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Pissing Contests – Nobody is a Winner

Here we go again with what I am calling the Linux Pissing Contest. See, years ago it was browser wars, then it was desktop wars, now it is contributor wars. All are useless, I don’t care how you break them down. Today, I read a post on Linux Journal titled, Who Contributes the Most to LibreOffice?.

The answer is simple, WHO CARES. First and foremost, I have nothing against the author. I am just tired of these pissing contests. First it was who contributes the most to the kernel. And then you had a bunch of immature people attacking this distribution and that distribution. Why write stuff like this? What does it prove? Who does it help? What are you all trying to prove? Thus far, everyone of these pissing contests have been about quantity and nothing about quality.

If you are one of those who strive to have the most commits for a project because you think it is cool, well then this is for you:

Bozo-Button

UPDATE: This is for a little clarification. The post that LJ did is exactly the type of post(s) that lead to the entire Kernel commit bullcrap that went on 2 years ago. The same thing will happen with this one, and if you follow other Linux or Open Source news things, they are already picking up on it and each one points out the same exact thing. Sure, 133 new contributors, but who are they? Do they all work for Novell or Red Hat, because that is who LJ really focused on in terms on names and the amount. Then LJ brought up Canonical, and then added the, “They contributed the Human theme and a later fix…” They don’t see what the 133 new contributors committed, or what Novell or Red Hat committed. It is just another cheap stab, and this is what kicks off the pissing contests.

I should probably also make it clear that I am not a fanboy who is enraged, I am not crazy about Canonical either. I use Kubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, and Arch on all of my machines, so I am not sticking up for anyone here. I am just trying to point out that these pissing contests that kick off are what make us look like a joke to the “mainstream“.

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  • sdASAFSD

    • If I want to see who contributed, or cared enough I guess, I would research it for myself. In this case, yea, like Juanjo said above, there are 133 new coders and 55 localizers, but they don’t tell you much more about them, unlike they do with Red Hat, Novell, and Canonical.

      This is exactly how the Kernel crap kicked off a couple of years ago.

      • Actually the kernel crap was kicked off by an unnamed Google staffer sitting in on GKH talk at Google’s campus. The point of that talk was to shame/conjole/scare Google into contributing more. Someone in the audience specifically asked about Canonical’s contribution level and GKH made an offhanded comment about lack of contribution. And that short sidebar discussion snowballed into the myopic hunt for Canonical contribution. He had actually given that talk to other companies. but this one happened to have been recorded and put on the internet..and it just happened to have a direct question about Canonical’s involvement. If that question had not been asked by an audience member, we’d have avoided this treadmill entirely.

        And shameful I must admit I got caught up in that. For my part I did so in an effort to challenge Canonical to do more and I’ve tried to publicly state my praise when I see someone talking about Canonical’s upstream contributions (whatever they are enumerated) But whatever my intentions where, they don’t justify whatever damage I might have done if I have encouraged people to focus on the lack of contribution instead of focusing on encouraging them to do more.

        -jef

  • I think the article is interesting because it shows there are a lot of new contributions (133 new coders and 55 localizers since the fork!), which may mean that the project it’s in a good shape and has a good future ahead.

    May be I got it wrong, but it doesn’t look to me like a “pissing contest”.

    • This is exactly what starts the pissing contest. Cool, they have 133 new coders, but they don’t concentrate on them as individuals, they concentrate on Red Hat, Novell, and Canonical, that’s where the pissing starts.

      • English is not my first language. That said, I haven’t seen it that way. They go thought the data, explaining the chart.

        In fact I’d have expected some excitement about the good numbers, but the post looks quite neutral to me.

        • Oh, don’t get me wrong, the fact they talk about the new contributors is great, but they don’t really tell you much about them other than they are there. They speak about the big 3 distros, and at the end throw in that jab at Canonical about contributing only the Human Theme. I have updated my post to reflect that.

          FYI, first language or not, you understood it I can tell ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

          • Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any special interest in advocating in favour of LJ ๐Ÿ˜‰

            May be you’re right and this starts a pissing contest. We’ll see, but meanwhile… cheer up! Lots of new contributions! Go LibreOffice!

          • hehe, I am all cheery. Maybe I should make it known as well, I am not a fan of LibreOffice, and it isn’t anything against them, I just don’t like big bloated office suites. But I still want to see them be successful.

  • The most interesting question is for all those new contributors how important to them was the dropping of the requirement to assign copyright to a corporate entity. How big of a barrier to contribution is copyright assignment in the scope of the OpenOffice/LibreOffice fork.

    That is the most important question. Are the new independent contributors there in part because of the dropping of the assignment policy? Are there new corporate contributors because of the dropping of the assignment policy? These are key questions that can help every project understand the role that copyright assignment policies play as barriers to entry.

    -jef

    • Damn good point Jef, I think you need to lead the effort on that one ๐Ÿ™‚ It seems nobody else cares about that type of info, but rather who committed how much. I am willing to bet the reasons you put out there are definitely valid for many, but I would think that the new contributors could be doing so in order to spite Oracle, I have witnessed new contributors in other projects that started just to spite something else.

      • I think Oracle spite would show up as a spike of contribution and tail off in a quarter. I’m not sure spite could sustain itself. If it were fueled by Oracle spite i doubt the level of contribution would have resumed after the holiday drop.

        But as to Canonical contribution…..
        ithout nitpicking the relative level of contribution from Canonical…because that is not my intent… I am interested in knowing why Canonical didn’t contribute prior to the fork and now they are. I somehow doubt its Oracle spite. But did copyright assignment play a role in Canonical’s own decision making to staff resources into helping with LibreOffice upstream when they were not helping OpenOffice under prior management. I think’ll you understand why this question is personally important to me.

        -jef

        • Anonymous

          No it didn’t.

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