1.2.1, which fixes the bug, will break our app).

Or "Here's our ultra-cool project. It's only a small app right now, but when we get people working on it, it'll do your dishes, write your thesis, and mow the lawn, with 3-D graphics and 6.1 surround sound."

Re:Are these really myths? (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703642)

Is the use of the word "myth" really intended to indicate that a large cross-section of people actually believe these things?

No, it's not. I tried to make that clear in the introduction. I don't believe that most open source projects deliberately believe that, for example, bundling up their code to make it easy to distribute and install is a bad thing. Too many projects fail to do just that, though.

The word "myth" was just more expressive than the phrase "things you'd think we believe based on our actions".

Re:Are these really myths? (1)

zx75 (304335) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703731)

Definition of Myth #3
A fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology.

A myth when used in this context doesn't necessarily mean it has to be widely believed. For example, it is a myth that Elvis is still alive. Some people believe it, most do not, but it still would be labelled as such.

Amen! (5, Insightful)

Horny Smurf (590916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703508)

Myth: Even though your previous code was buggy, undocumented, hard to maintain, or slow, your next attempt will be perfect.

Reality: If you weren't disciplined then, why would you be disciplined now?

I'm glad someone has the balls to say it. Of course, this isn't specific to Open Source, it's a myth that applies to ALL development.

Re:Amen! (1)

Tensor (102132) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703715)

Lets face it, writing documentations SUCK, and it will suck forever.

When was the last time you saw an MS Office User's Manual ? it doesnt even come in digital form, and its a 600 usd software, and dont get me started on usd 3000 soft like Acad, or 3ds.

I think the buggy is out of place in this myth tho.

Translation... (3, Insightful)

gmaestro (316742) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703511)

Myth: Publicly releasing open source code will attract flurries of patches and new contributors.

...should be read as, "write any featureless, buggy program and then people in the community will do your work for you." I mean, how is this different than any other project you might undertake?

myth 12: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703512)

Opensource software is superior to Microsoft software

Re:myth 12: (1, Flamebait)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703655)

You mean Microsoft is superior because they are nice enough to write shitty enough code to allow script-kiddos like yourself to keep exploiting it with viruses so that you can impress the rest of your "1337 friends" and dream about getting laid as you think of how hot it would be to be in a threesome with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss? Yeah, I guess you're right in that sense.

Come back in 5 or 6 years when you have a real job in IT and have actually used OSS projects in the workplace. Tell me that all those W2K server licenses were worth it when, after the 9 billionth time they'd crashed, you switched to Debian and Apache for free, and never looked back. Tell me this.

Hmm (1, Insightful)

MasterSLATE (638125) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703515)

One of the points brought up is about CVS... Personally, I'll have to agree with that. I know how to program, but CVS is just a concept I've never understood. I just never understood how to use it.

Regarding the other myths, I'd have to say that they are very good points. Some of them I'd agree with to a certain extent.

Re:Hmm (1)

MetalShard (633009) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703746)

The answer to CVS is not to use CVS directly but to use the hundreds of other programs people have written to make CVS easier (like TortoiseCVS.)

The big myth.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703516)

.. that open-source "actually works"

excuse me while i take a shit

On warnings (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703523)

They bring up an important point about warnings-- that if you don't fix warnings, even if the thing you're being warned about is fine, you'll miss important warnings later.

Their solution is, always fix warnings.

My solution is, GCC needs some way to suppress warnings!

Yes, GCC can already suppress *classes* of warnings. But I want to be able to suppress warnings on a per-line basis. What if in function x, there is a variable that I have defined but do not use for some specific reason-- but I still want to be warned if I do the same by accident in function y?

In Codewarrior, we had something called #pragma unused which worked like this. But that was just for that one case. Something generalized would be cool, something like "#pragma gcc.sw typecast" that would suppress typecast warnings for the next block, for example...

Re:On warnings (5, Informative)

pclminion (145572) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703613)

What if in function x, there is a variable that I have defined but do not use for some specific reason

You can use GCC's attribute system:

int foo __attribute__ ((unused));

GCC supports all kinds of cool attributes, both for functions and variables. For example, the ((deprecated)) attribute marks a variable as deprecated, and will produce a warning if any code uses that variable.

