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Re: Open source : race or teamwork ?

> That's actually the second time in a row I end up writing
> for some project, with the final contribution being nada,
> and not because of code quality.  Since time is scarce,
> my question then is, is this how open source projects
> generally work ?  Is it how they should work ?  Or was I
> just in bad luck ?  Is this kindof "tnx but no tnx" accidents
> (misunderstandings, basically), an unfortunate side effect
> of all open source projects, or is this in your opinion not
> really the right thing ?
> I repeat I don't want to hit back on the original authors;
> they're cool guys and I don't blame them.  But, I thought
> that open source worked like every author interested
> in contributing could ask for a piece of the pie, work on
> improving it in all peace and quietness, and ship the
> result back.  Speed of delivery is not important, stability
> is : you wouldn't want your contribution to introduce
> so much bugs that everybody else's work is nuked
> or heavily delayed.  However, my experiences so far
> suggest that OS development is more of a race : it's a
> jungle, you can contribute if you want, but don't expect
> anybody to wait for you to finish up; if someone else
> thinks he can do it faster, he will, even if he knows in
> advance how much time you already invested and/or
> near to completion you are.
> What do you people think ?  Do you prefer one of the
> two ?  Is teamwork feasible ?  Or is racing just the
> reality of it, and live with it or stay away ?

I don't want to blame the project organizers either :) but your story
sounds very familiar to me. I think that the biggest problem in these
multi-coder, open-source projects is the coordinating of things.

I think that one could arrange projects basically in those two ways you
described. I prefer the code stability and quality -line, not competing
with the other coders. Anyway, when the project is first started, all the
authors should know, what their line is and stick to that. And tell
newcomers about it. 

In your case it would have been fair to keep asking about your progress
and keep a book about new coders and their projects and warn you when a
new guy started the same project. Then you would have get the opportunity
to tell them, why you thought they should prefer YOUR code. In projects
like these it is extremely frustrating to be kept in a complete darkness
(or be totally ignored after giving you a coding task). 

It is not completely the fault of the authors, sometimes (especially if
the project is taking a long time) it would be wise to pop up time to time
and tell them that you exist. A beginner project leader might need this
kind of support from the coders side, too. Trust me, I know ;). It is
always nice to know that the project still has coders, and that those
coders are actually working.

Your subject is VERY important and it should be taken into account by
everyone reading this email-list.