Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm lazy, and you should be too!

(rant inbound)

I just saw this post in my RSS reader (not sure where it originated from). It's a little ditty about how lazy some developers are, and how the Pyro desktop project had to change from Bazaar to Subversion because people were unwilling to install the Bazaar command-line client.


No, seriously, SURPRISE!

I'm lazy, and you should be too, because we've both got shit to do.

I've got work, you've got work. I've got hobbies, you've got hobbies.

In the small amount of free time I've got, do you really think its realistic that I'll learn a new technology to possibly contribute to a project that I might find interesting? Getting interest in the project is a stretch, but you want me to devote time and energy to something else entirely (another version control system)?

Better yet, the guy harkens back to a time when you'd check something out of source control and the build would be broken. Harkens. Maybe I'm too young -- I'm only 24 -- but the very thought of trying to get contributors for a project that won't even build straight from source control is ridiculous. I don't find the concept of ME having to fix YOUR mess because you were too lazy to make sure it works fun or productive at all. That concept is not enamoring, no.

Then again, I'm a firm subscriber to keeping your broken shit in branches and making sure every check-in to trunk works de-facto.

Anyway, back to the point of my rant, if it had one: unless the technology in question is so amazingly awesome you were going to pick it up sooner or later anyway, why should you have to bother? It's not my idea of fun, to be honest.

I've had very little free time to myself this year, so when I decided to pick up a new web development language/framework, I wanted something I could actually use without having to pick up a bunch of extra baggage along the way -- that's why I chose Rails instead of, say, Seaside or whatever that clusterfuck of parenthesis is. Rails, and Ruby, being the extremely straight-forward beasts they are, were a perfect fit: no extra bullshit to set things up, no extra bullshit to get started. You hit the ground running and it feels good.

If I can't hit the ground running with a OSS project, I'm not interested in contributing to it.


I always wanted to end a blog post like that!


Carmine said...


Would like to establish some dialogue how can I get in touch with you outside the blog? please email the answer to

Bet's On said...

Why's that?

(just checking to see if you're a spam-bot or not)

Carmine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carmine said...

I'm not a bot!

...I get that allot....

This is in regards to a development project.

Alex said...

Hey dude, awesome post! I just saw it in the trackback thingy on my original post.

I'm only 27 after all, so maybe harkening was kinda silly.

When GNOME was starting out, shit was broken constantly. If we had been lazy and not fixed it, it wouldn't have grown into anything.

These days I'm kinda dismayed because I see a bunch of my projects (Gimmie, Pyro, Tomboy, etc) that I put a lot of time into (and that I think are super cool) being discarded by lazy people who won't put enough up front investment into something that is brand new to help it grow into something.

So instead of doing the actually interesting (in a life-altering sense) work, I have to spend >30% of my free time making my code work on people's arbitrary Linux setups, and building packages, so they'll give it the time of day. I think that's pretty lame.

That said, it's obviously my own fault for targeting such a difficult platform, Linux, but that doesn't mean I can't complain about it! :-)

Anyway, my newest project is up at It's Java-based, and works on OSX and Win32 without extra work (unless I've broken something recently).

Give it a try! It doesn't hurt too much. Take my software! Please!

Bet's On said...

Hi Alex,

I wasn't trying to harsh on you specifically. I like to rant, is all. :)

I know it seems lame to package up your projects to distribute them but that's the reality of it -- Linux isn't all about half-broken software that takes a lot of tinkering to get up and running anymore. People have gotten used to software that Just Works, so when you try to ply something that isn't incredibly straight forward, they'll look at you like you just pushed over their grandmother.

Please don't push over any grandmothers after reading this.

PS: I tinkered with Evergreen for a few minutes. It doesn't check for for a /tmp directory on Windows when running its ruby script.

Aside from that, I didn't have make or cygwin installed on that box, and I'm in the process of unbreaking my Linux virtual machines -- so maybe I'll have another look at it later. ;)