Why i don't send a patch

or... why i dislike some software maintainers attitude

Written 2004-08-20 or so, HTML markup 2004-09-13.

Note: this text is about bugs, not about wish list entries.

I sometimes happen to stumble about bugs in software. Sometimes i try to tell the software maintainers about them. Sometimes these maintainers ask me to send a patch. Sometimes i do, sometimes i don't.

No, i will not. Period.

There's a number of possible reasons for that:

  1. I'm not doing your homework. Free software is not about creating bad code so that the rest of world does the debugging.
  2. I haven't got the time to go through the code, fix some mistake, code the fix according to the coding style in use and send a patch. My time is limited and very valuable to me. Your time isn't that valuable to me. Let's agree to disagree here, OK?
    This gets even worse if:
    1. i have to send a fax or paper to someone. I will not.
    2. the coding style in use is an offense.
    3. the language used is an atrocity.
  3. I may not even plan do use your software. It's quite possible that i
    1. just had a look into it and decided against using it. There are a number of different reasons for this. Among them are:
      • your software doesn't do what i need to get done.
      • the sad state of the software made me want to cry or laugh.
    2. decided that i do not trust your software anymore and will use a replacement.
    3. looked into it to see how something is done and noticed some kind of problem while doing that.
    4. your software makes system maintenance harder by depending on too many other packages.
  4. I don't have any good solution to the problem.
  5. I have found a possible solution but think that someone with more inside knowledge might be able to code it much faster.
  6. I know that i, would i start to work on the software, would end up rewriting large parts of it and would possibly start with the "MAINTAINERS" list.
  7. I don't subscribe to your style of programming.
  8. I'm completely unable to find the cause of the problem in the mess created by the programmers.
  9. The mistake is so stupid that the coder responsible for it can learn something important from fixing it. This most likely applies to the kind of trouble caused by not testing code.

Why i dislike some software maintainers attitude

Please stop thinking that just because you wrote or maintain a piece of more or less free software, you are the smartest and most important guy around.

Because the truth is this: You are not! You are just another coder with attitude problems and a vastly less than perfect coding history.

And i may be, with or without my consent, your beta tester, but i am not your coding slave. I'm likely to be annoyed by the bug found. It may have stolen quite some of my valuable time. Therefore at least try to be polite.

I do not mind if you do *not* fix the problem(s) i found. I understand that coding take time, tests take time and releases take even more time. You are not my coding slave, but I'm also not yours. And I'm really tired of the "send a patch" command.