Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

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ChriZathens
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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by ChriZathens »

ChekoSlovakia wrote:
ChriZathens wrote: Bottom line, your point is correct, but there are a lot of people out there who don't appreciate at all what they get for FREE and that is the saddest of all... :?
and you are one of them?
because i think no one dislikes free Softwares.
Apparently you did not understand what I said. My posts says:
Although some people get something for free, they do not appreciate this fact...

I did not write anywhere that me or anyone else dislikes free s/w .. :?
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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by Eelke »

"Appreciate" may be a hard term if you are not a native English speaker. You may appreciate the software in and of itself, but not "appreciate" ("take into account", "have consideration for") the fact that it is free because it is worked on by volunteers.
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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by Highway of Life »

Dictionary wrote:appreciate |əˈprē sh ēˌāt| verb
1 recognize the full worth of : be grateful for (something).
2 understand (a situation) fully; recognize the full implications of.
3 rise in value or price.
In this case, Chris was referring mostly to definition #1.

Here's an interesting observation:
People want release dates, it's a fairly well-known fact, people want to know when it's ready.
If the developers project a release date, if it is under-projected (as it often is), people get angry, accusations start flying at phpBB and the developers for missing their self-imposed "deadline"... er... estimate.

This is the reason that I believe phpBB and the developers try to avoid any projects for a release date, and therefore the best estimate is always “It will be done when it's done, no sooner and no later”. It would be easier to accurately predict release dates if the developers were paid to work on phpBB full-time, but the fact is that they are not, they rely on their free-time to code for phpBB, and this, as many of you know, is quite arbitrary. Can you accurately predict the completion of a large hobby project that you can only work on in your free time?
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ChriZathens
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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by ChriZathens »

Yeap... thanks David... ;)
In simple words what I wanted to say is that:
  1. You offer me something for free
  2. You develop this in your free time
  3. You clearly state that new versions is something relative cause you don't get paid for this software, so, reasonably, paid projects have priority (you've got to eat, too, right?)
  4. Despite that, you finally agree to give me an estimate to get me out of the dark...
  5. When I expect a new version at X date and don't get it, I start yelling at you because you did not meet the deadline...and I forget how grateful I should be in the first place because I get a free software and free support from you... :?
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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by DavidIQ »

Highway of Life wrote:If the developers project a release date, if it is under-projected (as it often is), people get angry, accusations start flying at phpBB and the developers for missing their self-imposed "deadline"... er... estimate.
Or worse yet, the devs start rushing to meet the release date and code mistakes are overlooked...then the accusations will be of a different sort. Can't seem to win in the dev world :roll:
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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by arod-1 »

EXreaction wrote:Fast releases are not what mature software is about. When there is an update every month it will cost you 6x what it would to run this software over a 6 month update cycle. This software is pretty stable and relatively bug free. More updates just means a lot more work for everybody.
well, this is a legitimate question:
what is the optimal release cycle for mature software?
let's look at the extremes:
clearly, releasing a new version every day does not make sense.
similarly, releasing every two years is obviously too slow.
so we can probably agree that the optimal cycle is somewhere between daily and one/2 years.
there are arguments why faster is better and other arguments why slower is better, and we can rehash them.
you phrased half of the argument why low frequency is good. the other half is that too short cycle means inadequate testing.
the other side is also valid: if i report a bug, and maybe even post a patch that fixes this bug, i do not want to wait a year for my fix to make it into upstream. too sleepy release cycle will cause the project to hibernate and many people will go and play elsewhere.

so what *is* the optimal frequency?
looking at leading OS projects (linux kernel, firefox, others), it seem to me that the most successful projects gravitate towards roughly 3-4 releases/year (which is curiously also 3-4 months per cycle).
as long we are at it, i may also add that the successful projects also tend to have more RC releases than phpbb, with the first RC typically around the middle of the cycle, or at 2/3 of the way at the latest.
phpbb uses a much shorter RC cycle, with only one or two RCs, typically 2 weeks each. i would keep the 2 weeks, but move to 2-3 RCs and 3-4 months/release. making the release a bit more predictable will be an icing on the cake.

that does not mean that the current situation is bad, it just means that one community member (myself) thinks that some minor changes will be an improvement.

peace.
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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by EXreaction »

