Load Gun, Point at Foot, Shoot.

Sometimes it is hard to believe what some people do. I read on Derick Rethans site this post about a Fan Mail. This kind of a response saddens me as I think people are starting to forget their manners.

One thing people seem to constantly forget is that open source projects like PHP are fundamentally volunteer efforts. One can argue that Derick works for EZ Systems, and they derive revenue from PHP and pay him to work on PHP, but the fact is I know Derick spends significant amounts of “off the clock” personal time working on PHP — deep internal core parts of PHP that you and I use every day. Derick has freely chosen to work on PHP, and freely donates his time and effort to the endeavor.

People are rational beings. Everything we do is “good” in some manner, because that is how we are wired to motivate ourselves to do anything. We may disagree on the realized benefits or the percentage of the “good” we will receive from any given actions, but we should always try to remember that another person is trying to do the right thing from their perspective.

To the issue at hand, backwards compatibility breaks suck. This issue was not communicated very well, but if you were diligent, you could find areas where this was talked about on the internals list (for example here).

I think some of the core developers got a bit tired of responding to this particular issue, and started to push the “send a patch or forever hold your peace” line. I don’t think this particular line of thinking does the community a service either. I like to think I have contributed to the PHP community as a whole through discussion of use of PHP, example of code, contribution to projects written in PHP and by writing books and articles on PHP. All this aside, I have never contributed a line of C to the core of PHP, and I think there are many others in similar positions. Similarly, I think many people work hard to put together detailed bug reports, and these people are also contributing to the PHP community as a whole, though not in the same manner as the core developers.

Overall on this issue, I want to express my thanks to Derick for the many long hours he has put into making PHP a better language, and a great productive tool. Thank you Derick.