It's the process, stupid...
Published 2006-04-18 @ 16:14
(yes, as you can guess by the subject I’m highly irritated right now… calibrate accordingly)
Project repositories should build and install out of the box without much intervention on the developer’s part. Period. That is simply pragmatic. All scripts, recipes, data should be in the repository to make the checkout self-sufficient. 100% reproducible software should be a mandatory goal of all software projects. It should be as close to a 2-step process (check out and type make) as possible. How hard is that?
Go back and read that again. I’m asking for software to simply build (and preferably build simply). The shock! The horror! But really, how hard is that?
Yet, I keep running across developers who’s thinking is simply broken. There really isn’t any other rational explanation that I can come up with, no matter how I try to put myself in their shoes. Open source projects should build. Period. How hard is that???
The latest project I’m having problems with is RMagick. Not only does it not build out of the box (it even requires scripts that he doesn’t have in any source revision system), but the developer actually rejected my bug on the issue. How the hell are you going to get other developers actively working on your project if you don’t even want them building it? By acting that way you’ve violated the “open” part of “open source”.
RMagick has major process, build, and stability issues, esp on OSX. Every couple of weeks the damn thing breaks on one of the projects I’m working on. That is incredibly painful because builds of RMagick take 45 minutes or so. A simple tweak I submitted brings that down to less than 5 minutes. That tweak (and others I suggested via email) was later resubmitted by the developer without attribution, nice huh?
Building software… This is so far from rocket science that it isn’t funny.
In short, the project is borked, the author is aloof, and I’m wasting a ton of time on the software. I’m now looking at switching to GD2 or forking and making this open source project actually open. ZenMagic anyone? (eric hates the “k” and won’t work on it if it is “ZenMagick”)