25 Apr 2004
(updated 23 May 2004 at 19:12 UTC) »
OK, that took longer than expected, but I finally got Abiword v2.1.2 out the door. The reason that it took so long was that the ChangeLog was not ready yet. It was quite massive, and our not too descriptive commit messages hampered my progress quite a bit.
So, you might say, why not dump the raw messages in one big list and get on with it? I could do that, yes. However, I think it's very important to have a ChangeLog that mentions every single contribution that was made by our contributers. Every contribution can be very important, so it needs to get the proper attention. Let me explain.
I still clearly remember my 1st contribution. It was about 2 years ago. I tried Abiword every now and then, still being around version 0.7.12. For some reason, with every version I tried, I followed the same test pattern: Insert some text, Highlight a portion of it in the middle of the entered text, and hit View in webpage (or whatever it was called). Every release had the same bug: the highlight would continue up to the end of the line. This was always the point where I dumped Abi again, and got on with my life.
Until one day, I was bold (or bored) enough to download the source, grep through it looking for an HTML exporter thingy, and actually fix the bug. It took me about 2 full hours and it was a trivial 1-liner :). I started xchat and connected to #abiword at irc.gnome.org. Yay, people around. Heck, 3 even greeted me: hub, dom aka cinamod and Francis Franklin aka fjf. Neat. I greeted back. "Hi guys". "I've a fix for the Abiword HTML exporter". "dom: Great, could you send us a patch?". "I'd like to, but how to make a patch?" (yes, I didn't know a lot about OSS development back then). "dom: cvs diff -u <file>". "Ah, thanks". So I did, sent it to the mailing list. I hung around a bit for a reaction. "dom: Looks great, committed!". Didn't know what "committed" meant, but it looked like "your patch is accepted". After a "Thanks! Need to run!", I closed xchat, since I was already late for class.
A new version of AbiWord was released soon after the previous paragraph took place. IIRC, it was AbiWord 0.9.6. So I tried it. Usual testing sequence. Yay, my bug was fixed! No entry to be found in the ChangeLog though, so I was kinda dissapointed
However, this was the first time I gave something back to the OSS world, and it was accepted. By very kind and helpfull people as well. So I sayed around. Fixed some more trivial bugs that took me way too long to fix looking back. Currently, I'm active in nearly all area's of AbiWord's development. I add features, fix bugs, do releases, etc. And all because those 3 nice people greeted me, and made me feel welcome and my efforts appreciated.
So, to not to disappoint any contributers, I want the ChangeLog to be perfect. Maybe noone was in #abiword when some unknown contributer entered, and noone greeted him like hub, dom and fjf greeted me 2 years ago. At least he'll have the ChangeLog of the next release to look at, and see his name listed as a big "Thank You!" from the AbiWord developers. Hopefully, he'll stick around...