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RE: setup.exe needs package name selection filter

On Fri, 20 Jun 2008, Dave Korn wrote:

> reikred wrote on 20 June 2008 02:08:
> > Christopher Faylor wrote:
> >> 
> >> Yes.  It's called
> >>
> "make-setup.exe-demands-and-then-sit-back-and-wait-for-people-to-implement-y
> >> 
> >> cgf
> >> 
> > 
> > Please read it in the spirit of a suggestion of a feature
> > that I think could be VERY useful to a lot of people, not
> > just the 1% of cygwin users that know how to implement it.
> > 
> > rr
>   It's definitely a good suggestion, quite possibly a great suggestion.
>   I think the point that cgf is getting at is that there is no shortage of
> suggestions or good ideas or enhancement requests or wish lists nor any
> difficulty in coming up with new ones.  But without a bit of getting-it-done
> elbow grease, a suggestion is really very little use on its own.

This is a recurring problem for the Free Software movement.  People
want Free Software to spread, and there are efforts, such as the
attempt to get a record number of downloads for Firefox 3, as
promotional activities.  But a constant theme is that suggestions
from users are not welcomed; instead they provoke various forms of
the response: "If you want it, send a patch".  This fails to
recognise that one reason programmers don't like maintenance
programming is that reading code is more difficult than writing it.
This is a pre-requisite for changing the code.  It also fails to
recognise that a user for one project who is completely unfamiliar
with the code base, may be busy contributing to other projects, and
that some suggestions may be very much easier for someone familiar
with the code than someone who is not.  Also, if users' suggestions
are (effectively) dismissed in this way, it will prevent the use of
Free Software by non-programmers, which runs counter to the desire
for it to spread.  Most of the potential users of Free Software are
non-programmers.  [Yes, this is less so for Cygwin.]

Clearly decisions are not made in the same way as for a software
business, where finance is fundamental, but I'd suggest that unless
the needs of users are given greater status, then Free Software
advocacy will be somewhat hobbled.  But as this is a cultural problem,
and there is no immediately obvious technical solution, I'm unsure
how one might practically improve the situation.  I do think more
thought should be given to it, though.

>     cheers,
>       DaveK


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