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Give back to the community (please?)

Last week, I was ticked off by the behavior of a colleague: he complained the duplicated code panel in Sonar was not explicite enough. When I remarked he could give feedback to the Sonar team, he replied he had other things to do!

As for me, I use OpenSource projects since a while back: Struts was my first, but now there are the whole Apache frameworks (Log4J, CXF and Commons just to name a few), Spring, Hibernate, Vaadin of course but also tools like Maven, Hudson/Jenkins, Sonar and the list goes on! All these projects are not only open sourced, they are free – as a beer! Even better, all of them have detailled documentation and a user base that equivalent commercial products sometimes lack.

Of course, companies publishing these frameworks aren’t there for the glory, they have to earn money. And yet, I can use them “as-is” and have the framework behave just like for a regular enteprise paying user. I don’t think there are many industries in the world where the production bricks are available at no cost as is the case in the software industries.

However, using these frameworks/tools without paying is a one-way deal. Yet, we can provide editors with a much valued thing: feedback. Commercial editors use time and money to conduct surveys that will direct their development effort. But just as we are provided with free products, we can provide OpenSource software editors with a costly resource, our own opinion.

That’s why it’s very important to take only 10 minutes to fill an issue or an enhancement request. Besides, it will benefit all of us in the next product version. So please provide your favorite editor with feedback!

Note: since the initial complaint was not fully unjustified, I’ve filled a Jira describing the request

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  1. July 12th, 2011 at 06:13 | #1

    Well well, first focus on the problem, the problem is ABSOLUTE disregard for users requirement / Ux by Open Source community, best example is dragging the dead horse called Command Line interface for 20 years.

    Now, about feedback, its a Ux problem, if i get a problem in software there should be a simple form to fill right in the software it self, i am not gona create a login account for that, i dont have time and the bug has already made me mad, hope u get the psychology behind users giving up in frustration.

  2. Guy
    July 16th, 2011 at 18:29 | #2

    For the first point, well if you don’t like it, don’t use it 🙂 Open Source products are generally driven by real world needs, not commercial vision of user needs, even if now many products are based on a commercial vision. And please do not restrict Open source to Ux world. Open Source products covers a lot more than just Ux. I love also your command line example: Microsoft offers now Power Shell environment v2 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_PowerShell) as standard in their new products (Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008). Why then ? Because users simply need it… Focus on problem ? Right tool for the right job. I have seen so many people doing calculation tables in MS Word and doing the sum by hand.

    Let’s talk about feedback. Your point focus only on end-user software but Nicolas’ post is about a much brighter set of software components. Nicolas and his colleague are software developers. They use hundreds of software components that simply have no user interface, no end-user features. They are some kind of bricks that build up the final solution. Thus you just make a generalization of a small part of software that Nicolas’ writing about.

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