However, these methods are not portable. On nearly any compiler I can imagine, the cleanest and simplest way to supress an unused variable warning is to assign the variable to itself:

int x;
x = x; /* shut up compiler warning */

Run 'info gcc' to get the full documentation. Go to the "C Extensions" section. GCC is littered with HUNDREDS of very cool extensions. Just make sure it's worth giving up portability...

Re:On warnings (0)

Horny Smurf (590916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703756)

maybe you should just remove the variable declaration.

Re:On warnings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703618)

The source is available, why don't you fix it yourself? If more people would contribute code instead of simply bitching about it then many projects wouldn't be in the state they're in. If you want a particular feature in a product don't endlessly email the developer. They have obviously created it the way they believe it should be. Code it yourself and submit the patch.

Jesus Christ! Some people are so lazy. It's no wonder Microsoft has the market share it does when nobody is will to learn or do for themselves.

Re:On warnings (-1, Troll)

Horny Smurf (590916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703774)

What part of "Myth 5: people will contribute code instead of bitching about shortcomings" didn't you understand?

wow (4, Insightful)

nizo (81281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703533)

New developers interested in the project will best learn the project by fixing bugs and reading the source code.

Oh my God, this sounds exactly like my last job. 10,000 lines of Tcl, with not a shred of documentation in sight. Running a financial system that processed millions of dollars a day. And I know to this day, my old boss is still trying to figure out why she keeps losing employees left and right, and why it takes so long for new people to come up to speed.

Re:wow (1)

Mephie (582671) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703634)

Oi, yeah. I've worked on projects like that. In a related story, the amount and quality of //comments I add to my own code increased significantly after the first such project.

Comments usually aren't much, but jeez.. they're certainly better than nothing at all.

Re:wow (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703694)

Yep, after that job I really realize how important comments and documentation are. No class I ever had came close to making this lesson so painfully apparent.

Re:wow (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703764)

This is your old boss. The fact that the system used Tcl is not relevant. You were fired due to the fact you would not wear pants in the office and walked around asking people to pet the elephant.

Another myth (5, Insightful)

bartash (93498) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703554)

It's not worth writing good design documents because everyone will read the code.

As with all the projects, (1)

Tensor (102132) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703557)

OSS or not, i report ALL bugs i find. At least the first times. If i keep reporting them or not depends on the attitude of the developers.

I've had good experiences with smoothwall, emule mods, azureus, and believe it or not Windows. (i am a MS beta tester ...)

For the LAZY ones (Myths List) (3, Informative)

Tensor (102132) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703624)

Myth: Publicly releasing open source code will attract flurries of patches and new contributors.
Myth: Stopping new development for weeks or months to fix bugs is the best way to produce stable, polished software.
Myth: New developers interested in the project will best learn the project by fixing bugs and reading the source code.
Myth: Installation and configuration aren't as important as making the source available.
Myth: Bad or unappealing code or projects should be thrown away completely.
Myth: It's better to provide a framework for lots of people to solve lots of problems than to solve only one problem well.
Myth: Even though your previous code was buggy, undocumented, hard to maintain, or slow, your next attempt will be perfect.
Myth: Warnings are just warnings. They're not errors and no one really cares about them.
Myth: Users don't mind upgrading to the latest version from CVS for a bugfix or a long-awaited feature.

For explanations of each RTFA ;D

Here's a myth I see a lot (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703560)

"I am sure that everyone will want to install Apache/mod_perl/mod_ssl and mysql and perl 5.8.3 and 17 non standard perl modules (8 of which are not available on CPAN), ImageMagick, python, zlib, libpng and glib2.1 and zend and php) to be able to use my practically useless and very buggy digital picture management system."

Open Source Software is all about need (5, Insightful)

pbug (728232) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703561)

If you write something that is usefull and/or fun. People are going to use it. For example I use the Spreadsheet::WriteExcel module at work. Yes perl writing excel documents. I used because there was a need. I fixed a bug in one of the optional modules because that was a feature we use and need to work correctly. Would I ever picked up and use that module on my own. Maybe if I came across it and wanted to create an spreadsheet for some silly reason but I highly doubt it. But I had a need to create an excel spreadsheet on a unix server so I filled that need.

