Marc makes a good point in his most recent blog entry.
Simply put, too many "squeaky wheels" like Eugenia have forgotten that, whenever they ask that a bug be fixed or a new feature be added, they're asking a developer for a favor. My mother taught me that when you ask for a favor:
- You ask politely, which may mean that you have to ask that person in a special manner (i.e. via bugzilla)
- You can't be overly-demanding, otherwise you'll be ignored (or worse...)
- If the favor gets done at all, it gets done on the favor-giver's timeframe
- If that person is unwilling to fulfill your request, say "thank you" and either go ask someone else, do it yourself, or forget about it entirely
- If/when the favor is fulfilled, express some modicum of gratitude to its giver.
I guess that it all boils down to the adage that "you'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."
I guess my problem is that, while I know Eugenia is a troll, she's brought her own soapbox and megaphone and she's pontificating from on top of it. And people are listening and even agreeing with her. And that really irks me.
The sheer reality of the situation is that your license to use our software doesn't include support. It doesn't include bugfixes. It doesn't entitle you to enhancements. You didn't pay for these things. And you get what you pay for.
By and large, it's not the developers who are screaming from the rooftops that "OSS is a better development model!" or "OSS helps the users out so much more than proprietary software." Those are the words of fanboys, "moguls" and latchers-on. They don't speak for me.
By and large, we developers are here doing our thing because we like doing it. We really do like when others find our stuff to be useful - so much so that we might start paying a good deal of attention to what they're saying. But that doesn't mean that users get to decide how I spend my hour between getting home from work and passing out.
Remember that being a prat makes us like doing our thing less. And that means that not only is whining not getting you anywhere, it's doing both you and the community a disservice. And that won't work out well for anyone involved.
That's not to say that a non-developer can't complain from time to time, file bugs, or request enhancements. In fact, these things are encouraged, provided he/she follows my mother's protocol. It's heart-warming when I see how a bugfix or enhancement helps a user.
But you must remember that when you ask for help, you must tread lightly. You must criticize constructively rather than destructively. All told, you'd do well to heed my mother's advice. Keep a sense of perspective. Read the Expectations document that Jesper Skov and I wrote four years ago. Take a deep breath, and move on. Life's too short.