Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Liberty of Complaint.

“Quit complaining, these people aren't being paid.”

That drivel is shoved at anyone who has a problem with a piece of open source software, and dares to point it out in a free support setting. It comes in a billion forms and is close friends with another foul concept called assumed knowledge, the idea that because something is free you are due no explanation of its workings.

My complaint is with open source developers generally. There's this huge attitude of entitlement that I see and would like to expose and annihilate. Just because the software is free, the developers feel they are entitled to a complaint free experience. This does not flow logically. The fact that most people miss this and other simple logical consequences derived from their own stated axioms is not surprising, logic hasn't been a part of American education for quite some time, and even when it was, it was a college level math adjunct.

It's simple. If you offer something up, you've accepted the responsibility for it. Kinda like burden of proof, if you make the claim, you have to back it up. This applies to software because your time is not a donation in any real sense. No act is selfless, or occurs in a vacuum. The primary motivation for development of software is pride and vanity. Development is an exercise of vanity, not charity. So cherish the thanks that you get but don't scorn the complaints as if they're somehow out of place for being made. As if because you didn't charge a fee to the complainer, no one has a right to point out issues and ask for repair.

If you try to get your name famous with software, you're going to get complaints, and since your goal was pride (else why put your name on it) then you need to see there is a price to be paid. You have a responsibility to live up to your claims. That claim being, in case you were wondering, the problem you wrote the software to solve. If it does not absolutely solve the problem, then you are going to get legitimate complaints. As opposed to complaints like “it wont do my laundry”.

In my opinion true open source software is actually quite rare. How much of it out there is truly public domain? Most of it seems restricted. Most software called “open source” usually just operates on a vanity economy. The number 13 is open source. I can sell it, no one owns it and I can modify it to my heart's content. What the majority of people call open source is a big step in the right direction but it is not above complaint.

Most software has an owner. Sure its free, but then again so were those AOL discs.

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I'm a politically and culturally subversive author with obsessive tendencies and a lot of free time. I feel a sense of personal responsibility for the fate of my species. My writing is the result.

My primary blog is at but this G+ profile is a far more active representation of my viewpoint.

Generally I feel the answer to society's ills are technological in nature not political or cultural.

Having said that, I do have political positions of course and I strongly feel that we need to embrace nuclear power and deploy a universal basic income.