disincentivizing free software

I got this message:

Why aren’t there any examples or sample programs? I’ve searched the internet and I can’t find anyone even using this module. Probably because it is kinda unfriendly.

I supplied points to people using it in the wild, which could be looked at for use cases. Then…

There are no examples!! Hey, it’s great that you and a hand full of people know how to use it, but what of the rest of us? It doesn’t take but a few minutes to type up some examples. You know this code a lot better then I do!

…so I said…

The rest of you can ask for help, then contribute documentation based on what you learned.  Isn’t it enough that people are writing code and giving it away for free?  Receiving “people don’t use your code because it is unfriendly” is demoralizing, and not a good incentive for me to bother doing anything but going to work and proprietary writing code there so I can eat.

…which got me back…

Are you always this condescending to people you don’t know? Most people don’t care how things work, they just want it to work. Hence the birth of object oriented perl.

Sorry to have disturbed you. I’ll make an effort not to allow this to happen again.

Sometimes, I don’t get it. Am I the jerk, here? Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier for me to not release code, or to not ever respond to support requests, or to not think about code outside of office hours? I have a perfectly good XBox 360 collecting dust because I write code to give away in my free time.

Is it too much to ask that people don’t call me a jackass for not wanting to work on their bug right away? I mean, I can offer my rate card for those who really care!

I think today I will play some Civilization or BioShock.

Written on May 30, 2009
🧑🏽‍💻 programming
🤤 stupid