Don't assume the "complaints" remark Richard Gray made was targeted exclusively at you. Everyone knows that if nobody complains, nobody will fix what's broken, or even recognize that it is. Complaints are useful, but they do have to be brought out in a spirit of collegiality rather than simple and narrow criticism. I bitch about things all the time, and there are plenty of folks who probably think I'm just a whiner. However, I try not to whine about stuff that can't be fixed, or shouldn't be,
I don't think the "complaints" remark was targeted at any one specific source. There are plenty of sources. My real complaint is that open-source community programmers often believe they can do the part of a task that they like doing and leave the rest, documentation, for example, to someone else. Some of them think they can be sloppy, so long as their work product functions. I believe they're wrong, but not everyone agrees with me. Go figure ...
----- Original Message -----
From: Bobby Garner
To: sdcc-user@... ; Richard Gray
Sent: Friday, August 29, 2008 8:51 PM
Subject: Re: [Sdcc-user] Poor documentation & open source generally
I have no doubt that you mean well, but there is a certain and unmistakable tone of arrogance in your closing remarks, which in my opinion, negates everything which preceded them. You allege that I am a developer by vertue of the fact that I am a user. if so, then why can not my remarks be consider constructive criticism? Why did you view my comments as a complaint rather that constructive criticism? Why do you demand that I jump through some other hoop? Why is this not a suitable forum?
Of course, I feel free to "do better", but it is an incontrovertible fact that we (all of us) are working under a certain economic duress, and in my personal case, I cannot justify laying out $5,000 for "better". Being a beginner programmer, I am unqualified to jump in and contribute to the cause. However, I do feel qualified (having been engaged in electronics repair/design and manufacturing since 1958) to point out some of the problems which I have encountered, and which may not be so apparent to those who are so qualified. It is exceedingly unfortunate in my opinion, that my experience is of no value to you, and so easily written off. I assume that you speak for the larger group of active developers, and that too would be consistent with my experience.
Someone mentioned Code::Blocks earlier. I tried to use it a couple of years ago, but when I joined the forum and began asking questions about using it with SDCC, I was ridiculed, marginalized and laughed out of the process by some of the major players in the program. They have apparently deleted those older posts to the forum, so I can't prove it.
I understand that the Opensource community is composed of volunteers, but since when did volunteering for something demand anything less then ones very best? Maybe this is the best. As good as it gets?
It so happens that I'm more knowledgeable of Opensource, than I am of microcontrollers and the software to make them function properly. Public Journalism is a first cousin of Opensource, and thats something I can claim some degree of competence in since I am the owner and publisher of http://www.congregator.net.
Someone mentioned how some Opensource software such as Openoffice.org is far more better documented. From those comments, and in the context in which they were made, it is easily assumed that the Opensource community takes full credit for that marvelous achievement.
However, leave it to some nutcase like me to point out, in this context, that Openoffice.org was wholly designed and fully developed by paid professional programmers working under the direction of Sun Microsystems.
Please, let us deal only with reality and the facts!
Richard Gray wrote:
While I'm sympathetic to the cries of inadequate (or sometimes just plain
wrong) documentation, I think this needs to be met with more understanding.
The Open Source development community is comprised of some rather clever
people that are prepared to sit and write useful software in their spare time
for free and for nothing. People that write software are notoriously
reluctant to sit and write documentation because, well, they just don't like
doing it. Unfortunately, this places some pressure upon would-be users to
provide some input of their own, which is to examine the source code for
themselves and learn by experimentation - it's those same people that might
later decide to contribute with documentation, worked examples "howto" guides
and so-on, should they wish to join this very generous community themselves.
Unfortunately people have come to expect a professional finish (which it does
get eventually) from people who are toiling away in their spare time, and
this is a bit unrealistic. I don't admonish anyone to look at source code,
rather exhort them to in the hope that they themselves might be able to
contribute to the project one day.
Projects like SDCC are going to be niche projects with only a limited number
of people able to contribute, and I've no doubt these people have day-jobs
too. Bigger projects, like Open Office and Linux tend to be much better
documented and better generally because of the comparatively large number of
people behind them, and indeed through sponsorship - Linus Torvalds develops
and maintains Linux for a living, for example. If enough money could be raked
together to sponsor someone, or a group, to develop and maintain SDCC then we
would no-doubt see superb developments in a much shorter timescale; but this
is probably an unlikely turn of events.
Then again, maybe if someone wants to try and persuade, say, Microchip Inc
that it's in their interests to sponsor the development of the PIC forks of
SDCC, then who knows? Even then, wrangling with companies over sponsorship is
time away from the project coal-face, and many programmers would find this
tedious. There is a quite nice C compiler for PICs from some Australian
outfit, I think, (I cannot remember the name) but this will cost you around
£400 (GBP 400), and the documentation is good and I found the simulator and
cut-down teaser version very good when I last tried it; but I don't want to
cough-up £400 or so for the full-blown product for projects that I write for
free to help people out. For myself, I don't want to be forced to use
Windows, so SDCC is great if you're a Linux user, which I am, exclusively.
When I've written some worthwhile stuff for the Z80/Z180 fork, I'll offer it
as example code specifically to help others, and no-doubt I could make some
amendments to the manual too.
So, I'm suggesting that if you can do better then please feel free to do so.
Constructive criticism and bug reports are great too. When you're an Open
Source user you're also a developer, in however modest a way that might be.
A last word for Windows users (apart from to try and wean yourselves off it!),
try searching your file system for z180.h - once you have found this you will
have found the general area of includes and libraries and such. /usr refers
to a Unix/Linux file system and the Windows setup is probably different.
This SF.Net email is sponsored by the Moblin Your Move Developer's challenge
Build the coolest Linux based applications with Moblin SDK & win great prizes
Grand prize is a trip for two to an Open Source event anywhere in the world
Sdcc-user mailing list