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Howard Chan: Developer-user relationships

Published May 13 2013 via RSS

Today when going through the list of Google+ communities I saw a message in a Linux G+ community that links to a blog post in Sprial Linear that talks about GNOME developers ignoring user requests. This is heartbreaking.

The incident commenced when a user Eduard Valiauka reported this bug in GNOME’s bugzilla. A feature in GNOME 3.6′s GNOME Terminal (background configuration tab in Profile Preferences) is missing in GNOME 3.8. He described the problem with some detail and asked the GNOME Terminal developers to add back the feature in later GNOME releases.

The conflict started when Christian Persch, a GNOME Terminal developer, simply replied “No.” and marked the bug as “Resolved” and “Won’t fix”.

This is a serious improper repsonse. If one developer wants to object to this feature, he can explain it with reasons that will please the bug reporter and other users. A “No.” will make users confused as to why this feature should removed at the first place, let alone whether it should be re-added. Developers shouldn’t shut the conversation at once. If a lot of users agree that this feature should be included, there is no good reason to object.

Many users then left a comment on the bugzilla page to support this proposal, and most of them argued that this feature is a major one. Some even thought that GNOME is reducing features too much.

But at comment #40 GNOME Developer and Bugzilla admin Olav Vitters responded by threatening that all users who left a comment shall be banned from the Bugzilla.

Why? Users HAVE the right to make feature requests and support proposals. This isn’t trolling. This is just a way to make their favourite desktop environment better. And the developers are closing their ears.

If you are a developer, ALWAYS listen to your application/operating system/kernel’s feedback. They are the key to your success, they are the gold to your code.

So, don’t deny other’s feedback or bugs early, they actually help.

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