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David Reid Speaks Out.

Filed under the:  department.
Posted by:Ryan on Thursday, 19 Sep, 2002 @ 8:45 PM
 
Submitted News

David Reid, BeOS coder extraordinnare, and former OpenBeOS contributor, has posted a public statement about why he left OpenBeOS after several questions from people. He sites serious leadership issues, and problems with the management of the codebase. Either this is a (very calmly stated) rant from someone who left under bad circumstances, or else it is a pretty damning statement. If it’s the later, I would hope the OpenBeOS team would seriously evaluate this, and use it as a wake up call. There are a lot of people’s hopes riding on you guys. Don’t screw it up.



42 Responses to “David Reid Speaks Out.”

  1. moooooooo Says:

    hmmmmmm

    edited for the common good.
    peter

    [Edited at 21:21 Sep 20 2002 by moooooooo]

  2. GCrain Says:

    Good to hear the reality of the matter

    That was a very good open letter from David. It shows how much of an expert coder, and how professional he is. Unfortunately, the OpenBeos looks like it is going through a slow period now. I really frowned when I saw that discussions were focused on how to raise money, and distribute it to finance the project, yet good progress was already being made. I can only hope that things get back on track so that someday, hopefully, some of the great coders that did so much will want to contribute again. We don’t want to alienate the remaining contributors either. I think its time to step back and figure out how to keep the project moving forward in a contructive way.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Remember that mozilla took 4 years to get to where it is now

    They went through lots of developers. Faces change, people come and go on the projects but if the interest is still there they will continue to move forward. Say you’re not a programmer but would like to help out? Well start learing how to program now! Perhaps in time you’ll be able to help out coding too. Also remember that OBOS will also need drivers and programs, which are not part of their goal, but need to be there sometime. Drivers are now in the works for a lot of the newer hardware but more will be needed. Just because they lose a key guy doesn’t mean the project is dead or doomed. It’s not easy getting a large number of people to agree on anything.

  4. scottmc Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 09/20/2002 03:12:55 AM

    Re: Remember that mozilla took 4 years to get to where it is now

    I wrote that, thought i was logged in…
    -Scottmc

  5. Frans Says:

    I know what David talks about

    I worked on OBOS and BlueOS too for a while, but stopped for various reasons.

    Among the things David describes are things I have to totally agree with:

    >> I have a feeling that with more kernel development experience on the team many of the mistakes ….

    I have applied twice for the kernel team at the early stages. You all know that I have some experience in coding (Refraction, SampleStudio, Wacom driver,…)

    I offered this, as I have deep knowlege of C, C and Assembly on various processors.

    The answer I got twice: The team is full !!

    A few months later, the size of the team was nearly doubled !

    >> looked at, overriding the original codes logic or intent …

    I have submitted a large set of Interface Classes to the OBOS project: BButton, BControl, BInvoker, BPoint, BRect, BCheckBox, ……

    They have been on the CVS server for a while, and were modified to fit only the OBOS project, as they also had drawcode for the GONX style.

    Then at one day, the site was listing the contributors of the project, and I was not there ! The adjusted that.

    But this went even beyond that:
    I checked the CVS repository and found that all my sources that were checked to work under the current BeOS appserver, were replaced by classes from someone else. No note of my work, not even in the history !!!!!

    And they are not even complete nor correct !

    One year after I submitted those classes, they are nearly at the same stage they were then.

    I personaly have lost hope on the OBOS project and am working on another OS.

    Frans van Nispen.

  6. Big Al Says:

    In Response To Frans @ 09/20/2002 06:58:19 AM

    Re: I know what David talks about

    Well this certainly sucks. There’s no excuse for any project, especially one of this large nature, to turn away developers - especially ones with skill, talent and WORKING KNOWLEGE!

    Dang. Every time I get my hopes up that OBOS just might work something comes along to dash it to the ground. It sounds like in many ways the project is working in circles (ie: code gets completed, someone comes along and changes it for whatever reason and it breaks).

