Meike Reichle: A little comfort
Being in any reasonably large free software project one tends to be confronted with endless little annoyances, frustrations and letdowns. Often it happens that these little things keep growing in our perception the longer they last and the more they trouble us. In these times it is good to be reminded that the actual thing we invest so much time and energy in is not those little issues that often annoy us so much, but the overlying ideal of free software which is still a great thing, even in view of all the little frustrations that we have to deal with when working on it. Yesterday I had one of these little experiences that just remind you, just how good a thing free software is:
- At Thu, 26 Jul 2007 14:38:49 I filed a whishlist bug against a software I recently started using.
- At Sat, 28 Jul 2007 19:04:35 the bug had been passed on to the software's upstream and I got an email from the upstream author telling me that the feature I wanted was already in the current development version of the software, where I could download the tar.bz2 and how to contact him on jabber.
- At about half to ten I downloaded the code, rolled it into a package and tried it, but couldn't get the new feature to work, so I wrote another email.
- An half hour later I got an answer telling me what I'd done wrong. I fixed my mistake, tested the new feature and found that it did right what I wanted. However, there was one more option I thought would be useful so I contacted the author via jabber.
- In the following 2.5 hours he implemented the additional option that I had asked for, renamed a button I found a bit unintuitive and fixed two bugs I discovered in the process of testing the new feature, sending me new code versions to test after every change.
- I am now using the software with the new feature I asked for and with all the options I wanted from a homemade package but expect the proper Debian package to show up in the archive any day.
- The whole process took three days.