Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dear Open Source Free Loaders

This is an open letter to all the open source free loaders out there - you know who you are.

One day you heard about this awesome thing called free software. You didn't know about the difference between free as in freedom and free as in beer - nor did you care. You came here simply because you heard you could get something for nothing.

As soon as you have your something, you are content - for the moment. Then something does not behave as expected, you can't figure something out or a true issue occurs.

You don't ask for help. 

You don't report there is an issue.

You don't help fix the problem at hand.

You know what you do. We all know what you do. You proclaim loudly for all to hear that the thing you got for free doesn't work properly. You call it garbage. You call it trash. You walk away from the product, leaving it worse for wear. You won't be missed.

In fact, check your Paypal - there is a full refund sitting in your account. Don't come back.

Today, I implore you - don't be an open source free loader. Free and Open Source Software is software written by a community, for a community. Without give an take on both ends (developers and users) things will never improve. The developers have given you software to use, the least you can do is give valid feedback. Remember - if you aren't part of a solution, then you are part of the problem.

A short rant from a sometimes tired developer,
~Jeff Hoogland


  1. I do disagree with the qoute about solutions. I use open source software, yet I never make reports. I dont even know to where. I like it, enjoy it, promote it, but never improve it. I am not part of the problem or the solution.

  2. Perfectly stated, Jeff!

  3. Free[dom] Software and civic duty go hand in hand.

    Theo De Rhaadt articulates these situations nicely.

  4. I say Wow! Some vent. I guess it is needed just as much as promoting. I am not a Bodhi user but I have downloaded it and tested it. I have also donated but really in hopes to win the netbook. You were being very generous to offer such a prize.

    I do believe in donating $$ to the projects I use the most. I give when I can. Servers cost money to run. Developers like yourself and many small project live on donations or do this for free. Sure the big guys have million dollar pockets but there are many projects like this one and others that are just for applications, that are donation based or no funding at all. Some are done simply because the dev team loves what they do.

    I appluad all of you. Coding is something I always struggled with. I support in other ways and encourage others to do the same.

    If money isn't a solution try these helpful ways to support a project, seed the torrent (especially when new releases hit), participate in forums, report bugs if possible, help a friend learn Linux.

    I understand the economy is bad, but I'm willing to give back to the community that gives so much more than my few bucks ever could buy in a retail store.

    Thanks Jeff for sharing this. It is as important an issue as fixing a bug. Communtiy is what Linux runs on or at least it should.

  5. let it all out Jeff, being true to yourself will only make you stronger. which means a kickass bodhi will be in the works, cheers! :D

  6. i found your blog over a year ago looking for touchscreen help related to an hp tx1000. when i discovered that my tx1000 was going to be replaced with an asus eee t101mt i was thrilled i knew of you and your distrobution bodhi linux as i was just beginning to learn and try out many distros. i have been studying computer science for over 2 years now and owe most of my education and experience to open source. jeff, i think what you are doing is fantastic and your latest howto post keeps me excited about Bodhi. as a meer rookie insight and tuts that help you dig deeper into a system is always appreciated. as for giving back to open source I still feel I have many years ahead of me to have the skills to offer beneficial contributions to an open source project. i may be mistaken and correct me if i am wrong but many students have little funds to contribute to projects and time is probably just as insufficient. though i am writing this to ask your advice on how someone can start making a worthwhile contributions to the open source community? furthermore, what could i do to help you?

  7. Wow, you seem really angry. Take it easy man. Let me tell you my side: I'm a "non-techy" guy, wish i were but i am not, and reporting bugs and being part of the solution gives me a sense of usefulness tech wise. It is also a great opportunity to learn something in hope that one day i'll be techy (though it seems unlikly).

  8. I know exactly how you feel. I'm an ex-programmer. I haven't programmed in over ten years and probably don't remember how. I'm not sure if they are open source free loaders or just selfish, ungrateful people. It bothers me even now that some people have the audacity to tell someone what a piece of crap his/her software is. Especially when they got it for free. I have never complained about any software and probably never will. I try to help out now via bug reports and donations. Don't let it get to you and keep up the great work.

  9. Havein' a bad day Jeff? After 30 years of IT it will become water off a duck's back dude!

  10. @Gary Not only are they selfish, ungrateful people, but also lazy. THey want everything at a clik. or more better if they say merely "Abracadabra!!!" and it works :)) And if this is not the case then they a want third party to do their job.
    @Jeff for all these people out there, am sure there are equal number if not more people who appreciate FOSS and the freedom they provide to their users. Please carry on the good work for people like us. Cheers!!!

