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[Discuss] licensing: who freakin cares?

On 4/10/2016 5:19 PM, jc at wrote:
> Hmmm ...  My personal experience is of being pushed in  exactly  that
> direction  by  "management",  while  the  developers were pushing for
> more/better testing, standards  compliance,  etc.   But  the  primary
> motive of most managers I've known is to get the product out the door
> and producing comapany income.  We can fix the  problems  when  users
> report them.  In other words, the push for quality usually comes from
> the developers, while management normally  wants  the  least  quality
> that they think they can sell.

This also is an unfortunate state of affairs. Please don't take my
condemnation of RMS's goals as approval of the bad stuff we currently
have. It's not. Rather, what RMS wants is *at least as bad* as the bad
stuff we have now.

> The open-source work I've been involved in has rarely acted this way.
> Part of the reason is that if the leaders try it, people just quietly
> drop off the team and start working on something else.  Or they  fork
> the  project  and do the needed work themselves (leading to the usual
> hassles if they try to merge it back into the main package).

This is the promise of free and open source software. When it works it
works really well, but when it fails it fails worse than any by the
dollars MBA. The GCC cadre is my go-to example of such failure. Lack of
innovation (GCC falling behind commercial and open source compilers'
performance), failure to keep up with standards (GCC's C and C++
compilers are way behind current standards for these languages),
rejection of contributions from outside sources (the rejection of Clang
integration), and low general code quality (everything Linus Torvalds
ranted about GCC 4.9).

And as a second example, one that I was briefly involved with: Claws
Mail. One of their core developers stated that losing mail is an
acceptable tradeoff for performance and the others did not dissent. To
say that I was horrified by this is an understatement. Losing mail is
unacceptable. Period.

You generally don't see this kind of management behavior in aerospace
and heavy industry. The stakes are far too high. After all, you can't
fix it in production when your product is in an Airbus A350 cruising at
Mach 0.85 at 40,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.

And "we'll fix it in production" turned out not to work for Facebook,
either. Their old "move fast, break things" philosophy did not sit will
with their customers. Paying advertisers and developers didn't like it
when their ads and games weren't being served to users because chunks of
the infrastructure were broken. So, when push came to shove, Facebook
changed their philosophy. It's now "move fast, stable infra" because
they don't get paid when production breaks.

Rich P.

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