It's been a long week, but a good one in terms of effort and result. I should be happy as I sit writing this in a naturally lit room with windows looking overlooking a wonderful Swiss lake, but I'm not.
Instead, I'm wrapped in an ongoing saga and yesterday LWN carried an original story on the whole Linus-switches-Aaron-replies thing.
To be blunt, I really dislike writing about topics such as that. They just aren't fun: the forensic analysis of January 2008 is extremely non-trivial in terms of cause/effect/solution dynamics and I know that it will always result in a certain amount of reaction from certain individuals that can only be described as non-useful. So while necessary to engage in, there is no short term win to be had; only hard work. If we don't talk about these things, though, we end up risking not learning how to improve process. If we do talk about them .. well .. I get to deal with days full of shit. (Sorry for strong word, there just is no other set of letters that quite captures it.)
As a result of this story breaking last week and continuing to be dragged this way and that I've had other things to do than celebrate 4.2. For instance, I spent time the other day discussing the issues with a Fedora KDE team that had to first be led away from blame-gaming to solution-gathering. That kind of stuff is neither easy nor enjoyable. In fact, I found it extremely tiring and stressful. Keeping patience and building consensus are not easy tasks. Realize: I don't even use Fedora, I just care about what happens to Free software.
So this morning I found time to read Jake Edge's article on LWN and came away disappointed and discouraged because there is nothing new at all in it. Why bother to editorialize if you all you do is repeat what has already been written? I keep hoping for some bone fide critical thought, consideration and the generation of improvement.
What I find most amazingly depressing about this situation is that it is happening precisely as we are releasing 4.2: a really good release that shows quite plainly what we are aiming for today and beyond and which is in no small way a result of the hard decisions around 4.0. I can't really feel any of the "win" around this moment however.
When I read this in the LWN article:
"KDE 4.2 has just been released, and early reports would indicate that it is very functional. With the problems from the KDE 4.0 release—now a year old—fading in the memory of many, a rekindling of those flames is probably less than completely welcomed by the project."
All I could think was, "Well, no kidding. How about letting me enjoy the release for a couple days?"
There is no particularly useful reason for writing this blog entry (and I'm sure several people who contribute little beyond entropy to existence will step up to remind me of that) other than to just "get it off my chest". On a week I was hoping to enjoy, to breath a deep breath and say "good work, everyone!" for the 4.2 release, I have found myself surrounded in the past.
It's not like we couldn't have had this conversation a week or two from now, right? The past isn't going anywhere, but the present is fleeting.