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From Peter Becker <>
Subject Re: Similar Document Search
Date Mon, 25 Aug 2003 04:01:07 GMT
Brian Mila wrote:

>>amounts). I failed to find a way to get Lucene to give me this
>>information without hacking this or that. Considering the attention IR
>Excuse me if this is off-topic, but isn't hacking the code what open source
>software is all about?  
Not always, but quite often :-)

>I mean, its always better to try to do it with
>existing methods but if it can't, why not hack the source?  
Because you might need to put quite some effort into getting it right? 
Because you might do something someone else already did better -- which 
is not really against the spirit of hackerism, but I have so many other 
things to hack where I think I can do better than most people. Inverted 
file indexes is not my particular domain.

>If it works and
>people use it then it should probably be incorporated into the main source
>tree.  If poeple don't use it (or the hack is terribly ugly, which may be
>what you were referring to) then it doesn't make the cut.  
That needs exposure. If some Lucene code is hidden in the Haystack 
project, it won't get enough exposure IMO.

>In either case,
>I'm just wondering why I see many questions or answers include this almost
>standard reply.  I hack the source regularly to acheive a needed goal.
>Sure its not forward-compatible, but if I waited for the feature to be added
>on its own, our project would never get off the ground.
One of the important things about OSS for me is resuse and 
collaboration. If you hack things again and again without trying to turn 
it into something reusable, I'd say you constantly create small 
proprietary forks based on open source code but you are not part of any 
OSS effort. That's of course my point of view on OSS, but then you asked 
for it :-)

As a user of Lucene I missed some features. Part of the OSS culture is 
for me to tell others about this and maybe to try to find solutions. 
Mark's code seems to be one, so I proposed to consider adding it into 
some spot with better exposure for testing. And I don't seem to be the 
only person with the need for these features. I think Lucene would be 
better if these features were easily available. If the Lucene team 
doesn't think so -- fair enough, it is their project. But asking me to 
stop requesting features in a (hopefully) sensible way is pretty much 
against the spirit of OSS and hacker culture as far as I understand it.

Does that answer your questions?


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