That's nice. (1)

RatBastard (949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703679)

That's and well and good. But what does it have to do with the article in question?

Regardless of the general case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703569)

Regardless of the general case, what the article claims (specifically, that you won't receive patches or even comments) hasn't been true for me. If you write software that actually does something people want, it will get used.

I had bugs reports within a day of announcing my software. I received a patch to port my software to another OS within a week of it showing up on SourceForge (it's only in the 70-80 percentile range for activity too). I had feature requests shortly afterward too.

I've also written a library or two that never gets feedback simply because it's something only I would use (at least at the levels of completion they're at). But, I expected as much.

Publishing your Code Will Attract Many Skilled.... (4, Funny)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703570)

It's a myth. And here's a proof:
A few words from a desperate open source coder... /usr/src/linux/Documentation/networking/arcnet.txt :
Since no one seems to listen to me otherwise, perhaps a poem will get your
attention:
This driver's getting fat and beefy,
But my cat is still named Fifi.

Hmm, I think I'm allowed to call that a poem, even though it's only two
lines. Hey, I'm in Computer Science, not English. Give me a break.

The point is: I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY want to hear from you if
you test this and get it working. Or if you don't. Or anything.

ARCnet 0.32 ALPHA first made it into the Linux kernel 1.1.80 - this was
nice, but after that even FEWER people started writing to me because they
didn't even have to install the patch.

Come on, be a sport! Send me a success report!

(hey, that was even better than my original poem... this is getting bad!)

WARNING:
--------

If you don't e-mail me about your success/failure soon, I may be forced to
start SINGING. And we don't want that, do we?

(You know, it might be argued that I'm pushing this point a little too much.
If you think so, why not flame me in a quick little e-mail? Please also
include the type of card(s) you're using, software, size of network, and
whether it's working or not.)

My e-mail address is: apenwarr@worldvisions.ca

Re:Publishing your Code Will Attract Many Skilled. (1)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703732)

AFAIK almost NOBODY uses the Linux ARCnet component, it's a very obscure protocol for what Linux is put to use for. I absolutely understand why this guy doesn't get any help. The protocol works though, and it's complete, so nobody's gonna make a stink about it until something breaks it.

Comments (5, Insightful)

aridhol (112307) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703575)

Myth 1: Attracting patches and contributors

What most developers don't think is "Hey, I didn't contribute anything. Nobody I know has contributed anything. Why will my project be any different?"

Myth 3: Reading code

I've tried to read large bodies of code before. It's damn hard, even if it is documented. And when it isn't documented, your beginning developers don't have a chance.

Myth 4: Packaging

Um...duh? Of course it needs to be properly packaged. And dependency lists? If someone can't get it to compile, they definitely won't use it.

Myth 5: Start from scratch

Don't start from scratch if the code isn't clean. Make new code clean, and go back to clean up existing code. Make sure you have those regression tests ready.

Myth 7: Perfection

Developers are humans. Humans are fallible. I'll make a perfect program - when Bullwinkle pulls a rabbit out of his hat.

Myth 8: Ignore warnings

If the warnings were ignorable, they wouldn't be there. My profs would take marks off if you got warnings in compilation, unless your documentation explained exactly why you let the warning stand (and it had better be a good reason).

Myth 9: Tracking CVS

Users don't track CVS. Developers track CVS. Users want quick-and-easy, working code.

Either I miscounted, or there's more than 8 entries on the site (they aren't numbered)

This IS a +5 troll article... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703596)

Look at this line regarding the myth that releasing software as open source gets you tons of patches/contributors:

This isn't a myth because it never happens. It's a myth because it doesn't happen as often as we'd like.

Now, According to m-w.com [m-w.com] :

Main Entry: myth
Pronunciation: 'mith
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek mythos
Date: 1830
1(a): a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon
2(a): a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society
(b): an unfounded or false notion

3 : a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence

This is not a myth. It is something which is true for a variety of reasons, and false under some circumstances. If it doesn't happen as often as some people would like, it is not necessarily a myth. Begone, ye article of the trolls!

