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Subject: Re: Hostility on this list :-(

Re: Hostility on this list :-(

From: Robert Hak <>
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 22:47:35 -0400 (EDT)


I'm going to speak up for me alone. (Im not one to speak for others)

Have things been a bit more hostile? Yeah, maybe. But I'll be the first
one to say that its not a general feeling. Basically, I have tired of ppl
asking for/making requests for additions that have been stated in various
places to not be things that are possible, or that we wish to pursue at
this time.

Routinely we face things that are answered in the FAQ (of which I am the
maintainter, so I take it's not being read as an afront to my work), and
in the growing list of previously requested ideas. A quick purusal of the
requests list on sourceforge list _3_ seperate requests for a bootloader.
(God for bid ppl do the work of scrolling back)

As for the discusions on the mailing list. You are correct that it is for
the exchange of ideas. The one failing point is that this project
belongs/is controled by one individual. If others feel like taking our
work and diverging, they have that right. If not, then they will have to
suffer with his final decision. Beyond this, when statements are made as
to _why_ we don't do this, and the discusion continues, it just becomes a
waste of energies better well spent. In other words, the 'discussion'
quickly begins to feel like a fight with a child. "Why? ... Because I
said so..... But I don't agree. So why?.... Because I already told you
why..... Thats not good enough."

Having 15 messages in my mailbox about a topic that had been put to rest
for all intents and purposes is ridiculous.

We are simply facing the same problems that all projects with a growing
user base faces.

Regarding the rudeness in general. I feel this is a common action, and
serves its purpose. If you don't agree, please look at: and you will get
a better idea of _why_ these things happen.

Thats my .02 cents (american, your rates may vary).


On Thu, 15 Aug 2002, Robert Tweed wrote:

This post is just a rant, inspired by the fact that a lot of people are immediately saying "show me the code" or similar, whenever anyone posts a suggestion here. Now, I can understand that no-one wants drawn out threads about stuff that is never going to happen, but I think that the primary purpose of this list should be to encourage the free flow of these ideas, and to discuss design and engineering problems *before* writing any code.

I personally am *not* going to contribute any code to this project at any time in the near future. I'm a competent programmer/designer and can offer ideas, but I just don't have time to set up a development environment or write any code for Rockbox just now. Therefore, if anyone tells me to show them the code, they won't get any, because I am not writing any code just now. However, if anyone needs some creative ideas to solve a difficult problem, I just may be able to help.

I thought I'd just say what I am thinking at the moment, because lately this list seems to be getting more and more hostile for some reason. I think this may turn away a lot of people who would otherwise be making a useful contribution here, even if they are not submitting any code. I mean, there are probably a few non-programmers here with good ideas about UI design, but they aren't about to implement those ideas by themselves.

If people want to talk about design issues, they should be allowed to talk about them *as design issues*. For instance, the thread about directory and filename structures is basically about UI design. If people want to discuss those ideas until they can come up with a UI feature that works, I think that is a good thing. If people make stupid suggestions they should be told that those suggestions are stupid.

However, everyone should not merely be encouraged to create an optional add-on, which is most likely badly designed, adding unneccessary weight and obfuscation to the program. We should be trying to make good design decisions as well as writing solid code; and the people that do one will not necessarily be the same people that do the other. If everyone that has commented on directory structures adds an optional module for viewing directories, we'll just have a confusing sprawl that takes up precious bytes when a single, simple system might have satisfied everyone.

Maybe we'll even come up with a UI feature that becomes standard on all MP3 players because of its ingenuity? We probably won't see any useful innovation like that if people aren't allowed to discuss their ideas, and everyone is expected to just implement every random thought that pops into their head.

- Robert

                    Robert E. Hak

"The idea that Bill Gates has appeared like a knight in
 shining armour to lead all customers out of a mire of technological chaos
 neatly ignores the fact that it was he who, by peddling second-rate
 technology, led them into it in the first place."
        -Douglas Adams, author
Received on 2002-08-15

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