Friday, April 10, 2009

The Death of "Code It Yourself"

When I started using Free software umpteen years ago, the standard response to a complaint about a bug that wasn't being fixed fast enough or a feature that the developer didn't deem important was "You have the code. You can fix it yourself if you want to."

That answer took a lot of flack with the Linux evangelists because it wasn't very user friendly. It "represents everything that's wrong with FOSS." Maybe. The unfriendliness doesn't change the accuracy. You do have the code. You can make a difference.

Sure. You may not be able to code. I couldn't. There's documentation to write, though, and if you speak a language out of the mainstream, there's plenty of translation work to do. That's how I got started: when Thai wasn't really supprted in early KDE, my name was on some of the translation work. I wrote some documentation. I supported the early FOSS movement in Thailand. I even gave several seminars about implemeting FOSS in schools there. Sometimes it was as simple as editing a definition file to get some hardware working and identified properly.

Could I code? No. Could I help? Of course. It didn't mean that I had  to sit in chat rooms or on forums, either. There was (and still is) plenty of work to go around. We should still be able to say "If it's really important to you, you can do it" once in a while.


Post a Comment

Other I' Been to Ubuntu Stories