Good points on ease of installation (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703622)

Congrats to chromatic for offering several points about ease of use, especially regarding installation, which are often missed. In particular:

- "Packaging Doesn't Matter"
- "Programs Suck; Frameworks Rule!"
- "Warnings Are OK"
- "End Users Love Tracking CVS"

I appreciate the difficulties involved for open-source developers in making their programs easy to download and play. At the end of the day, it's their choice whether they make it accessible to the masses. Many of them just want to give something to the world that they would have otherwise kept for themselves.

But it is clear from the number of ambitious projects that many developers to aspire to hit prime time. In those cases, I hope they will take the advice in Chromatic's article, and think very carefully about the experience of an end-user who just wants to have a look.

For one thing, provide some screenshots so they don't even have to download the thing to see it. Next, read your installation instructions and consider whether they might not be better represented as an actual installation script. And finally, have an automated test facility to make sure the installation procedure works correctly.

An example of a problematic open-source package is subversion, the "sequel" to CVS. Because of the decision to bootstrap version control, you have to go through some painful procedure (last time I looked), just to see if it's worth bothering about yet. I have better things to do than jump hoops to try out a bit of fresh meat. I'm sure it will be great when it hits 1.0, but I'll save my energy until then.

Remember: the risk of a crap product is high when it comes to picking one of the thousands of packages on SF. Therefore, the pain threshold for most people is very low: if it doesn't work after a few minutes, most people will give up and try one of the dozen alternatives.

BUT (1)

Jerry (6400) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703627)

it is a "myth" to say the OpenSource development model is not working. Linux, KDE, GNOME, and thousands of applications prove otherwise, much to Microsoft's dismay.

Re:BUT (1)

RatBastard (949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703737)

Gosh, I didn't see any claim in there that the OS developement model isn't working. What I saw was a list of logical errors many people make in their zeal to embrace the OS movement.

her work (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703633)

When was the last time you told a developer how her work solved your problem?

Umm... how about never? Well I sure don't know any female developers anyway.

Re:her work (0, Offtopic)

pclminion (145572) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703709)

Umm... how about never? Well I sure don't know any female developers anyway.

Congratulations... You've just proven that you live in your mother's basement.

Interesting (1)

DroidBiker (715045) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703639)

The specific myths don't apply to every project, but it points out what I've been saying for years. The only way to write good code is to study and practice. Associate with talented people, learn everything you can from them, keep up with industry best practices, and constantly evaluate everything you do in terms of its quality.

well done! (1)

MinorHeadWound (710187) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703646)

This is a nice summary -- like any myths, YMMV for each project. "All models are wrong, some are useful." - I don't remember who said it, so I guess it was me!

biggest problem I have with list (4, Insightful)

tomphaedrus (661561) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703660)

Granted, I don't think all of those are myths. But one really irks me as being false for any software developers:
Myth: New developers interested in the project will best learn the project by fixing bugs and reading the source code. Reality: Reading code is difficult. Fixing bugs is difficult and probably something you don't want to do anyway. While giving someone unglamorous work is a good way to test his dedication, it relies on unstructured learning by osmosis.

I work for a very niche market/profitable software company and thats exactly how the developers get their feet wet, by fixing minor bugs.

Seems like the only way to "learn a project" is to fix bugs and therefore read the code.

Major nitpick with "Warnings are OK" (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703667)

When the "low oil pressure" or "low battery" light comes on in a car, the proper response is to make sure that everything is running well.

That's not a warning - that's more akin to an error. If the oil light comes on, and you don't stop immediately, you will stop in a very expensive way seconds later.

I detect some bitterness and pessimism (3, Insightful)

bigberk (547360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703674)

From the article:
[Myth:] I'll Do it Right *This* Time... Reality: If you weren't disciplined then, why would you be disciplined now?
Talk about pessimism! People can do better than they did in the past, you know. Especially if they, uh I dunno, learn something in the process or possibly improve their style through help, education, or time commitment. Geez, guy.

why? (0)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703687)

The problem may be the definition of success. If your goal is to become famous, open source development probably isn't for you. If your goal is to become influential, open source development probably isn't for you.

