Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I Blog Because I Care

My dad used to have a sweater that read: “I yell because I care”. For anyone with kids I'm sure you understand. As the year comes to and end, we often start putting things in perspective. We start thinking about what is important to us and what we take for granted.

With all the talk recently on Planet Eclipse about what is Eclipse and who makes it up, one thing became obvious, we all write about it because we care. Of course some people get paid to work on Eclipse, and some may even get paid to blog about it, but everyone who has written recently puts more than their 40 hours in.

If Eclipse is Steve, Wayne, Alex, Mike M., David, Eugene, etc... then Eclipse really deserves a big thank-you. A thank-you to Wassim who was online at 3am answering my questions, A thank-you to Ed Merks, who gets to work around 6 to continue. Thank-you to Randy who actually took time to look and comment on ideas I had. Thank-you Eclipse!

With an open system that spans the globe, people's words can often be misinterpreted. What one person sees as an example of something that can be improved, someone else sees as a criticism of their work. While there are things we can improve about Eclipse, there is a lot we have done right. I think this gets overlooked sometimes. So next time you are reading a blog about everything wrong with your favorite feature or the criticizing the bug you worked so tirelessly on, remember, people are only writing about it because they care. And if anyone feels I offended them on bug report or blog post, we'll get together (hopefully at EclipseCon), I'll buy you a drink and we can share a few eclipse stories :)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Eclipse is you, but some of you are more important

Bjorn and Doug both talked about how Eclipse is us! Us, not as committers, not as paid employees, not even us as bloggers on, but as members of the Eclipse Community. Bjorn, Doug, I agree!

However, I think this line of thought works a little bit better in theory than it does in practice. Without drawing attention to any one component or bug report, I doubt *just anyone* could start using Eclipse and fix bug #X or completely understand the design behind feature #Y. This is not because we are incapable or lazy, but rather we cannot do it the Eclipse Way, the way the *owner* of the component wants it done. That is akin to saying anyone can just change the linux kernel and Linus would be happy to apply the patch. While patches come from contributors, committers are the ones who have to maintain them. I have seen features come to Eclipse as part of a patch, only to have them rejected because they were not something that has perceived value for enough of the community. And this is a judgment call that a single committer can make.

And this only scratches the surface when it comes to frustration. There are bug reports that have been open for years. Some with little or no feedback. Some with patches than can be applied (or at least they could have when the patch was submitted), still waiting in the queue. In this case, someone took the time to report the problem, they spent their energy fixing it instead of complaining about it, and in the end, nothing changed.

I don't want people to get the wrong impression here. I have missed bug reports, I have forgotten to commit patches and I have decided not to fix a bug because it doesn't fit in the overall design of a component. Nobody's perfect and sometimes we need a little reminder, but for some of the more mature projects at, you have to be well respected even to get a response.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Java 6.0!

Sun has officially released Java 6.0! There are still several organizations that are reluctant to move to Java 5. I wonder if they will move there now that Java 5 is officially *old technology* :).