In open source RTFM means RTFC

When people are screaming, “I won ‘t use the soft unless it ‘s open sourced “, they actually mean the following “I won ‘t to use the soft unless is free and readily supported by authors “. People just forget that open source means that the source code is open and they are more than welcome TO READ, IMPROVE, and CONTRIBUTE BACK to the community. Those, who make the most noise don ‘t give a shit about the community. They care only about themselves.

If they run into an issue, they shout “Give me the f ‘ing author! Let him fix his junk! ”

People are nuts. They don ‘t appreciate someone ‘s time. Didn ‘t you want the free and open source software? F ‘ing take it! It ‘s open. Check it out from the version control system, change it to your liking and rebuild it. If you want to be nice to the community, become a contributor and submit it back to the code repository. Some licenses don ‘t even ask you to submit your changes back. The MIT license reads the following;

“Get the code I ‘ve been writing during the last year spending endless nights stealing time from my kids, spouse and mistresses. Do whatever you want with it, but please, please, please don ‘t remove my name form the code comments stating that I ‘m kinda original author. Would you be so kind and leave my name there? Promise? Cool, man! Just use it, I ‘ll keep writing more code for you cause I love doing it. ”

Professional programmers know that when a piece of software doesn ‘t work, and you tried but couldn ‘t figure out what ‘s wrong with it, you go to a colleague, he gives you a warm hug and simply says, “RTFM “, which stands for Read The F ‘ing Manual! This usually helps. It ‘s time to use another acronym: RTFC – Read The F ‘ing Code!

Just read the blog “I guess donating code is not enough anymore “. When I run into people like Keith, I ‘m getting a little pissed off. Just a little bit.

A year ago, our company has open sourced Clear Toolkit is a set of components and code generators that make enterprise Flex/Java developers a lot more productive. We wrote and published decent documentation, but recently I had a similar correspondence with one frustrated user who didn ‘t take time to read the manual. When I answered RTFM, he responded angrily, “I thought I ‘ve read somewhere that your product comes with one month of free tech support “.

Are you serious? RTFC!

I can tell you more, giving away free and open source is dangerous because some idiots can spoil your reputation by badmouthing you online. They ‘ll happily do it, if you didn ‘t spend enough time helping them learning your soft, or if they will actually open the code and will find some inefficient fragments written by you at 3AM just to make that damn thing work!

If you don ‘t like my open source software, be f ‘ing nice and do me a favor – stop using it, but do it quietly, please! I apologize for the hours you spent trying to use my software. I can write you an email with all apologies you want, but please have some respect for me taking time trying to make your life a bit easier. Didn ‘t work this time. Don ‘t want to RTFC? It ‘s fine with me, but please stay cool.

I hate giving software away for free, because people are f ‘king nuts!


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