No fame, no influence, no dollar bills - what motivates people to do it? This is not a troll, looking for answers from RealPeople(tm).

True Value of open source (5, Interesting)

maraist (68387) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703688)

I find that open source is not so valueable in that people inspect my code and provide feedback. Instead I find the following realizable benifits:

A) I can build apon other people's code.. It's effectively stealing their ideas, BUT since I'm GPLing my code as well, there is no net loss, and they are free to resteal my ideas back (if they are so inclined). I do often refer original authors to my new code.

B) I recognize that people MIGHT secretly build apon my code, so I get a warm fuzzy.

C) I can fix problems with open source drivers (postgres jdbc driver, GNU file-utils, etc. are some of my examples). Moreover, my debugger can jump straight to the line of maliscious code.

D) When I am about to release code publicly, I feel self conscious, and thus I put a TREMENDOUS amount of effort into cleaning up the code.. Making sure various platforms work, making sure there is no embarrasing spagetti-code, etc. Thus the mere possibility of people reading my code causes me to exert effort that I wouldn't otherwise. The end positive is a lower propensity for bugs, AND more modular/reusable code (especially with anything in perl).

The end-end result is therefore that Open source facilitates greater code reuse; less re-inventing of the wheel.. And more importantly code extensibility.

Now this begs a question of the distinction between modules and out-right applications. Open source is great for producing millions of reusable modules, but we often get chastized about the availibility of abundant QUALITY applications. Well, in my view, the merging of these two is two fold:

A) Open source applications tend to be more "plugagable"

B) Commercial sites will often pay developers to use open source modules and customize them to the particular needs of the corporation.. In doing so, serious feedback is provided to the various open source projects (because it is in their mutual interest to refine the modules). I as part of such a corp, have contributed (in various small ways) to several open source projects on the corp's dime, and with full authorization. This is of course, a completely unreliable source of income for a project, of course, but it is definitely a facilitator.

Myth: Parrot will run Perl6 eventually (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703704)

See also: Kitchen Sink Syndrome, Second System Syndrome.

Most helpful advice: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703726)

If you put things back when you're done with them, take out the trash every few days, and generally keep things in order, it's easy to tidy up before having friends over.
Insight! This will change my life.

Good Software Management takes effort... (3, Insightful)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703733)

regardless of whether the project is an open source (or not).

We (popular IT community) are re-learning the lessons of IBM in the 60s which Fred Brooks distilled in his famous The Mythical Man-Month.

I think the bigger misunderstanding is that new developers/IT types/CS academics thinks that everything is new. Most computer security issues were first discussed based in the 1960s or 1970s. Much of Distributed Computing is now being "re-discovered" as Grid Computing.

Best Practices for Software Development (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703744)

Hi

I have made a eigenpoll [all-technology.com] for Best Practices for Software Development [all-technology.com]

You use it by ranking the Practices you have expriense with, the it does some data minning
and find the best.

Right now the list looks like:

100% Test Coverage
Onsite Customer
Continuous Integration
Layering
Scrum Project Backlog
Test Driven Development
The Planing Game
TDD & CI with Aegis
Pair Programming
Current Worst Problem
Big Visible Chart
Simple Design
Codeing Standards
Refactoring
Collectiv Code Ownership
CRC Cards

feel free to add missing options.

ps.) Eigenpoll is open source too.

eyecon0meter: goodness is a thankless task? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703771)

yOUR 'reward' is immeasurable by softwar gangster 'standards'.

robbIE rumoured to be corepirate nazi clone? (Score:-1, Troll)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, @06:53AM (#7699395)
eXPerimeNT(r)oll, version won, of course.

the process has 'advanced' to transform bodIEs of regular folks into greed/fear/ego based puppets/ediots/droids. those slymebawls over at phonIE monIE .controll just waved their 'magic' WAnD in front of lairIE/robbIE et AL, & 'stuff that matters' turned/weNT right into the nazis' payper liesense windows/gadgets, ala LeRegister.

lookout bullow. there's nothing behind the ?pr? ?firm?/stock markup fraud 'curtain'. not even a little 'man'.

all will be new/clear presently?

