[kdepim-users] open request to KDEPIM devs to address four long-standing regressions

Alan McKinnon alan.mckinnon at gmail.com
Tue Oct 18 07:34:02 BST 2011

On Mon, 17 Oct 2011 15:29:24 -0700
pkbugs+kdepim at ssl-mail.com wrote:

> Alan,
> On Monday, October 17, 2011 10:27 PM, "Alan McKinnon"
> <alan.mckinnon at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I think what Anne was getting at is that there's a trick to getting
> > a developer's attention, and she described the general case. Your
> > case if specific to you of course so you'll have to adapt your
> > communication to fit.
> > 
> > The thing to concentrate on is not so much the detail, but rather on
> > how to avoid have your bug report be perceived as yet more of the
> > dross in people's inbox.
> > 
> > It's a perception thing I guess - get inside a typical dev's head
> > and supply the info in the style they expect to receive it.
> To be very clear, I have absolutely no issues with Anne's comments. 
> They're her comments, and her opinions, and they're welcome to at
> least this discussion which I started.  It's problematic only when the
> disucssion isn't being had -- which really is the crux of the matter
> here.
> The conversation needs to be two-way.  It should be frustrating to one
> and all that a 'trick to getting a developer's attention' is a
> requirement; especially,as I suspect, it's in fact the case.
> Users don't read minds, at least mine don't.  Without an engaged,
> professional developer IN the conversation, asking for info, providing
> guidance and explaining to users in user-speak what they 'expect' (and
> need), there's ZERO chance that engaged, professional users are going
> to continue to take the time and make the effort to contribute to the
> solution either.
> The frequent 'I do this for free', 'do it yourslef', and 'show me the
> code' mantras are lame.  We *all* do *this* for free -- devs and users
> alike.  It's a community.  The strong community, and the robust
> product, simply do not exist without BOTH in place and doing their
> best to make their contributions.
> I've absolutely no investment whatsover in 'my' particular approach to
> anything.  If there's a "better way", great. Let's GET there.
> My interest in a solution is clearly mercenary.   Point is, there's
> clearly a problem -- "stuff" (regression or not doesn't really matter)
> is sitting around, and not getting fixed.  And it's costing time,
> money, and user adoption.  All of which are resources that could be
> better utilized contributing TO the community/product, rather than
> wasted finding solutions around it.  From my perspective, that's ALL
> that matters.
> So, I've started with "just four" frequent issues (I've not yet raised
> my personal favorite, the frequent crashing of KDE on plasma-desktop
> exit -- I'm waiting to see how many 'duplicates' get added ...).
> From that purely mercenary viewpoint, fixing those four bugs would
> solve a costly problem for me, and I strongly suspect for quite a few
> others.
> Otoh, addressing the issue of how we get to these messy places in the
> first place, and getting better about the process would be of much
> greater benefit to everyone concerned -- users and devs alike.
> I know how to fix these issues when it's my organization.  How it's
> done here, when STILL we don't know even who the relevant devs are
> for these issues ... I really have no magic elixir.


I hear you, these things are frustrating. And I understand what you
say. You'll notice this mail was not composed with kmail - that's
because kmail finally drove me away and I was the last in a 40 man team
to be still using it. I hang around here in a perverse hope that kmail
will one day be ready (it was massive data loss out of some
$MAGIC_AKONADI_CACHE after a kontact crash that was the last straw for

I have no idea how the internal people structure works for kde-pim and
who is doing what, but I did think you're original mail stood a good
chance of being taken seriously, at the very least it was obvious you
weren't gaming the system. But the devs are people and sometimes one
has to be willing to make the first move. Much like getting my kids to
pick up wet towels and switch off lights, but I digress.

FWIW, my opinion on the state of kde-pim is that it's a classic case of
"second big project", over-reaching and over-ambitious. It's described
very well in "The mythical man-month" by Frederick P. Brooks -
essential reading for anyone involved in IT systems. The only solution
for second big project is a mature leader who can keep things on track,
keep devs motivated, and chuck out the over-ambitious bits.

I hope kmail gets itself back on track, it's a nice mailer and like it
a lot after 6 years of using it.

Alan McKinnnon
alan.mckinnon at gmail.com
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