    I remember a discussion on Slashdot about Linus’ overprotection of the code and changes weren’t getting attention or getting posted like they should have been. Times like this I think having one, two or three max people allowing changes would be a good thing.

    Sorry to hear about your experience Frans and David. Sadly I’m sure you’re not the only ones.

    The big question is now: How can OBOS correct the situation? Because it needs to be done - and done soon.

  7. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To Big Al @ 09/20/2002 07:51:09 AM

    Re: I know what David talks about

    OBOS will survive in some form or another.

    Either the current team will sort out their issues, or they will fail, and a new group will pick it up. Its open… so it wont go anywhere.

    I posted this news for two reasons:

    1) I hoped it would get OBOS to evaluate the situation, and actually unify. (assuming they arent at the moment)

    2) It seemed newsworthy. ;)

  8. Technix Says:

    In Response To Nutcase @ 09/20/2002 08:14:14 AM

    Re: I know what David talks about

    And you like being a sh!t disturber…

    ;-)

  9. Big Al Says:

    In Response To Nutcase @ 09/20/2002 08:14:14 AM

    Re: I know what David talks about

    I think it was great that you posted it personally. Stuff like this that tears a community apart needs to be made public before more damage is done.

    I get tired of people who pretend there are no problems while the world falls apart around them. This project needs to be no different - let’s look at it in totality, warts and all.

    Thanks, Nutcase. I appreciated the article at least. :)

  10. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Frans @ 09/20/2002 06:58:19 AM

    Re: I know what David talks about

    Er, Frans…
    I still see your name on the code into the CVS.
    Here, for example:
    http://cvs.sourceforge.net/cgi-bin/viewcvs.cgi/open-beos/current/src/kits/interface/Rect.cpp?rev=1.1&content-type=text/vnd.viewcvs-markup

    Isn’t this your code?

  11. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To moooooooo @ 09/20/2002 12:42:01 AM

    Re: hmmmmmm

    Not so many people have Bone.
    Even more, many people don’t understand why some developers program for Bone, since it’s not officially released.

  12. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To GCrain @ 09/20/2002 12:54:02 AM

    Re: Good to hear the reality of the matter

    I agree. This was posted to be /constructive/ - I really dont want this to turn into a negative thing. It just shows that the project needs to focus, and re organize. Thats it. It has made amazing progress already, and could easily continue to do so. But by solving these issues, they will be /so/ much stronger in to the future.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To GCrain @ 09/20/2002 12:54:02 AM

    Re: Good to hear the reality of the matter

    I’m right with you nutcase.

    I think an official reply from OBOS is called for. As someone has said, this kind of thing can break the project apart without anyone knowing about it. Let’s have a response from Michael (and some of the active coders too) posted on the OBOS site. I’m especially sad to hear Frans’ story of his involvement - he is doing some great work for BeOS at xentronix, and I’m a proud member of the refraction beta team. Someone in a lebuzz comment posted a link to a diary entry from David which said much the same thing, in a slightly less politically correct way.

    I d/led the OpenBFS beta, and it seemed to work, but I switched back because I need virtual memory. However, this made me think - OpenBFS is the most complete part of OpenBeOS atm, and it’s about 200 something kb? We’ve got a hell of a long way to go.

    I’ve followed OBOS more than B.E.O.S because they seem to recognise the number of interested people, and keep them up to date with news - they try and involve the community, and I think that’s very important. But we want them to respond to us too. So Michael, let’s have an official response to David’s points in the OBOS news section. I’ve still got faith we will create “the OS of the future”.

    tb100 (Simon)
    ps: ive been trying to log in for the last 20mins, so sorry if this is anonymous.

  14. mario Says:

    In Response To Technix @ 09/20/2002 10:03:13 AM

    Re: I know what David talks about

    The hungarians would call it, literally translated: “stirring up the shit”
    [Edited at 15:31 Sep 20 2002 by mario]

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Frans Van Nispen LEFT AS WELL

    I just heard this on beshare!!
    Frans van Nispen, the Xentronix guy who had also joined OBOS recently, LEFT AS WELL OBOS, because he said that things are not going well and that there are not many people _really_ working on OBOS and that there is no real management.

