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Comment Actions speak louder than words. (Score 5, Interesting) 322

Mozilla developers planned this last year, and when watchful users objected in the related issue, Mozilla staff closed it to comments. They then pushed the system-breaking change to the world, with no mention of it in the release notes. When users whose systems were broken said so in a bug report, Mozilla closed it to comments, too.

I understand the need to minimize clutter in bug reports, but by taking away the only existing channel for users to engage with decision-makers, Mozilla is effectively sticking their fingers in their ears and telling their community to suck it up. How ironic that this was done by Mozilla's engineering community manager. How telling that his public comment invited people to email him to discuss it directly (making himself look good on record), yet he has completely ignored email messages sent to him in the days since then.

I always thought that one of the open source community's greatest strengths was our dedication to helping one another. When I write free software, and encourage people to use and depend on it in their daily lives, I take care to avoid causing unnecessary problems for them in future updates, even if their needs are different from my own. If I do cause such a problem and a bunch of them take the time to identify and report it, I see that as a sign that I made a mistake, I take responsibility for my actions, and I return their favor by spending a bit of time reworking my design.

I do this work partly for personal satisfaction in creating quality software, and partly because I don't like jerking people around, but mostly because I know that my time donated to the community is repaid indirectly, through all the contributions those people make to other open source projects. One of them might be writing the documentation for my favorite version control system, another might be using unusual hardware that exposes an OS bug that I'll need fixed next year, and others might have donated money or suggested a good design idea to projects that make my life easier in some other way. I give a little in the short term, and in return, I receive a lot in the long term.

This ecosystem of diverse and indirect contributions works amazingly well. I don't believe we would have Firefox, Chrome, MacOS (remember its Mach & BSD roots?), Android, Linux, or hundreds of thousands of other wonderful things if not for people in different situations helping one another like this.

So, when developers of a project like Firefox shut out a cross-section of the community that made their jobs possible and from whom they will almost certainly continue to benefit over time, it seems greedy to me. When they deliberately break the systems of the people whom they encouraged to depend on their software, especially when it's something so integral to daily life as the web browser, it seems irresponsible to me. And when onlookers choose disrupt the ensuing discussions by slinging useless comments like "freeloader" or "works for me" at other community members despite receiving value every day from this same community, they seem like hypocritical trolls.

I think we can do better than this. The open source community thrives on diversity and collaboration. Firefox can be replaced, but if we become another monoculture of self-absorbed know-it-alls, we all will have lost an asset of immeasurable value.

tl;dr: Dear Mozilla, you're doing it wrong.

Comment Re:Fake news... (Score 2) 322

"This is simply not true."

It absolutely is true. ALSA is no longer an option in official or standard builds, and Mozilla does not support custom builds.

Even if they were supported, making custom builds of Firefox every time there's an update would be a waste of time, and sticking with a single custom build would be a foolish security risk. Easier and safer to switch browsers.

Also, Mozilla is planning to remove the compile-time option completely in Firefox 54, breaking ALSA systems even in custom builds.

Bye bye, Firefox.

Comment Re:Agreed, though even small projects grow (Score 1) 229

"I much prefer more organization than less."

I, too, like organized code. I'm just pointing out that dividing code into separate files is not the same thing as organizing it. I can organize code clearly and cleanly inside of a single file, while code split into multiple files/directories can be even harder to understand and navigate than it was in a single file. It depends more on the code structure than the file structure.

Of course, I also understand that you and I have had different experiences, most likely demonstrating different kinds of awful. :)

Comment Re:Good. Also specialization and heuristics (Score 1) 229

Most of what you wrote resonates with me, but the bit about organization of files could use some elaboration.

A single source code file can work well for many small projects, if the code within that file is well-organized. Meanwhile, spreading a project across multiple files and directories can be done to excess, and become an unwieldy nightmare pretty quickly. (Most Java projects I've seen are in the latter category, in no small part because the language encourages it.) A wilderness of files and directories that require automated tools to navigate can be almost as problematic as a big entangled wall of text.

As with so many things, someone who is good at this stuff will be able to find a good balance.

Comment I call them out, then block them (Score 1) 477

I've encountered a few of these people lately, too. Even worse is the type that I call "big fish in a little pond": someone who spends a ton of time responding to questions in a particular forum, but sometimes makes assertions that are grossly misleading or dead wrong, and attacks anyone posting information that undermines their message. I figure some of those are paid shills (the ones who consistently defend products/services in support forums) and others are probably just toxic people who love feeling authoritative.

I haven't figured out a universal way to deal with these people, but my best results so far have been to immediately call them out for being jerks, and if they persist, follow up with a post letting them (and the other readers) know that they have been blocked. Of course, I block them as well.

Submission + - Devuan: A systemd-free GNU/Linux distribution

An anonymous reader writes: The first forked from Debian systemd-free release is available: Devuan Jessie Beta 1.0 . See https://beta.devuan.org/ and links
therein. The files to download are at: https://files.devuan.org/ Finally available and long waited for :) If you want to upgrade from Debian Wheezy, just point /etc/apt/sources.list to: deb http://packages.devuan.org/mer... jessie main. Looking forward to the Ascii (testing) and Ceres (sid) versions soon.

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