Caleb Cushing's Blog

That’s not what I’m saying

people seem to think that I’m saying support should be a #1 priority. will someone please cite where I said that? yes I said it should be a priority, I said you should do it. I did not say where on the list it should fall. Even if you’re an employee at a company making $100k a year, if you’re wife is dying, your priority is that, hopefully your children come before said company in most cases too. Understand, that I’m not saying put your software (paid or unpaid) before your life. That would be stupid. I’m saying get this stuff worked into your schedule for working on software. Support is part of the software lifecycle. If you have 2 hours a day to code set some of that aside for support and documentation (pooma number).

Yes, I think I’ve proven that volunteering to do open source comes with a responsibility or obligation. However, since there is no governing body, and no one has given us rules of good behavior. What that good behavior is, is what is subject to debate.

So hopefully we can stop arguing that we have no responsibility due to being unpaid volunteers and a license, which is really (I believe) just meant to protect us from lawyers. Once we do that we can actually discuss what it is that we actually should consider ourselves responsible for, and more importantly how we can communicate it.

Software licenses is general do not communicate these things. I think David Golden said is on the right track. Keep in mind some Open Source projects (e.g. PostgreSQL discuss a support policy outside of their licensing ) I think postgres policy is excellent for a project of its size. However, I don’t expect anyone to support a single release of a small project for 5 years. 1 year might be appropriate for a Major release version.

Actually, PostgreSQL is an exemplary example of how Open Source should be conducted. I’ve requested stupid features and been told why they were stupid, and no one cried foul of users requesting features. I’ve asked for help and always received excellent support for my problems. I personally have never been able to locate more than a minute documentation bug in Postgres, and it seems that all new features are adequately documented as part of their QA.

Why is it that we don’t all strive for this level of quality?

p.s. the reason postgres created that policy in the first place was that some people started thinking they were supporting old versions (like 7.4) for too long.

UPDATE: I’m locking comments. I’m tired of people commenting when they obviously haven’t complete read what I’ve written. Either that or there grasp of English is poor. It’s irritating to be constantly misquoted.


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