    I also heard that Frans joined recently the Syllable OS team, just as a hobby.

    I think OpenBeOS will never come. It is just too much work and not many cluefull people are working on it. :(

  16. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 09/20/2002 4:29:06 PM

    Re: Frans Van Nispen LEFT AS WELL

    I think it will come. Its a lot of work, but it’s lots of small achievable work. Having watched the meters progress, i am actually pretty optimistic about it.

  17. axeld Says:

    Do not take anything too serious

    Please, don’t let you scare away from David’s words. It’s his personal view on the things and I really can only agree with his last sentence (although I think the future of OpenBeOS is a bit brighter).

    As you might know, I am also contributing to the OpenBeOS project, and I have made other experiences as David. I really think that his statement wouldn’t stand against an objective opinion (one that I can’t supply, either, though). And I also think that some of his statements are rather mean than anything else (well, he obviously didn’t left the project because he worked incredibly well with us).

    That doesn’t mean that there is nothing to improve in the OpenBeOS organization - in fact, there already has been many improvements made over time.
    We don’t have a dedicated place where discontent developers can bare their souls, though.

    So, the only thing that bothers me is Frans, and I really don’t know what went wrong there. Frans has proven to be a capable developer, and that’s just the kind of people that we need and can use. I don’t know if he would made the same experiences if he would come today, but I sure don’t think or hope so (and I also don’t think that the kernel team is full, for that matter).

    At least I haven’t found it hard to become part of the team, and I also haven’t had any problems with all the developers currently involved in the project.
    Of course, the lack of direct communication is a problem for every project - it sure could run much better if we would sit next to each other, or could meet every day, or even work on it full time. But that’s just not possible, and I think we’re doing quite well given those constraints.

    I created a BeGroovy account just for this comment - although I thought I would already have one. At least, it had a good side then, too :)

  18. shaka Says:

    David Reid’s guidelines

    David,
    You really should write a set of guidelines for the open-beos world.
    I think we all would benefit. If for no other reason, then to see to it that another team doesn’t have the same drawbacks.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    You could have solved the problem

    every big project has some problems. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t sort out the problems.
    David you could have talked to the Project leader that is Michael and could have solved the problem.

  20. tb100 Says:

    In Response To axeld @ 09/20/2002 10:34:58 PM

    Re: Do not take anything too serious

    Thanks for posting Axel. Also, thanks for all the work on OpenBFS that you are doing - that is one impressive piece of coding. Any leads on the virtual memory bug? BTW, looking in the filesystems folder, will OBOS also have to recreate the fat32 driver and all the others?

    And how far away is the kernel from being useable - as in having its own filesystem (OpenBFS i guess) etc? I think Michael saying it could be a very merry christmas is very optimistic - but what do the actual coders think?

    Frans is a very good developer, it would be great if he could be persuaded to try again with OBOS. I still feel an official response on the website would be good, from Michael and the main coders, stating you are still united, and maybe agreeing to make some policy changes? This would really help to reassure the community, and maybe persuade some disaffected contributers to come back to the project.

    Keep up the great work you’re doing on OBOS.

    Simon.

  21. davidr Says:

    In Response To axeld @ 09/20/2002 10:34:58 PM

    Re: Do not take anything too serious

    I’m not going to get sucked into anything, but reading this it’s nice to know how Axel feels about my abilities and he seems relieved I’ve left…

    Anyone else wonder why people keep leaving having read that?

  22. davidr Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 09/21/2002 00:26:36 AM

    Re: You could have solved the problem

    Like I didn’t try.

  23. davidr Says:

    In Response To shaka @ 09/20/2002 10:52:47 PM

    Re: David Reid’s guidelines

    It’s not *my* project, nor is it my place to dictate to anyone how to do things. Everyone needs to put their own house in order.

