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Re: Re: What to do when a module is no longer being maintained

by ichimunki (Priest)
on Feb 10, 2001 at 18:30 UTC ( #57625=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: What to do when a module is no longer being maintained
in thread What to do when a module is no longer being maintained

Hoping not to start a semantic debate, but the phrase "open source" does not mean anything other than "viewable source code" when taken at face value.

When dealing with Free software, it is good to remember that the freedom to fork or replace something doesn't always make it a good idea to do so.

In this case, the author may not wish to maintain the original module, or he/she may simply need some time to digest the patch, recover from illness, etc. Unless the code is from Damian Conway, most module authors are not paid to be full time Perl gurus and get to things when they can.

In the meantime, BlueLines has a working patch that adds his feature. Which proves that Free software is working. And obviously if his/her company is going to distribute a package of software they will use this if they cannot get an improved 'official' patch in time.

I would hope for the sake of users everywhere and the Free software community as a whole that Mandrake and Red Hat communicate as often as possible about changes and extensions. Technically they are not in the business of selling software widgets, so it seems wasteful to reproduce the same extensions at both companies. However, if they check with one another, and Red Hat says they don't plan to do XYZ, then of course Mandrake will go ahead and do XYZ, and hopefully someone at Red Hat will pay a marginal amount of attention to the progress of XYZ.

In the case of things like Linux kernels, obviously Linus or Alan Cox are not going to spend their time moving the kernel to some new platform, but groups working on extensions routinely submit patches back to the maintainers as often as possible.

While most Free software is the brainchild of one developer or a small group of developers, each project usually has a large team of peripherally interested parties as well. Doing things like communicating, having patience, asking permission are all parts of good teamwork.
  • Comment on Re: Re: What to do when a module is no longer being maintained

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Re: Re: Re: What to do when a module is no longer being maintained
by sierrathedog04 (Hermit) on Feb 10, 2001 at 22:14 UTC
    At least initially there was no cooperation between Red Hat and MandrakeSoft at all. A founder of MandrakeSoft says in an Inside Magazine article that:
    "It was 1998, and KDE had just come out. He Gael Duval wanted to take Red Hat the Linux distribution, remove the crappy interface, install KDE in its place and make the user links a bit easier."
    Red Hat for its part appears not to object after the fact to what Mandrake has done. Indeed, they should not object. I started using Mandrake 7.2 because it was the only Linux that would recognize my video card. I got so hooked on Linux/Perl that I installed Red Hat 5.1 on a second, smaller laptop that did not have enough memory for Mandrake 7.2.

    So now —thanks to Mandrake having copied Red Hat— I am using Red Hat more than I would have otherwise. If BlueLines goes ahead and releases an upgrade to the original Perl module he upgraded then his release will stimulate interest in the original module. Maybe it will even motivate the original developer to start working on it again.

    There is no need to delay releasing the upgrade for months while engaging in a search for the original author.

      I think that ichimunki nailed it. A good introduction to customs when deciding to maintain an open source project may be found here. The case of Red Hat versus Mandrake is very different since they are competing businesses. Normally there is quite a bit of value in not trying to get into squabbles about who is supposed to be maintaining what.

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