Robotic Tendencies
The personal blog of Robert McQueen

November 11, 2005

On contributing to Gaim…

Whilst I can’t claim to have done anywhere near as much for Gaim as Christian Hammond has, I did contribute to Gaim some time ago, and for my efforts I managed at least to attain the status of “Crazy Patch Writer”. However, I gave up trying to contribute to Gaim about three years ago.

After starting out as the Debian package maintainer, and one of the founders of #gaim (yes, I know, I’m sorry, it wasn’t always like that), I spent about two years submitting patches which were ignored by almost all of the developers, being forced to beg people with access (including the support/bug triaging guy, who doesn’t really code C) to review and commit them. At the time, nobody was being given CVS access because of a recalcitrant and unresponsive former developer holding the reigns of the Sourceforge project.

A few developers came and went, and in what I thought was a miracle, the now lead developer was made an administrator of the Sourceforge project and gradually started handing out access to other people who had been contributing. Except… I was passed over time and time again, and other contributors who had around for less time than myself were given access. I could accept this if I was given some justification, but I was ignored when I asked about getting CVS access and never given any reasons, despite having contributed hours and hours of my time and helped rewrite and clean up sizeable chunks of code. It actually had me close to tears on several occasions, and still upsets me a huge deal that no explanation was ever offered to me.

After starting out with packaging work in Debian, Gaim was the first project where I became involved with actual development, and I learnt a great deal from hacking on it, but when I started at university I decided I’d spent enough time pouring my heart into such an unwelcoming recipient, and I moved on quietly.

posted by ramcq @ 2:43 am
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4 responses to “On contributing to Gaim…”

  1. dantealiegri says:

    sadly, I also have put gaim on the list of projects that were not worth putting time into. It is a shame as well, gaim is one of the programs I spend a good amount of time using.

  2. Jones Lee says:

    Yes, I totally agree with you. The current GAIM Devel team are very lazy and stubborn. The project is on a very slow pace. Honestly to say, when I chat with those developers, they most the time ignore people’s opinions. I think I have had enough for GAIM. Why don’t you start a new project and lead the new team to success?

  3. devscott says:

    Your post was referenced in a recent post of mine. I just wanted to make you aware of it incase you might object.

    http://devscott.blogspot.com/2005/11/on-gaim.html

  4. ikonst says:

    I feel your pain. “gaim-love” (new developers being mentored and encouraged) is pretty much non-existant. To get attention to a patch, you have to work pretty hard. Bug reports are probably just ignored.

    The only viable alternative IM project to contribute time to is probably Kopete. SIM has a bulk of well-implemented but totally undocumented code and its maintainer doesn’t show any signs of wanting to release more versions.

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