January 29, 2007

The Latest Request

Today I received an email that made me pause. I receive that sort of email often enough but perhaps this one made me realize that a lot of folks don't understand the nature of my relationship with the Mono Community and the Novell corporation.

So, I have decided to share both the text of the email and my reply to it.

FROM: M. Bertozzi
TO: paco at mfcon dot com

Hi, I've seen here Mono and Gtk# 2.8 Release for Windows...

Gtk+ 2.10 is out since 07/03/06, so why Mono hasn't already a Gtk# 2.10 binary for windows?

Gtk 2.10 introduce many new features, and many project uses already it.
(Python with PyGtk as already the 2.10 support for windows)

Gtk# list have many request for 2.10 on windows. The latest is this:

We could have Mono Gtk# 2.10 release?


FROM: Paco Martinez
TO: M. Bertozzi

I guess your email could have begun thanking me for all the hard
unpaid work I have done on *all* of the Gtk# Installers for Win32 that I have provided since my first one -- over 3 years ago!

I have read the request on the mailing list and I agree that it would be a very nice addition. Did you read this one blog entry?


Since that entry was published, I have received a total of 1 donations and/or contributions. Unfortunately without the financial assistance, it is hard for me to keep donating the many, many hours of research, development and testing that it takes to produce one of the Gtk# Installers for .NET.

Thanks for asking and best regards,


I realized that in Open Source we give without expecting to receive. I hate to sound mercenary here -- specially when my blog is syndicated in various places -- but it may help to remember that if you feed the musicians the band will play longer ;)

Posted by martinf at January 29, 2007 02:11 PM

"I guess your email could have begun thanking me"

Did you want him to beg you for it? Would that have stroked your ego enough? Do you want us to tell you how amazing you are and how much we adore you?

Posted by: Bob Bobson at January 29, 2007 03:38 PM

How you choose to show gratitude for the contributions of others is up
to you.

Do you ever beg to stroke the ego of that contributor who's
software creations you use? If so, that is a very personal choice and I
respect that.

I personally go about thanking the contributors and hard working
individuals and other entities with written, verbal praise and when
possible, financial support.

Thanks for you point of view.


Posted by: Paco Martinez at January 29, 2007 07:21 PM

"Adore" is probably a strong word, but it wouldn't have hurt to show a little bit of gratitude.

For the past few years, I've tried to follow the development of Perl 6 (but didn't contribute as much as I would like I confess), I think I have a vague idea of the kind of dragon the Mono volunteers are fighting. Sadly the world is full of asstards idling and waiting for the first opportunity to complain or criticize. Since this is *volunteer* work mostly, having a few ThankYous from time to time really keeps people motivated, the contrary just doesn't help.

As chromatic put it : The Opinions of People Who Do Not Contribute Do Not Matter ( http://perlmonks.org/?node_id=532137 ). Replacing every instance of Perl with Mono should fix the context.

Now, what were Paco's options? This is a wild guess, but I'll give it a try. I can see two of them: try to catch up with every moving targets released by the GTK team (which lately looks like one every two weeks) and risk having everything in an unstable (spell U-N-U-S-A-B-L-E) state OR focus on one goddamn release and make it just work. If you ask me if he made the right choice, FUCK YES!

As someone who will have to make some C# app to work both on Windows and Linux in the near future, I'd like to thank the Mono contributors for the uncountable hours of sweat and tears they put in there. Thank you guys!

Posted by: Geraud at January 29, 2007 07:26 PM

I agree with you totally.

However you may consider that many people don't know anything about the roles of each person in the community. Many developers are indeed being paid by Novell and thus are not volunteers (and I was also surprised that you're not a Novell employee, given the excellent work you do).

Of course, that's not a reason for not thanking the effort. In my personal case, everytime someone fixes a bug that affects me I thank him very much.

Posted by: anonymono at January 30, 2007 04:47 AM

This is all rather sad, really. Your GTK# packages are a VITAL part of Mono infrastructure, and I'd expect you have many thousands of happy users.

I wonder how much the Novell Forge site serves against you, though - it's not very "personal", and doesn't give you the exposure you deserve - and I get the feeling that if things were more obviously Paco's rather than Novell Forge's, then you might get more thank yous.

My unofficial Ubuntu packages repository has about 250 active users, and a pretty high number of those (2-3%) contact me to thank me. I can't imagine what would prevent you from seeing the same, unless people just don't realize the work you personally put in in your spare time, and I can't help but feel the impersonal Novell Forge site serves to do that

Posted by: directhex at January 30, 2007 05:24 AM

Unbelievable. I think we should adopt Geraud's term of "asstards" as the official term for people-who-don't-contribute-but-ask-for-new-features. ;)

My suggestion would be replying with a standard form e-mail which contains your going rate for contract programming. People need to realize that "free software" doesn't mean "free applications development department."

Posted by: michael schurter at January 30, 2007 09:04 AM

Maybe it is because of the attitude of the Windows developers?

The guy behind NDoc also quit because he didn't receive that many donations:


Posted by: Chris at January 31, 2007 02:00 PM