  24. mario Says:

    It can be amended

    After reading all the comments and David’s diary, I concluded that it’s not hopeless. I am a real PITA as a colleague, and don’t work too well in teams - too much of an individualist - and yet, even I manage to communicate efficiently with my teammembers. Even better, I manage to have a good relationshopt with some of them!

    So, if I can do it, anyone can. I will eat my hat if these guys don’t get down to business sooner or later. It takes soulsearching and ego-deflation on all sides, but it will happen.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To davidr @ 09/21/2002 07:11:41 AM

    Re: Do not take anything too serious

    Why do you surface 2 months after leaving OBOS to stab people in the back? Your diary and comments posted on various sites reflect on you. Maybe it is a healthy sign that you have left after all.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Frans @ 09/20/2002 06:58:19 AM

    Re: I know what David talks about

    Frans, did you communicate with Michael Phipps about these problems?
    -Jace

  27. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 09/21/2002 09:03:52 AM

    Re: Do not take anything too serious

    This kind of argument is not helpful.

  28. Zaranthos Says:

    In Response To mario @ 09/21/2002 08:07:53 AM

    What really needs to happen.

    Axel got locked in BGA’s basement early on and look how well that worked out. Axel is so happy to be free that nothing could make him feel bad now. I think what David needs is a few weeks in BGA’s dungeon to clear his thoughts.

    ;-P

  29. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 09/21/2002 09:24:45 AM

    Re: Do not take anything too serious

    Neither was David’s

  30. Big Al Says:

    In Response To davidr @ 09/21/2002 07:13:19 AM

    Re: David Reid’s guidelines

    In all projects there’s going to be clashing of personalities and opinions. Of course if you didn’t have the clashes you might never expand your eyes and see things from a different point of view. (This isn’t pointed at anyone in particular - I just find when I’m managing projects I enjoy people who disagree because it usually helps refine a better project.)

    Frans and David - do you think it would help if (like Linux) there’s only a couple of people who actually update code with submitted changes so you don’t get good code overwritten with bad code? Would such a method work better?

  31. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To davidr @ 09/21/2002 07:11:41 AM

    Re: Do not take anything too serious

    Axel didn’t make any comment on your abilities (or maybe I missed that part). I assume you’ve based (some) of your comment on:

    “well, he obviously didn’t left the project because he worked incredibly well with us.”

    First of all, it is not fair to judge what he meant, on a sentence that isn’t correct (grammar wise). I think he meant to put something between “project” and “because”.

    It should have read, I think: “Well, he obviously didn’t leave the project because of this (the things he mentioned in his ‘Leaving OpenBeos’ statement), because he worked incredibly well with the rest of the network kit team.”

    If you really want to read about the sentiments of people, you should have read the mailinglist archiveS for the time after you (mr. Reid) left.

    Thank you for your attention,
    _V_ (I use this nick on beshare, I do not have a Begroovy account and I have issues with posting my real name all over the internet)

  32. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 09/21/2002 8:05:59 PM

    Re: Do not take anything too serious

    P.S. I meant the openbeos & openbeosnetteam mailinglist archiveS

  33. axeld Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 09/21/2002 8:05:59 PM

    Re: Do not take anything too serious

    I didn’t think that this particular sentence was not correct, and I still can’t see any problems with it, but then, I am not a native speaker.
    OTOH it’s nice to have given it some unintended double meaning :-)

    Although I didn’t want to get personal, I couldn’t resist completely - stating that we worked incredibly well together would be as untrue as stating the contrary.

  34. axeld Says:

    In Response To tb100 @ 09/21/2002 05:34:44 AM

    Re: Do not take anything too serious

    Yes, we have to recreate the fat32 driver (and others as well). But at least that source is available, although I haven’t found many people yet who liked Be’s implementation :-)

    Well, also Michael is an actual coder :-)
    I don’t know if we have anything nice on christmas, but at least it could happen. It might also happen later. It’s really hard to say this for an open source project.

    I think we will a news item about this on our page, too, but why should anybody think we aren’t “united”? Why else would we work together as a team, towards the same goal, then?

