Sending a sensible email. (was: PackageKit need to be more intelligent!)

Richard Hughes hughsient at
Thu May 13 08:30:22 UTC 2010

On 12 May 2010 21:58, João Neto <joao.gsneto at> wrote:
> The system package manager for Fedora to be smarter ...

This is a general point I'm making, not just about your email in particular.

There appears to be a trend on this list where a random user just
posts an inflammatory email with "ACME SOFTWARE IS RUBBISH". Now, if
the maintainer of that software is scanning the email list, bear in
mind he (or she) has likely spent a significant amount of time and
energy getting the software into the state you see it now. They
probably spend evenings and weekend closing duplicate bugs and fixing
trivial typos that people notice. If you title an email with such
rubbish then the maintainer is simply going to ignore it or spam it.
I'll explain why:

The way open source software works is you get the software for free.
If you don't like it, you get your money back. If you want an
additional feature, or a bug fixing really fast you either pay a Linux
company like Red Hat or Suse some money and they assign a developer to
work on it. If it's a big feature it's going to cost lots of money.

The other way is to join the software mailing list, and suggest the
new feature, and "sell" it to the maintainer. This means explaining
what you think the benefits are, and what you think needs to be done.
Bear in mind, that if most maintainers are like me, then they work on
lots of different projects, only with a finite amount of time to work
on each one. If you supply a patch, even if wrong, it shows you're
willing to help and the maintainer has to worry less about the
development overhead. If you state you're willing to test the feature
with the development version, then the maintainer is even more likely
to choose your feature over someone elses. Every line of code added is
a development maintenance overhead, and the software maintainer will
be aware of that.

Now, what you're asking for in your email we are working on. It's
called app-install, but needs lots of help from the Fedora
infrastructure people to actually make it happen. I'm hoping we can
get the infrastructure in place for F14.

The way Fedora is fundamentally different from Ubuntu (in my
experience) is that Ubuntu is perfectly willing to bodge some code on
top of an Ubuntu only project which is stuck together with sticky-tape
and string. The way I, as part of Fedora, work is that I design
projects and code that can be shared with other distributions so we
can all work together. But it takes longer, much longer. But in the
long run, it's the correct thing to do. I know that Fedora will be a
nicer place to be in five years time, because we're sharing code with
the other distros and working upstream. So you can appreciate a
developer getting annoyed when what he wrote is called rubbish when
compared with the Ubuntu $bodge_of_the_day.

Now, please don't take this email as a rebuke, just please be aware
that to make changes you have to follow the processes, not just
rubbish software on public mailing lists.



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