I was on the Ubuntu forums yesterday checking out a couple of threads and it struck me that we still haven’t managed to get out of a weird feeling that the amorphous developer community surrounding Ubuntu somehow owes the users who post wishlist threads a free ride.
For instance in one thread there is a general complaint that developers are not doing enough new things for lucid, or not enough testing, or enough stabilisation. When in fact the developers are doing exactly the right amount of development and exactly the right amount of work, based upon what their own needs and feelings are.
Of course this part is hard to understand for users that have been told that Ubuntu is a free lunch. Developers are under no obligation to do anything unless paid to do so. It doesn’t matter how many wishlist threads there are, few developers are ever going these things for ideas and I wonder if it’s actually a cry for help that these users don’t know how to get involved. I’m reminded of this phrase:
“Too many Chefs and not enough Cooks”
Yes FOSS gives you the power to be your own Chef, to say what you like and don’t like, to use what you find useful and to dismiss anything you don’t. But along with that it gives you the responsibility to be your own cook too. You have to work at what you need and it’s only useful to complain when your hoping to strike up a decent and productive discussion.
Perhaps this is why the Opportunistic Developer project is important, to try and convince more Chefs to get down and do some of the grunt work in solving their problems. I just wish there was an Opportunistic Payment project that allows people who can’t contribute time, to at least be able to push development forward with good old fashioned money.