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Re: My responses to developers' responses

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: My responses to developers' responses
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2012 16:07:04 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.1.50 (gnu/linux)

"address@hidden" <address@hidden> writes:

>> The last "teamwork" problem is the amount of "monetization" going on.
>> I didn't join lilypond to help other people make money off it.  I
>> don't have any good suggestions for this, but the question asked if I
>> was contributing less and this is one reason.  Having some people
>> making money and others not makes it feel like less of a "team".
> When I worked a church gig for 3 years, I made money, as did the
> pastor and other members of the community.  There were many other
> members of the community who simply donated their time to the church.
> Others couldn't donate time but benefited from church events and the
> Sunday service and were grateful that the church was there.  Here, we
> were able to use the paid roles in order to create more, not less, of
> a sense of teamwork.  I encourage people to ask themselves how they
> can make LilyPond work like this.  I didn't join LilyPond either to
> help other people make money off of it, but I'm thrilled that my
> contributions to it can help people like David work on it full time,
> which in turn makes LilyPond better and therefore easier for me to
> contribute.

"Making money off LilyPond" is not exactly what I would call an accurate
description for what people contributing to my means of living are
supporting.  It is more like "buying time for LilyPond".  Before I was
just subsisting on dwindling savings for being able to keep going with
LilyPond.  There is no point in debating impressions, though.  And it is
not like I would feel enthusiastic about the motivation loss this is

However, I also find it extremely motivating that enough people care
enough about LilyPond to just make this work.  And it is not like I am
"making money off" unsuspecting victims who just don't know better, to
the detriment of other developers.  The people keeping me going _are_
usually already part of the active community around LilyPond.  For
better or worse, it is not as much that I get paid while other
contributors to Lily are not getting anything for their work.  It is
more like that they are the ones paying me.

> Lastly, monetization often goes hand-in-hand with team building.  I
> think our team can only get stronger because of stuff like LoMuS and
> GSoC, and I think it's important to keep looking for rewards and
> programs like this.

I am somewhat ambivalent about that.  It is good when external sources
make it easier for the ones actually caring about the project.  But the
important motivation is really the support from insiders.

>> My motivation goes down when i feel insignificant:
>> - when i don't get reviews
> I am a culprit of this and I'll try to do a better job.

Part of the problem is that LilyPond is too complex.  Reviews should be
a good entry-level occupation.  If it takes the best just to do reviews,
they can either do development or reviews at the same time.

>> - when a simple patch takes forever because every word is discussed
>> over and over again
> Agreed - I think less is more here.  I've lost time on patches going
> over and over things that could have taken way less time.  I think
> that Keith is a model for good patch review - he says what needs to be
> done, I get it done, and all is well.  No confusion, no arguments.
> Very efficient.  When I do give feedback, I try to model mine on his
> and I'd like to see everyone do the same.

Agreed: Keith is really good at giving relevant reviews.

> This surprises me - I have often felt that maintenance was annoying
> (we all do) but I never felt like I spent more time on this than
> actual devel work.  The automation tools that Graham has made are
> excellent and the bug squad is really helpful w/ reminders if need be.
> I'd encourage everyone to get the most up-to-date git-cl.

I have streaks where I am working on a set of interrelated
fixes/featurelets and just push out a bunch of stuff shortcutting the
regular review process to avoid getting deadlocked juggling outstanding

>> Finally, i think we lack a vision and common goal that would give us
>> motivation boost.  I find it quite surprising that Janek's articles
>> in LilyPond Report #25 and #26 gathered little comments from
>> experienced developers.
> I completely agree that this work is essential.

For me, it is backend stuff.  Backend is a corner I am not really
comfortable with.

There is stuff like

 -- Function: ly:make-simple-closure expr
     Make a simple closure.  EXPR should be form of `(FUNC A1 A2 ...)',
     and will be invoked as `(FUNC DELAYED-ARG A1 A2 ...)'.

Sounds simple enough: just do

(define (ly:make-simple-closure expr)
  (lambda (x)
    (apply (car expr) x (cdr expr))))

Except that ly:make-simple-closure does something almost but not quite
entirely different, with ranges, pure functions and whatnot.

I don't get it.  So there is little point speculating about it.

> It'd be great to see others get to the "everyone had an almost global
> understanding of everything" point - I think the GSoC project will be
> great for Janek to get there and I'm always willing to give people a
> hand understanding stuff.  This is especially true for bug-squad
> members and doc writers: you guys have already gone through all the
> hard stuff.  Understanding the code base is easy compared to creating
> a first score with LilyPond, which all of you have assumedly done.

Just let's say that my impression is quite opposite.  I am still working
on reducing LilyPond's complexity to chunks of a size I can understand.
Probably I am too old to state with any degree of confidence to
understand complex matters, so I need to simplify them first.

David Kastrup

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