Basti's Scratchpad on the Internet

Posts tagged "thank-you":

14 Oct 2018

Appreciation for Open Source and Commercial Software

I recently released my first-ever piece of commercial software, a plugin for the X-Plane flight simulator. I wrote this primarily to scratch my own itch, but thought other users might like it, too, so I put it up on the store. What struck me however, were the stark difference between the kinds of responses I got to this, as compared to my open source projects: They were astonishingly, resoundingly, positive!

You see, I have a bunch of open source projects, with a few thousand downloads per month, and a dozen or so issues on Github per week. Most of my interactions with my users are utilitarian, and efficient. Someone reports a bug or asks for help, I ask for clarification or a pull request, we iterate a few times until the issue is resolved. The process is mechanical and the tone of our conversation is equally unemotional. This is as it should be.

After having released my flight simulator plugin, however, people thanked me! They congratulated me! They extolled about the greatness of what I had built! And they did this despite the fact that the initial release had quite a few major bugs, and even flat-out did not work for some people. Yet even people who couldn't get it to work were grateful for my help in resolving their issue!

This blew my mind, in comparison with the drab "I found a bug", "Could you implement…" I was used to from my open source work. There, the feedback I got was mostly neutral (bug reports, feature requests), and sometimes even negative ("You broke something!"). So I release my software for free, as a gift, and get average-negative feedback. My commercial work, in contrast, costs money, and yet the feedback I get is resoundingly positive! I can not overstate how motivating it is to get praise, and love, from my users.

I think this is a huge problem for our Open Source community. I had my run-ins with burnout, when all the pull requests came to be too much, and I started dreading the little notification icon on Github. And I think the negativity inherent in bug reports and feature requests has a huge part to do with this. In the future, I will try to add more praise to my bug reports from now on, just to put things into perspective.

But I think we should go further than that. We should create tools for praising stuff, beyond the impersonal Stars on Github. We should be able to write reviews on Github, and recommendations, and blog posts about cool libraries we find.

I recently got my first github issue that was just a thank-you note. I loved it! We need more positivity like that.

Tags: open-source thank-you
20 Dec 2014

A Digital Thank You

This is the time of the year when we reflect on our lives, and be thankful. We write Christmas cards to people we like, and celebrate with our loved ones. At my job, I am sitting in front of a screen all day, and I interacted not only with people, but also their software. So this is a column where I want to thank people I don't know for their delightful software:

Org Mode

Thank you, Carsten Dominik, Bastien Guerry, and everyone else, for this amazing piece of software! I have used Org mode for my research journal, this blog, writing my thesis, general note-taking, and all-around planning tool. Thank you for making my life so much easier to manage!

Matthias Geier

Thank you, Matthias, for your many contributions to PySoundFile and PySoundCard, and our many enlightening discussions. You have brought these two projects far further than I would have ever gone, and I learned a lot in the process! Also, a quick thank you to Github, which made our collaboration effortless and enjoyable.

fish

Thank you, Ridiculous Fish, for bringing sane scripting, glorious VGA color, and general awesomeness to the command line! Finally, a shell that does not drown you in messy configuration, crazy syntax, and archaic conventions. Finally, a shell with beautiful documentation, and sane defaults! Thanks for all the fish!

BitTorrent Sync

Dropbox is awesome, no doubt, but it still feels awkward to upload all my documents to a faceless corporation. Synchronizing data between computers is still hard–or rather, used to be hard. Because this year I discovered btsync. I now have a real off-site backup and file synchronization system fully under my own control, and it took all of ten minutes to set up. Thank you!

X-Plane

This year, I got back into an old hobby of mine: Flight Simulation. In particular, this year I re-discovered X-Plane, and the marvelous and free sceneries by SimHeaven and Andras Fabian. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be any pilot school around where I can complete my real-world pilot's license, so flight simulation will have to do. But with this simulator, I am enjoying flight simulation more than ever!

Tags: thank-you
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