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From Stefano Mazzocchi <stef...@apache.org>
Subject Re: [tale+rant] The 2.0 syndrome and [Vote]: Final Release Date
Date Sat, 24 Nov 2001 12:06:24 GMT
Carsten Ziegeler wrote:
> 
> Hi Stefano,
> 
> a really nice fairy tale...
> 
> I totally agree with you, that we should get this release out very soon,
> but as the last months when we released the betas and the rcs showed,
> there were many new users which very totally frustrated with c2 as they
> didn't get it working. And I think 80% of them could have been helped
> if the documentation were more complete. OK, they all could use the
> mailing lists to get their problems fixed, but the usual user doesn't
> want to do so. He will something which simply works. And I really
> don't want to say: "Who cares about them?" And I personally don't want to
> say: "Hey, it's opensource, so what do you expect?"

Oh, c'mon, did I ever say that?

My point is entirely different: what would you choose? a perfect project
with a perfect documentation that takes three years to get out, or a
nice project with sloppy documentation that takes two and adds
documentation down the road?

*final* in my vocabulary doesn't mean *perfect*, doesn't even mean *the
way I'd love it to be*.

It simply means: I don't expect much back-compatible changes in the
contracts between the framework and the user's code.

Period.

Everything else can (and *must*, I totally agree) come after this.

Another choice: would you like a software with sloppy docs but solid
contracts or software with nice docs but contracts that change every
bugfix release?

> We all here know that Cocoon is a great piece of softwarwe, but for
> what, if noone except some geeks can use it? Ok, you argue that
> all these users will join the developer site and help us. This
> might be true. Who knows this?

Nobody knows, but my personal experience (judge the value of it
yourself) tells me that sloppy docs never harmed any open source project
(linux kernel project was successful much before the linuxdoc project
started), while moving targets did.
 
> So, my plan was to get as much documentation as possible and use
> this time to sort out some other areas (like the directory structure
> etc. in the meantime). Not all of us are capable of writing good
> documentation and they can spend their time on the other things.
> But of course, you're a right that the directory structure should
> not delay the release.
> 
> Ok, at least, the gap between our opinion about the final release
> date is not that wide.
> Let's see how we can make it? What about this? We leave the directory
> structure as it is for now and we add any documentation that is currently
> in the pipeline. If noone is currently working on documentation,
> we will do the release on monday as proposed some month ago.
> If there is someone working on it, he should comeup now and say if he
> it is worth waiting for it.

Carsten,

you've been the third release coordinator of this project (myself and
giacomo before you) and, IMO, you've done an absolutely outstanding job.

My tale/rant was *NOT* a critic to your proposal of directory changing,
but a more general critic to the "priority list" that this project seems
to have adopted.

Is documentation more important than contract solidity? NO! Never! You
should not sacrifice *any* solidity for docs.

Again: is lack of commercial-quality documentation harmful for an open
source project? NO! It might slow down adoption (this is absolutely
correct) but sometimes it's even a good filter.

Even more: which software is better to build a community around it? a
perfect codebase or a buggy codebase? the *buggy* one!!!

The *one* and *only* thing that harms an open source project is lack of
solidity in the contracts (being them protocols, interfaces, APIs,
schemas, design patterns) and lack of solidity and diversity in the
development community.

Please, read my lips: I'm NOT advocating that Cocoon should *NOT* have a
good documentation or that Cocoon devs should not be making all possible
efforts to make Cocoon simpler to use.

I'm *JUST* saying that documentation and usability (despite their
absolute and invaluable importance) [not even mentioning cosmetic
cleanup] should *NOT* be *showstoppers* for a *FINAL* release.

My simple idea is: let's get the release out and then improve it later
on.

I'm *NOT* advocating: let's get the shit out and let the users dig into
it, we'll move on talking about RTs and more sexy stuff.

I'm simply saying that postponing further the final release for some
showstoppers that should not stopping any open source project, is
hurting more than any addition that we could add.

So, please, let's come up with a *showstopper* list and we'll identify
which one is really stopping the release and what is not and can be
postponed later on.

Thanks.

-- 
Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<stefano@apache.org>                             Friedrich Nietzsche
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