Bleh, lost a whole nice post I was writing. :(

I agree that a 3-4 month release cycle would be perfect. I've even talked with the devs about that when we were discussing plans for the 3.X line. :)

RCs are something you have to be a bit cautious of, too many people like to install things that should not be used on a production environment and it would cause more work for devs and supporters. Here, once an RC is released, no changes other than bugs caused by changes made in the current version are fixed, so once an RC is released there should never be any new bugs introduced until release.
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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by arod-1 »

you might be interested in reading:
http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathe ... 01s04.html
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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by EXreaction »

Yes, faster release cycles do definitely have some advantages, but from my experience, most of those advantages only apply to people with a lot of free time on their hands who are really interested in the project themselves. Most people do not have a lot of free time on their hands and most people are more annoyed with constant updating. For the others, it is relatively easy to use the unstable SVN for their board.
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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by Pony99CA »

I think faster release cycles are great for most personal software (corporate software that may need to be "approved" is another issue). However, because phpBB is meant to be MODded, it's not such a good idea here. I suspect that most people want to install the software and just have it work, but if your site has lots of MODs or styles (or even different languages), that may not be the case.

So the question for something like phpBB becomes, is it better to cause a little pain by breaking a few MODs every 3-4 months or more pain by breaking more MODs every 6-12 months? I try to run without MODs, so I wouldn't have a problem with 3-4 month release cycles. Admins with lots of MODs may feel differently.

But, in an ideal world where no MODs or styles ever broke, why would anybody object to faster releases? If you only had to upload the new software and run the install script, could you really not find 30 minutes to do that? (But this isn't an ideal world. :D)

As for release dates, I don't have a problem with the current policy, but I agree with arod-1 that announcing a planned release time would be better. If you're going to miss that date, just post a new estimate and most of us will understand that it's a volunteer effort. (Those that don't can be banned. :D)

I suppose it depends on the development process, though. Do developers come up with a list of features and fixes they want in the next release and schedule be damned, or do they come up with an internal estimate of when they want the next release to come out and then plan the features and fixes that they think will fit?

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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by Kellanved »

At this time and point, I am inclined to shake my head. Free time activities are notoriously hard to plan and the educated observer of svn mails can develop a good gut feeling on how close a release is. This time, we even gave an ETA and it looks like we won't miss it by much.
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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by narqelion »

Fyi...8 minutes ago (as previously advised watch SVN... ;) )
10140 09/12/2009 06:15 PM Meik Sievertsen Tag 3.0.6-RC1
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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by Pony99CA »

Kellanved wrote:At this time and point, I am inclined to shake my head. Free time activities are notoriously hard to plan and the educated observer of svn mails can develop a good gut feeling on how close a release is. This time, we even gave an ETA and it looks like we won't miss it by much.
And I think most of us appreciated that ETA and aren't pushing you to meet it. I'm in no hurry for 3.0.6.

Yes, free time can be hard to plan, but that's why I asked how the development process works. Do you at least try to come up with an internal release date? One trick that I learned in the software development business is having an internal release date (ideally fairly realistic) and an external release date (generally "worst case"). (Well, "worst case" for normal things, not plagues or nuclear war. :D) That way, if you can meet the internal release date, or even beat the external release date, you look like geniuses. ;)

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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by Kellanved »

Development is not date driven, so any such date is pointless. The upcoming release was special, as we announced a set of features that would mark the release. But the normal modus operandi for the stable release is just that: release after a number of bugs were fixed, i.e. after ~6 months.
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Re: Discuss: Blog post about phpBB 3.0.6 plans

Post by arod-1 »

Kellanved wrote:Development is not date driven, so any such date is pointless. The upcoming release was special, as we announced a set of features that would mark the release. But the normal modus operandi for the stable release is just that: release after a number of bugs were fixed, i.e. after ~6 months.
you are describing the current state of affairs, while we were discussing different opinions regarding the "preferred" or "optimal" state of affairs.
it is of course 100% legit to think that the current state of affairs *is* optimal, but it should also be legitimate to think otherwise.

as to "date driven" vs. "feature driven": usually, in reality, it is never 100% one or the other, but again, looking at many successful OS projects, many use (either from the start or moved to this mode) the date-driven mode, where the attitude is: "if a feature did not mature in time to make it to the release, it will wait to next one".
bugs are of course different from features, but currently the distinction is not always 100% clear, and the bugtracker in effect is used for both.

peace.
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