[lug] Re: recycling code [WAS Fwd: NICHOLAS PETRELEY: "The Open Source" ]

Matt Clauson mec at dotorg.org
Thu Mar 22 11:39:42 MST 2001

On Wednesday 21 March 2001 22:06, you wrote:
> >I can look at the code for one of these, rip out the IMAP stuff, and have
> > a patch slapped together for Kmail in probably a couple of hours.  I'll
> > have a
> Then by all means, do. I'd like to see someone patch IMAP into kmail in a
> couple hours work.
> You must be code god or something.

You miss the point I'm trying to make here.  I contend that by re-using 
someone else's still functional code instead of rewriting all of it by 
scratch (even after looking at someone else's to understand it -- I'll cover 
that below) you can save MASSIVE amounts of time and effort, and devote time 
to what you REALLY need to concentrate on, the UI, and any 'special 
functionality' you're looking for.

>   dont know about other developers, but I use snippets of others code in my
> apps. But mostly look to their code, to learn from, that way, I dont have
> to include their copyrighted code, and include their copyright, in my
> project. Its all for the glory, man.

So you'd rather take the ego boost from not giving someone else credit for 
completely functional code?  That's a rather selfish attitude to take in a 
culture reputed (in the outside world, at least) for being more of a 'gift 
sharing oriented' group.  If you're looking to have your ego stroked, I 
suggest politics -- there's always room in that profession.

The advantage many people see in the Open Source community (and the view that 
ESR puts forth a lot, as I interpret it) is that many pairs of 
[(eyes)|(hands)|(minds)] working on code, and having that code available to 
be SHARED, instead of reinventing what doesn't need to be, is a good thing.  
Items like KDE vs. Gnome, Linux vs. *BSD, etc. because of MAJOR philosophical 
differences are understandable, are a good thing, and I believe promote 
healthy competition in the Open Source community.  However, the view I see 
coming from you is two-fold:  "I don't want to reuse his code because I don't 
want to have to give him credit for it" shines forth, as well as "Since I 
don't like the way he indents his code, I don't want to use it."  If the 
indenting bothers you *THAT* much, reformat the damn thing!  It won't take 
*THAT* long, unless you're rewriting the damned kernel...  And there *ARE* 
tools to deal with this!

> Still, people have different views of how the program should look, and act,
> and how the code should be layed out. You want to look at a patched
> together mess, look at the code for kdevelop. Ughh, great program, but I
> would HATE to hack on it.

I haven't looked at the source for Kdevelop, but I will to get an idea of 
what you're getting at.  However, if I'm reading this right, you're 
complaining about how the code is written a lot, as well as how it looks and 
acts -- which is what I'm addressing!  If you don't like the way the code is 
layed out, take the source, reformat it, and rebuild it!  You might have a 
better way, you don't really know.  Same with the UI and look/feel aspects!  
YOU DON'T HAVE TO RECODE IT ALL FROM SCRATCH!  You've got the source to the 
app right there!  It'll take you a lot less time to take the code and rebuild 
it than to write it all up from scratch...  And who knows, maybe people will 
thank you for fixing some of their problems!

I'm sorry if I'm ranting too hard, and I'm not directing a personal attack at 
you.  However, it appears to me that you're making this extremely hard when 
it doesn't have to be -- there's plenty of OSS apps out there that have lots 
of good code in them.  You don't have to write all new code for your new 
mailreader PIMP (Pimp Is More than Pine) when you can take the editor 
functions from Pico, the POP and IMAP code from Mutt, and toss it all 
together?  Yes, you'll have to give credits to other projects, if not 
specific people...  But they'll have saved you a lot of time NOT reinventing 
the wheel, and you can work on getting whatever feature (oh joy, it prints my 
mail out in BINARY) that you want.


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