"I don't know how many times I've run into this particular
mistake, but free software developers keep making it, so I think
it's worth a brief post. Free software is based on contact between
users and developers. Without that, it's just not very efficient,
and any free software project that breaks that bond is going to
flounder for the same reasons that so many proprietary products
flounder — total disconnect with the users.
"I just tried to get an update on a free software package that I
use. I'm not going to say which one, because ultimately, it doesn't
matter and I don't want to single anybody out. I've seen this
problem multiple times in the past. I've made this mistake myself.
So we'll just call this package "Q". But let's cut to the
"Keep your lines of communication open!
"Here's what happened. I've been running an experimental version
of Q on my web server, to see whether or not it's a good choice for
me. I've decided I like it pretty well, and I want to move into
using it on a production level. I also need to upgrade my whole
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