The following blogpost is the end result of a funny mail conversation I had with SourceTrunk's host Dimitri Larmuseau.
I enjoyed that conversation so much that I decided to lift it out of it's context and transpose it into a little 'short-story' that describes the feeling I have towards Open Source software.
This story might infuriate some of you Open Source users and developers.
Keep in mind that I am a fervent user of OS software. In a way I owe my love for Mac OS X for a great deal on the OS community. There would be no OS X without Open Source.There would be no Adium, no OpenOffice, No Drupal (on which this site runs), No Firefox,.... The list is endless.
Nevertheless, I do have a problem with some of the Open Source character. I run into it from time to time. A true OS person would say, well, it's easy, just get this and download that. Compile it like this and configure it like that and it works like a charm. Yes, that might be true, but that's not how I want it to run. I want a drag-and-droppable app with a stunning interface and only the 20 best features of the 20.000 features that are possible with OS.
So there you go. You can now read the article, and start flaming ;)
A man and a women enter a restaurant. A waiter kindly guides them to their seats. The waiter asks them if they want a drink first and the couple decides to go for a glass of wine.
Waiter: Ah, wine, of course. Good choice. There is this little problem though.
Man: What's that?
Waiter: Well, you see, the BottleOpener app v0.96 is still in a very early stage of development, Sir. We'll have to do some extra engineering, so there's no stable version yet.
Man: OK, so how do we get that glass of wine then?
Waiter: Well, you might want to try the dev. version but keep in mind that there's a 63,35% chance that it will shatter the whole bottle. We calculated this with BottleOpenerShatterChance 3.6. Very nice software, Sir. Do try it out.
Man: Oh. How kind of you to warn us. Is there a stronger bottle that might handle this BottleOpener's abuse?
Waiter (staring blindly at the man): Certainly, Sir.
Waiter: Er, the Bottle itself is still in beta, so the chances that it actually fits BottleOpener v0.96 are kind of slim. 39,25% to be exact, Sir.
Waiter: We do have a Corkneedle, Sir. This has proven to have a 100% reliability. We just push it trough the cork and out flows the wine.
Women (slightly irritated): Well, finally something that will get us that wine. Please do bring us those glasses now.
Waiter: Certainly Ma'am. I'll be with you in about an hour.
Women (getting agitated now): Why's that?
Waiter (apologetic): Well, the debit of the needle is a bit on the small side. We're able to get a full glass out of it every 39,5 minutes. It's not very fast but it's a 100% stable, unless...
Waiter (really in pain now): Unless we have problems opening WineFridge 2.63. It has been acting up lately so we might have to do a fallback to it's previous version, unless our main Sommelier writes a patch for it.
Women towards Man: OK, that's it. Come on, we're leaving. Next time you better book us a better restaurant where things are running like they should. I heard they have this great establishment a block away where they just upgraded the waiters to 6.7 and it sounds like a treat. I don't care that we actually have to pay them something to get them going.
So there you have it. My take on OS (in some occasions). If you're still feeling infuriated, feel free to re-read the disclaimer. If that doesn't help, well, flame-on. But keep in mind that this piece has no intention to diss all the OS devs and communities out there. Sure, this is exaggerated, but let's discuss this since there are certain aspects in the story I feel are true.