Friday, October 26, 2007

Embarrassment

Why is it embarrassing that KDE is airing it's dirty laundry over khtml/Webkit?

This situation has festered for 5 years now. If no one was angry, upset, no one called anyone names, if there was no hard feelings, I think it would be time to look for another project. Dead people don't feel.

One of the first Digests I produced documented a rather messy saga in KMail. The only thing that prevented fistfights in that instance was two oceans of separation. It would be nice to say that everything turned out in the end, but that would be too simple. Development stagnated until a new generation of developers got interested. However I will suggest however that KDEPIM's solid and mature leadership was forged partly from that saga. Leadership that has maintained the KDE tradition of underselling and overdelivering, of incremental and well thought out progress. This current mess contains many lessons; what is important, what motivates/demotivates developers, who to listen to, who not to listen to. I believe that situations very similar to this one will arise again. How can anyone know how to handle the next time if the issues are not discussed?

Oddly enough, it always comes back to code. Thankfully it comes back to the code. What makes free software so good and so interesting isn't that users decide. It is because developers write what they want. If I wanted a platform where users decide I could go with 98% of the market. I doubt that many free software developers would willingly give up control that they have painfully wrested from MBA's and Marketing. Thankfully those endeavors are on the fringes in free software.


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