  11. useless rant
    Jeff... you can hardly call yourself a "Developer" All you do is use remastersys on Ubuntu and change what you want and call it Bodhi Linux. Anybody intermediate in Linux can figure that out and release their own Custom distro. Get off your high horse

  12. When I have a problem I search for solutions on google. Once I can identify what is wrong I work my way through giving back.

    First by going and posting the fix to any message forms where someone else had the same problem but no solution to the problem was posted. Most of the time I end up having to register for an account at these places to even post a solution.

    Secondly by going to the official support form or bug track for the product/distro at hand. If there is already a an entry and what I would have to say does not add anything to the current conversation/solution. Then I don't post anything at all.

    The last thing I want to do is make Jeff have to read yet another useless comment on how it does not work and how it happened on Tuesday and I was so sad, and can't anyone help? Or that I tried X and it did not work and then I tried Y and it did not work. If the problem is well established, sometimes there is nothing to add to the conversation.

  13. @Anonymous

    Jeff is a developer. There are many things that can go wrong with remastering a system besides upstream bugs. These need to be pointed out so they can be resolved.

    And there is nothing wrong with Jeff saying "Please if try Bodhi and find a bug, let us know"

  14. I can plus 1 this. Just the other day I found myself saying:

    "Did you report your findings as bug(s), I haven't seen them. Details please, if you are finding problems, complaining about them doesn't help me make them go away, I'm happy to help if you can.."

  15. Which was unfortunately followed by more complaining, and then name calling instead of more details so I could help him.

    So I just punched him in the face. :D

  16. Open Source software is good for my blood pressure. When I use closed source software that I bought and it doesn't work as advertised then I become irate. With Microsoft products in particular I often fight a strong urge to board a plane for Redmond WA and work off my ire by horsewhipping Bill Gates. When open source software doesn't work, so what? With Linux there are always multiple ways to get the job done; in any event it didn't cost me money, which is a wonderful salve to the soul. With Linux, I always feel relaxed.

    Lately, I have been using the Bodhi support forum and I have been thinking that it is quite a stressful life for a Lead Developer. I know what it is like to feel the pressure as I support my sister's computer remotely at great remove; fortunately, Linux keeps on ticking away and even degrades gracefully when disks start to fill up.

    Long live Open Source software. Thank you for your efforts; I certainly appreciate them and will get around to making a small monetary donation in addition to the technical feedback that I provide.

  17. You will find that now days, you can even down load a free mileage log print out. Costs may be just perfect, but there is no information held in conjunction with the book and did not keep the receipt or maintenance records.

    טכנאי מזגנים

  18. useless rant is hits the mark
    Jeff Just think for a moment had you not pushed Bodhi so hard on lxer you would never have had these problems.Don't you think your asking far to much from your new ex windows users, that can't report bugs to MS if they tried or know how too,

    You brought the problems on yourself period. so stop complaining, I wouldn't like to give you my opinion of what I think of Bodhi you wouldn't appreciate it. Keep up the good work for the brain dead point and click merchants

  19. To the anonymous that lacked the stones to even post his name on his belittling attack:

    "A software developer is a person concerned with facets of the software development process. Their work includes researching, designing, developing, and testing software.[1] A software developer may take part in design, computer programming, or software project management."


    Beyond that I do a whole lot more than just remaster a disc.

  20. It took me *years* to understand that I could give back by say - filing bugs etc. Meanwhile I was using, advocating, displaying at regular events. Many of my 'flock' will remain happy novice users for ever.
    Thank you for your work Jeff, please carry on undaunted?

  21. Linux is just now maturing as a desktop OS with support from a number of vendors. Teamviewer, Flash, Lightscribe. Hardware video acceleration. These all work in Linux and work very well. The one thing missing is Netflix.

    Windows 8 is going to hurt MS worse than Vista did.

  22. Excellent way to put that rant, and I wholeheartedly agree. Those who don't ask for help when they don't have problems, and don't put in a bug report when they find a bug are not helping, and in the words of Lupe Fiasco, "If you never become an actor, you'll never be a factor." and that phrase fits this perfectly.

  23. @Jeff

    I do not have an account... why would I be scared to post my name on a blog? you gonna come get me? ok My name is Lee Farkis if that makes you happy...

    A software developer actually "develops" software... They write code. You do not... there are other labels for the other roles you mention.