Due to excessive bad posting...blah blah blah.

you call this weather?

creators' mandates promote sharing to gnu levels? (Score:-1, Troll)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, @11:39AM (#7701872)
unprecedented evile/corepirate nazis/softwar thugs/hired goons (Score:-1)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, @06:04AM (#7699252)
cloning each other/themselves?

they need to .continually refresh the suppLIE of wannabe fraudulent phonIE monIE billyonerrors, as the # of those with felony grand larcenIE indictmeNTs pending, or already sentenced, & on 'probation', grows daily.

no matter, as the unprecedented evile execrable's clones are greed/fear/ego based also, they are no match for the creators' newclear power, & planet/population rescue mandates..

actually, this stuff is unbreakable, operates seamlessly on several (more than 3) dimensions, & offers unlimited energy to build on.

a real nightmare for the whoreabull payper liesense corepirate nazi softwar gangster stock markup fraud execrable/walking dead contingent.

for each of the creators' innocents harmed, there is a badtoll that must/will be repaid by you/US, as the greed/fear/ego based perpetraitors of the life0cide against the planet/population, will not be available to make reparations.

felonious softwar gangsters hoping to freeze time? (Score:0)

by Anonymous Coward
on Thursday December 11, @06:35AM (#7688518 [slashdot.org])

buy striking DOWn UN motion to promote gnu/free stuff to developing nations.

they seem to have hit the eXPanding georgewellian fuddite corepirate nazi execrable moretoll bullock. it's really just a sintax (t)error, whereas the fuddites' infactdead process, keeps replacing the 'one' in one
wwworld, with won.

lookout bullow. continued pretending does not help/makes things worse?, if that's even possible.

united? nations? just won?

consult
with/trust in yOUR creators.... the light itself, is not frozen, but does function just as well in extremely low temperatures, all the way down to mynuts won? see you there?

A few more I would add (5, Insightful)

PureFiction (10256) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703772)

I've found a few other misconceptions in open source development that have irked me over the years.

1. Using autoconf/automake will make my code portable.

TRUTH: You need to know what system calls are portable, which ones arent, and the nuances in using each on different platforms. The auto* tools will only make detecting and utilizing the correct versions easy. It's up to you to identify and code for them in the first place. (Ditto for compiler flags, shared libraries, linker options, etc)

2. Network programming is easy.

TRUTH: I've seen a lot of projects that implement their own network communication using TCP sockets and sprintf text messages. A number of others transmit little endian integers around. And others still use a blocking style request->response form of communication.

Good network programming is really hard, and unless you take the effort to design and implement something robust from the start, this kind of ad-hoc, inflexible networking will become embedded into the application and require significantly more rework later down the road.

And PLEASE reuse something that might fit before even attempting to write your own layer. The gnutella protocol is a great example of this problem.

3. Threading is as simple as using pthreads and mutexes.

TRUTH: Good threading code is difficult to develop and difficult to debug. It is always preferable to use an event based model where possible, and rely on threads only when you need scalability on SMP, work arounds for blocking system calls (gethostbyname_r), or background tasks that you dont want delaying interaction with a user or network app (there are many other reasons, but these give you the general idea of where threading is appropriate).

Synchronizing access to shared resources between threads is also very tricky. The level of granularity of locking, and the structure of your data structures themselves, will have a significant impact on performance. Too much granularity and you end up with extremely complex locking hierarchies that are difficult to debug, more prone to dead lock. Too little granularity and you get lots of contention for these shared resources.

Finding the sweet spot is tricky, and often requires lots of experience or tuning to get right. The lack of tools to provide visibility to lock contention and latency also make this difficult.

I'm sure there are others, but these are the big ones that come to mind.

on the subject of development frameworks (1)

BillsPetMonkey (654200) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703791)

Myth: It's better to provide a framework for lots of people to solve lots of problems than to solve only one problem well.

I won't mention Microsoft's is the only widely distributed development 'Framework' there is. Then again if it's really as nebulous and unuseable as the slashbots think, why has it already been ported to BSD and Linux in it's original form and ::mono:: respectively already ...
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