ncm: yea, unfortunately working for a company means that somehow I have forefeited my right to tell them to send me a patch (or so some of these users seem to think based on their attitude in the past when I've requested a patch, even though they aren't paying customers).
Today I had a pleasant interaction with a user who requested inline-pgp support in Evolution. I told him that we were only interested in supporting PGP/MIME but that I would accept a patch. He replied and said that he would look into it though he said he would not guarentee he'd get to it. Fair enough - in fact, this is the kind of response I like to hear. Unfortunately it seems so rare these days.
Maybe it's because so many users these days are ex-Windows users who are used to making demands and not used to someone refusing. I think they are forgetting that in Windows land, you are *paying* for products and as such you have the right to complain (at least in my opinion you do - if I pay for something, I sure as hell feel I should have the right to complain about stuff). Conversely, in Free Software land, you aren't paying the developer and so I feel the user doesn't have that implicit right to complain. It doesn't matter if said developer is being paid for his efforts or not (unless said user is the one paying the developer).
I guess it boils down to: if you aren't paying the developer, then you have no right to make demands. You can politely ask for a feature, but keep in mind that this is asking a favour and as such, the developer has the right to refuse.
I think the world would be a happier place if users kept this last bit in mind. I know I'd certainly be happier. And when I'm happy, I'm more likely to implement your feature :-)
Today when I went to Il Giardino's (a small Italian restaurant down the street from Ximian's office), I noticed that the atmosphere was pretty nice (actually, I always notice this but for the purpose of this example, lets pretend I noticed it for the first time today). Anyways, I noted that customers used "please" and/or "thank you"'s and were generally polite. I also noticed that when you order a sub or a slice of pizza, people generally say "Can I have a slice of pizza and a coke?" and then a "Thanks" and sometimes even a "Have a nice day". Bugzilla reports and firstname.lastname@example.org requests rarely are made in such a polite manner. They are usually more like a demand than a request and I'm wondering if it is because people forget that real people are on the other end of the mailing list and/or bugzilla.
bytesplit: I hope my comments above answer some of your questions.
As an aside, I've also noticed that it seems bugzilla requests on bugzilla.gnome.org are more polite than those on bugzilla.ximian.com. This brings me back to the theory that people feel that they have a right to make demands if a company is backing a project - regardless of whether or not they are paying for the software.
Also note that I am not against making software easier to use for simpleton users (not meant as derogatory), I just want the respect that I feel I deserve. Perhaps I shouldn't take their rudeness and/or complaints so personally but that's just the way I am. Maybe that means I have a low self-esteem or something. I don't know. I just know my feelings are hurt. I've spent a *lot* of time hacking on Evolution and I take a lot of pride in my work.
I hope this provides insight into "what makes fejj tick" ;-)