    You are merely a Remixer of already available software that you had nothing to do with creating... and then you remaster it onto a disc. Not trying to be a troll, but you falsely label yourself a developer which is not true. A "Project Leader" is a more accurate label. Anyways, I do like Bodhi Linux none the less. Btw... if you are a "developer" how about fixing that annoying crash that happens when you right click the top minimised application tabs in Fancy Desktop mode... friggin annoying

  24. How do you know how much code I write? Bash, python scripts and not to mention Enlightenment code that gets written for Bodhi

    Yea, your are right we don't develop anything.

    Get your flipping facts straight before you try to belittle the work people do. We do a lot of work with the project.

    We don't just "install Enlightenment and run Remaster SYS"

  25. @Jeff
    Well you keep claiming that you do... and yet you are not giving any examples.... So how about you show some proof about what code you have written/implemented into Bodhi Linux instead of just falsely claiming that you have? where is it? I don't see it... I see no mention anywhere of anything you have done... so "enlighten" me?

  26. Hey Jeff,

    I have been reading your blog for a while and have been watching the growth of Bodhi from afar (very a-far away). I really admire your work and blog and especially your ability to manage a distro, a blog and graduate school. I don't have a lot of linux/tech knowledge and skill right now, but I spend a lot of time reading and learning and trying, and you are someone who I look up to, nay, uphold as a model for my future development. But seriously, you do really good work. I know this isn't really on topic but there are those of us who really appreciate your work for the community even if we don't use Bodhi.

  27. @gmasterboots - thanks!

    @Farkis - Off the top of my head? Bodhi entry in the main menu, theme selector during Enlightenment configuration and the automount script we use at startup.

    These are just three examples. One of which you don't need to look very far for. We do development work.

  28. Not to mention beyond that one of our team members is the author of E-photo

  29. No better way to finish the year than a good old venting from Jeff

  30. I write software for my users, paying or non-paying, contributing or non-contributing, in the hope that it is useful for some. If you can't get any pleasure out of that, it may be time to get another hobby - or another job. BTW, don't you ever get tired plugging your "own" Ubuntu distribution at LXer?

  31. Lxer is a site that posts stories related to open source. Bodhi is open source. I write about Bodhi. I submit the articles to Lxer because... They are related to open source!

  32. @jeff
    yeah but I heard that you also Kick little puppies!

    lol. sry, had to do that...
    Happy New Year! Jeff, keep up the good work. I definately like what you are doing with bodhi linux and i'de love to see the project grow!


  33. I could donate money to some nerd in a dark room in America or to veterans suffering from injuries or else and don't have the money to get treated. I could donate to children being exposed to work in Africa. Or some nerd in his mother's basement.

    I'm not saying you are a nerd or you dwell in your mum's basement but the fact is that most hackers are this way. Granted, I'm not maths genius but I am well aware of the income disparencies between the First and Third World and hundreds of other issues. You could go work as a cleaner and you'd still have a higher standard of living than even people that live in cities in Africa--the middle classes which hardly exist.

    It's not a worthwhile cause to spend money on. And it is free. Personally, I prefer the term open-source, you can't turn around the entire English language due to your activism just to confuse people. And you know what? 99% of open-source software just happens to be free. The only pay-for open-source thing I know of is Linux distributions like RedHat and Elive. Crossfire I'm not sure about, I don't think the source is open. Otherwise, nothing, nothing at all.

    I won't go through the reasons but just that you get what you pay for. That's to be expected and those that bitch about it are assholes. Don't mind them. You can always pay for support though. Only if they have a serious problem covered by some warranty (though the GPL explicitly says you cannot have warranties?) will they have a right to be angry.

    Otherwise, tell them to fuck off--exactly these words. If they bitch, tell them you'll have amazing sex with their mothers and then kick them off IRC. They deserve it, those unrespectful shits.

    PS: What you do on LXer is blatantly advertising. That's not bad, what's bad is not admitting it. Even Jimbo Wales says commerce isn't evil. Now that is something I gave a bit of money towards. Do note I have over 1k contributions to my name in total on the English and Greek Wikipedia and a couple of hundred in the two Wiktionaries of those languages so if anything, this does directly affect me as much as the rest of humanity. Lives are important too, as is the copendium of human knowledge being built on Wikipedia for safekeeping. But not all open-source projects do and there is always a replacement available. There's only one other active E17 distribution but that's changing (I think Debian is making one?). Oh well. You get my point--it's not really that important. And you know my position on beta software--if it's broken, don't use it.

  34. Where did I say anything about donating money? In fact I'm pretty sure I suggested they simply file bug reports.