Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 23rd Feb 2007 17:38 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Debian and its clones Last September, some of the Debian Linux distribution's leadership wanted to make sure that Etch, the next version of Debian, arrived on its December 4th due date. Almost two months later, though, according to the February 17th Release Critical Bug Report memo to the Debian Developers Announcement list, there are still 541 release critical bugs.
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Seriously though, I think that this issue brings up on a small scale some of the questions about a world of only Free software that Stallman and FSF supporters have yet to answer adequately. Mainly: Will developers work for free, and if not, who will pay them?

To fine tune that argument further - Will developers work on fixing bugs in software that don't interest them; in otherwords, will they fix a bug that doesn't affect them directly or indirectly? this isn't an attack on the programmers, just bringing up the old notion of self interest.

Its like communism; are you willing to work and give what you can and only take what you need? same goes with programming, for many, its an interest outside their full time occupation, so there fore, is there any incentive for them to work on things that don't affect them directly?

One idea which I like is the idea of bounty's for key bugs or features required - provide an incentive for people to work on the rather unglamorous parts of the software and receive a reward for their hardwork.

Money shouldn't be the only reward; for example, Sun could offer a free workstation, 3 year Solaris and developer subscription for someone who comes up with a replacement for the current sound API - the amount it would cost Sun? sweet bugger all; benefit to their customers; massive to the point that it can't be measured in dollars alone.

As for Stallmans world; its based on the assumption that firstly languages will get to the point that they'll be so high level that almost any man and his dog and contribute; it also assumes that the end user will advance in skills - 20 years of IT so far and I can assure you that the average end user is just as dense, if not more, than they were 20 years ago.

The other assumption is this; that those who work in large companies maintaining large amounts of infrastructure will have employers who are willing for their employees to spend part of the day working on an opensource project that helps their business - considering that the in vogue thing for managers is to scream outsource when in doubt, as if it were the panacea to all of lifes problems, I doubt the above secenario would happen as it would rely on a number of companies working together on the one project in co-operation rather than simply re-inventing the wheel at each company - that would require common sense, which many businesses lack.

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dylansmrjones Member since:

20 years of IT so far and I can assure you that the average end user is just as dense, if not more, than they were 20 years ago.

Because the average user is receiving increasingly less education. There is however some changes on the way, and I can say for sure, that younger computer users are a lot more tech-savvy than the former generations. It'll happen - but it takes time.

The only problem I can see would be a lack of women in the IT-sector. Not that they don't exist - they do - but there are quite few of them.

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