  35. mario Says:

    In Response To axeld @ 09/22/2002 01:55:44 AM

    Re: Do not take anything too serious

    OTOH it’s nice to have given it some unintended double meaning

    It’s not nice at all, expecially in this instance it isn’t: am I to believe that you did, in fact, mean to belittle David’s competence? That would make you an asshole, to a certain extent. However, since it’s not written correctly (how dos that reflect on you?), you have the opportunity of pulling out, by saying “that’s not what I meant”. I respect much more people that say what they think and then stand by it.

    You still have not set your record straight with regards to this sentence, so I am really curious about your reply - if I ever get one. And don’t be offended by what I said, as long as you show some character, you’ll be allright.

  36. mario Says:

    In Response To Zaranthos @ 09/21/2002 09:38:46 AM

    Re: What really needs to happen.

    Next time he should get locked with an English grammar book with him. Helps to avoid painful missunderstandings.

  37. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To axeld @ 09/22/2002 01:55:44 AM

    Re: Do not take anything too serious

    It’s “he did(n’t) leave” or “he left” (possibly followed by “, not because”. At least that’s how I remembered my english lessons. I am not a native speaker of english either.

    And I’m sorry I apparently misinterpreted your comment. I thought the actual netteam worked pretty good back then, (discounting the outburst of David when he left for a while and nothing had been done, as I recall). Therefore I thought David misinterpreted the sentence.

    My apologies,
    _V_

  38. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Big Al @ 09/20/2002 07:51:09 AM

    Re: I know what David talks about

    I backed away from working on OBOS for similar reasons stated.

    One that is not mentioned is that the project is being done bass ackwards.

    Developers signed up and immediately started working on external code. The kernel has been left till last. Massive amounts of the energy of initial enthusiasm have been wasted making surface code.

    The whole OS would be up and running by now if
    everyone had focused on the kernel first. The
    kernel is the central engine of the OS.

    OBOS should say “Screw binary compatibility”.
    By the time the OS is running nobody will care about those old apps anyway.

  39. mario Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 09/22/2002 6:08:47 PM

    Re: I know what David talks about

    Well, at least I will care. Maybe you should rephrase to “most won’t care”. But even there you might be wrong.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To mario @ 09/21/2002 08:07:53 AM

    Re: It can be amended

    As an electrical engineer who has had the task of documenting and modifying 10-15 year old undocumented Motorola Intel & PIC assembly code I can say one thing reguarding coders:

    They are the most arrogant people on earth with 0 interpersonal communication ability. Zero, none, nine, nada. Why is this? they spend their time coding instead of talking to people! Engineers & coders have no time for BS or for being polite. They get to the point and air out their opinions–there is no time in their day for “fluff language.” I have yet to meet an engineer (one that acutally does any work) that is really friendly.

    One more thing: Too many cooks spoil the broth.

    While developing software–anykind–one begins to feel very cofindent “like I’m the most logical person in the world.” After feeling this way about your code, someone believes you have bugs in your code and wants to change it. After feeling all “logical” how would you like it if someone goes and changes your work?

    As for working in teams? I can’t see more than 1 developer working on 1 thing ata time. I dunno how the hell OS people do it– If someone did no work, or was slow I’d raise hell about it.

    Just an opinion from a developer who knows the frustration of “teamwork.” Teamwork, in my experience (proprietary designs for corporations,) means one person does all the work and almost always goes against the grain of the group–while the credit, accolades, and respect get distributed among the group.

    –DS

  41. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 10/16/2002 12:04:22 AM

    Re: It can be amended

    Just an addition:

    I include myself in the arrogant description. Also– the coder may indeed have bugs in his code, but admitting that would be admitting you’re wrong–a difficult thing to overcome for the egomaniacs out there. The more you code, the more arrogant you become– I have seen this time and time again. rare is the person who is humble and brilliant AND HARD WORKING.

  42. Anonymous Says:

    Il a raison

    Notre ami a eu bien raison de quitter Open BeOS !
    Vive BeOS 5.0.4 rennomé en BeOS Developper edition !

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