[linux-dvb] why opensource will fail

Steven Toth stoth at linuxtv.org
Tue Sep 16 01:37:50 CEST 2008

Tim Lucas wrote:
>     Message: 7
>     Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2008 16:31:16 -0400
>     From: Steven Toth <stoth at linuxtv.org <mailto:stoth at linuxtv.org>>
>     Subject: Re: [linux-dvb] why opensource will fail
>     To: Paul Chubb <paulc at singlespoon.org.au
>     <mailto:paulc at singlespoon.org.au>>
>     Cc: linux dvb <linux-dvb at linuxtv.org <mailto:linux-dvb at linuxtv.org>>
>     Message-ID: <48CC2314.4090800 at linuxtv.org
>     <mailto:48CC2314.4090800 at linuxtv.org>>
>     Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>     Paul Chubb wrote:
>      > Hi,
>      >      now that I have your attention:-{)=
>     .... You've also had my attention in the past, if I recall I have you
>     tips about not using cx_write, instead using cx_set/cx_clear.
>     Your latest patch still doesn't have those changes btw. ;)
>      >
>      > I believe that this community has a real problem. There appears to be
>      > little willingness to help and mentor newcomers. This will limit the
>      > effectiveness of the community because it will hinder expansion of
>      > people who are both willing and able to work on the code. Eventually
>      > this issue  will lead to the community dying simply because you have
>      > people leaving but few joining.
>     I disagree with everything you've just said, but that's just my opinion.
>      >
>      > The card I was working on has been around for  a while now. There
>     have
>      > been three attempts so far to get it working with Linux. Two in this
>      > community and one against the mcentral.de <http://mcentral.de>
>     tree. Both attempts in this
>      > community have failed not because of a lack of willingness of the
>     people
>      > involved to do the hard yards but because of the inability of the
>      > community to mentor and help newcomers.
>     Did I not try to help you? The one piece of initial feedback I gave you,
>     you ignored. (see my opening statement).
>     I'm always willing to help people, but they also have to demonstrate
>     that they are applying themselves, doing basic research, asking specific
>     questions ... rather than, here's my patch - and What's Wrong with it.
>      >
>      > The third attempt by a Czech programmer succeeded, however it is
>      > dependent on the mcentral.de <http://mcentral.de> tree and the
>     author appears to have made no
>      > attempt to get the patch into the tree. The original instructions to
>      > produce a driver set are in Czech. However instructions in
>     english for
>      > 2.6.22 are available - ubuntu gutsy. I will soon be putting up
>      > instructions for 2.6.24 - hardy. They may even work  for later
>     revisions
>      > since the big issue was incompatible versioning.
>      >
>      > I understand from recent posts to this list that many in the
>     community
>      > are disturbed by the existence of mcentral.de
>     <http://mcentral.de>. Well every person from
>      > now on who wants to run the Leadtek Winfast DTV1800H will be
>     using that
>      > tree. Since the card is excellent value for what it is, there
>     should be
>      > lots of them. Not helping newcomers who are trying to add cards
>     has led
>      > and will lead to increased fragmentation.
>     So port the mcentral.de <http://mcentral.de> details into the
>     kernel, I doubt they'll be
>     significantly different.... we're talking about adding support for an
>     existing card, it's not a lot of engineering work.
>      >
>      > And before you say or think that we are all volunteers here, I am a
>      > volunteer also. I have spent close to 3 weeks on this code and it is
>      > very close to working. The biggest difference between working code in
>      > the mcentral.de <http://mcentral.de> tree and the patch I was
>     working on is the firmware that
>      > is used.
>     ... and your efforts are valuable.
>     Markus (mcentral.de <http://mcentral.de>) is paid to work on Linux,
>     just to be clear.
>     Your last message on that thread said: "xc2028 2-0061: xc2028/3028
>     firmware name not set!"
>     You could of asked a second time before taking the opportunity to vent,
>     and taking the community to task.
>     Showing patience and perseverance is what most other newcomers
>     demonstrate.
>      >
>      > Finally you might consider that if few developers are prepared to
>     work
>      > on the v4l-dvb tree, then much of the fun will disappear because
>     those
>      > few will have to do everything.
>     Whether we have 3 people or 30, it's never enough.
>     In my experience, people who join the list then vent all over it are
>     rarely around long enough to make a difference. They often think they
>     know more about the community than the community itself.
>     On the other hand, the people who join and ask well thought out
>     questions, describe their failures and working assumptions, then
>     demonstrate a willingness to learn attract a mentor very quickly.
>     ... just my opinion of course :)
>     If you want to make progress with the leadtek card then another look at
>     the feedback I gave you, then approach the group again with a more
>     insightful email.
>     Maybe someone will help you then.
>     - Steve
> I would like to respond to this because I have been sending messages to 
> the list asking for help, but after a couple initial suggestions, I have 
> been completely ignored.  I need to work with the cx23885 drivers with 
> analog support that Steve wrote, because they are the only ones around, 
> but how am I supposed to get them to work if the person who wrote them 
> will not help me.   I even reported progress, but I was still ignored. 
>  In fact, I saw other people get help with questions that were as silly 
> as mine, but for some reason I cannot get any help from Steve or anyone 
> else on the list.  I have said before that I am willing to do some of 
> the work, but there is a steep learning curve.  
> If I have done something against the rules or to deserve this treatment, 
> I would appreciate someone letting me know instead of just ignoring me. 
>  Where else can I go for help? 
> If anyone has any suggestions about what I can do, please see my latest 
> posts to the list about analog support for cx23885 cards.  Thank you.
>      --Tim


Just to be clear, they're not my patches I just offered to merge them. :)

The people who can help are busy working on other projects, that's just 
the way Linux development works. I tend to work on Hauppauge hardware 
projects first then anything else if I have time.

Too many people come to the list and have their problems solved and give 
nothing in return. This is bad. They walk away feeling pretty happy but 
they don't stop behind to help 2 other people. If everyone I helped 
stopped to help 2 other people then the group would be a better place. 
Likewise for all of the other developers in this group.

In the end, people stop helping each other because it's a non-stop tide 
of help requests, for little in return.

I'm not suggesting that you do that, I'm suggest that's why the group is 
the way it is.

Stick around, when people have enough time you'll get some attention.

- Steve

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