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Re: "I'm Quitting": we both overreacted



As a free-software community researcher myself (in social studies, tought) I can wholeheartly agree with you. I think myself that trying to guide the users to pay the software isn't the best solution, and can drive potential users away. But that's not the scope (what a strange word!) of this message.

Even if I'm no developer (and I can barely code in PHP, to me Vala is like sanscrit to decipher!) I saw all the effort and hardwork you spent to make elementaryOS a better system every day. As an early adopter, I use Patheon and all the elementary apps as my default, work station apps. I'm very sad that you decided to leave elementary. I wish you find a community where you can be happy, and if you ever need some help or just someone to discuss FOSS monetary or social models I will be most pleased to help you!


Andre Santos

(And forgive my crappy english, I'm still learning it...)

Em 25-06-2012 08:30, Сергей Давыдов escreveu:
Yesterday I announced in #elementary-dev and #elementary-web that I'm quitting the project. Rumors spread fast and they're usually more scary than truth is, so I'm writing this to clarify what happened, what caused me to do that and "if I'm really quitting".

*What happened*

I'm attaching the controversial log so you don't have to take my word for anything. My IRC nickname is "SergeLion" these days. I removed the username and password required to access the development site from the log because I'm not sure I'm allowed to publish them and replaced them with "<username:password - deleted because I'm not sure I can publish them. --shnatsel>". No other edits were done.

The frontpage discussed in the log is down at the moment, but you can download the mockup at http://bazaar.launchpad.net/~elementary-design/+junk/mockups/view/131/elementaryweb/Frontpage/Luna/homeluna.svg <http://bazaar.launchpad.net/%7Eelementary-design/+junk/mockups/view/131/elementaryweb/Frontpage/Luna/homeluna.svg>
It seems to require Inkscape for proper rendering.

*What's my problem with that*

My problem is particularly about this part:

    <DanRabbit>    Once again, this is not the time or place for that
    <DanRabbit>    the discussion is not about whether the pay process
    is attached to the download process
    <DanRabbit>    it is
    <DanRabbit>    that's how it's gonna go down
    <DanRabbit>    the discussion is about how we ensure people know
    they can pay $0 if they'd like
    <SergeLion>    DanRabbit: where and when do I start the business
    model discussion?
    <DanRabbit>    SergeLion: like 6 months ago or after this model
    doesn't work out.
    <SergeLion>    DanRabbit: shit. I quit. Now.
    <DanRabbit>    It's a little freaking late to try to change
    everything dude
    <DanRabbit>    It's not like we didn't have this discussion a LONG
    time ago

Business or fundraising model is an important and touchy issue affecting the whole project. I'm a little surprised that as a (mere) developer, I'm not aware of an important project decision made "like 6 months ago". I'm especially surprised by the closed-door business model decision because I've been studying the free software phenomenon for the past two years, and I did mention that more than once to the council. I cannot show off a PhD in free software and free culture theory, mostly because this subject is pretty much unexplored and I'm kind of breaking new ground. There are even hardly any books on the subject - Eric Raymond's "Cathedral and the Bazaar" back from 1997 and Lawrence Lessig's "Free Culture" are pretty much everything we have, and I'm not aware of any work besides mine to systematize the recent facts and give a broader understanding of how e.g. free culture business works and how it can be used. My only arguments for being right are: always relying on facts and existing success stories, being invited to lecture along with professors and accomplished businessmen, and not being proven wrong so far. Sure, I cannot state I know or correctly understand everything, but I at least did study the subject and as of my experience no-cost business/fundraising model will work much better (do I have to remind of Nine Inch Nails' albums being released /for free download/ under creative commons and failing to reach tops of any charts but /ranking #1 paid purchase/ on Amazon MP3 service at the same time?)

I've uploaded and shared the funding opportunities document with the council on the 26th of March 2012. Here's the document, you can see that in the revision history: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pAEymg8cQ5-tqhn6exxaUEWZbZXQ47YbfeYkM6nMqdQ/edit The document invitation was sent to council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, so I assume the Council members were aware of its existence. That was 3 months ago. I was not notified by any Council member that everything is already decided.

And now I'm confronted by an accomplished fact. The decision is made. It's not backed by any successful cases and it seems to be vastly suboptimal, if not disappointing to me. I think I have a better alternative. But I cannot influence the decision. And it's also disappointing because this is not the way I intended my work to be used.

I can't help but feel pwned. These are not the ideals towards which I've been working all this time. This is not the elementary into which I can put my spare time, effort, hopes or beliefs. I'm not going to willingly put my effort into it. I'm quitting.

*What really happened*

I have to admit DanRabbit always took my concerns into account and never pushed his decisions, and for that I respect him greatly. This is actually the first time I bump into such issue for the whole my year-long participation. This is really not like Dan. And if he /really/ wouldn't care, he could just get away with some bull reply, like that they'll consider it in the next council meeting and I'd fuck off (that is actually a bull reply because I have no way of knowing what happens in council meetings).

I assume he's just tired of discussing the matter and is willing to take any decision just to settle to something. I have been through this myself, so I can understand that. Dan seems to have been really busy lately, both in elementary and IRL. In addition, elementary puts a great deal of pressure and responsibility on him. So I hope he did not really mean what the log reads.

*What now*

I plead to the Council to make a business/funding model decision in a transparent way and consider community suggestions. This decision is dictated by the way the money will be used, which is also a sensitive matter and would better be discussed with the developer community.

I also plead for establishing a better decision-making process. I guess the incident proves that the current one is not good enough. I've hit up some books and got some ideas on the subject which I'm willing to share, but that's a vast separate topic.

Please not to discuss the business/funding model in this thread. This is a touchy and now controversial issue, so I fear it will do more harm than good. If you have concerns regarding it, please write them down for future reference, and bring them up as part of Council-organized process.

*Regarding myself*

I blame burnout and hack on until DanRabbit comments on the events.
I will also attempt to participate in the process of deciding the monetary goals and offer my expertise on means of meeting them (again).

Yours faithfully,
Sergey "Shnatsel" Davidoff