Please do what I think you should do

Last Sunday, my brother and I had a discussion about Israel not allowing Noam Chomsky to enter the country because he is "a satanist nazi demon out to get Israel wiped off the map". It was mostly absurd but one point is worth mentioning: my brother claimed that Chomsky is doing a disservice to his goal of further expanding people's understanding of politics by lecturing where people already know oppression (Palestine) instead of where people are relatively oblivious to it (Israel).

While I know this is a touchy subject for most people, it still resounds in my head as the "I think you're wrong because you're not doing what I think you should do" claim which we're so used to in open source.

After a long time (almost a month!) of not writing a single post (which is - unfortunately for you - unlike me), I wanted to sit down and write about how Perlbal (which is a fantastic piece of software) lacks a bunch of stuff such as an init script, reasonable docs, more hooks, vendor packaging, built-in sticky session support, tutorials and guides or even a decent freakin' website. Then I remembered the conversation with my brother.

Would it be okay to come out and complain about things the Perlbal people aren't doing which are probably things that I want to see happen - but not necessarily things they care about doing?

When do you get to say things people take into consideration because they're meaningful and not just personal itches?

I reckon this is just some despondency leftovers I have from leaving open source development for a few weeks. I want to do so much (because apparently I itch where no other has ever itched before) but I can barely find the time for it all. In the end what I'm left with is a bunch of stuff that don't do what I want, a bag-full of worthless complaints and a blog post that's closer to a pointless rant than anything else.

I wonder if science would reject my brain as a donation...


Complaining is probably less helpful than silence. If you want to get things done, talk about what you would do if you had the time. Leave your notes about what you've thought about, possible implementations, etc. Be positive instead of ranty.

But also realize the harsh truth of open source: when you aren't a paying customer, you get what they give you.

@brian: When you are the paying customer, you get a salesman to convince you that what you get is what you really wanted in the first place. :)

I don't think there's anything wrong with writing a positive, 'Wouldn't it be nice if...'? Even if you don't have time to write it yourself, there are a lot of consultants around using those tools and its very valuable to hear what else people want, so someone with times on their hands and who want to do something useful (ie something they might be able to sell consulting services on) will know what is a possible todo.

Hmm - how about analyzing how you treat rants about the modules you publish? I am sure there are already some about the modules in your CPAN directory :)

In Open Source there is the tendency to substitute code for speech - it is a way to avoid endless bike-shedding and flame-wars - but it also means we don't have the experience needed to be more efficient with productive idea exchanges. This is both social and technical, we lack the social skills and we lack the language to express ideas in higher abstraction than code (like talk about design).

My projects are not as popular as Dancer - so perhaps this comes easy to me - but I hereby promise to answer to all serious critique of my modules seriously (and to answer humorous critique humorously :)

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About Sawyer X

user-pic Gots to do the bloggingz