Fluent NHibernate: A great project

I have to admit, I stopped lurking to the Fluent NHibernate mailing list a while ago. Ironically, it wasn’t because I thought nothing was going on, simply that the sheer volume of emails was producing massive amounts of noise in my inbox.  The unfortunate aspect of this is that often with .NET projects, there’s very little evidence of life outside of their mailing lists (for example, a lot of activity on the Castle project is focusing on Mono and Silverlight, try finding that information on their web site).

Now, I know from personal experience just quite how painful it is to produce a patch for an open source project, never mind actually maintain one.  The people doing this are typically doing it because they find the end product useful in its own right.  End users, who don’t contribute to the improvement of the project, are necessarily second class citizens in amateur open source projects.

Now, take a look at this bug report and comments #4 and #5.  #4 was me in a pretty bad mood, I’d just lost a day trying to work out what was going on.  #5 is a completely reasonable response from someone who has put a lot of work in to the project.  It does two things

  • It explains the current priorities and why the issue is not fixed.
  • It reassures the end user that his concerns are appreciated.

As I say, no-one forces people to work on amateur open source projects, and trawling through bug lists is definitely pretty far down most developers list of favourite things to do.  That’s what I mean when I say that FH is a great project.  (The code’s quite useful too…)

The aspect that I haven’t mentioned is that projects that don’t take end users seriously tend to wither, if only because they run out of new contributors.  Whereas I’m not qualified to help with the code, I can produce a decent bug report.  I’m going to go do that right now…

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Julian Birch

Full time dad, does a bit of coding on the side.

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