I joined Gentoo about two years ago, initially to work on Gentoo/FreeBSD and multimedia (Sound and Video) stuff. With the time passing, I ended up helping with PAM herd (mostly because it was Martin alone, and I needed some changes handled because of Gentoo/FreeBSD), then KDE, and then in a various order media-tv, CJK, Ruby, the Gentoo/Alt leadership (basically the new Gentoo/Alt project), the forming of the ALSA team (me and phreak), and lately fonts team with the FreeType 2.2⁄2.3 bump and plans to stable.
I’ve been criticised a lot in the past, because of my suggestions about —as-needed, because of Gentoo/FreeBSD existence, because of a lot of things. Sometimes I could even find myself thinking with the point of view of who criticised me and seen that yeah there was space not to like my approaches. It’s point of view.
But one thing I thought I deserved was at least some respect, both as a human being, and as a contributor. I always tried to play safe, not to criticise projects ideas and behaviour based on who was the person behind them, but just for their own nature. And I only insulted when someone else started it – and most of the times, the only target was spb. If I felt like criticising, I usually tried to think about them and never ended up doing names to users in public, to avoid compromising other devs for things that might have just been a misunderstanding or a problem of point of view.
But with some people, you just can’t be good enough, and they end up insulting and being verbally abusive. One could hope that someone would take care of them, Gentoo has a Developers Relations team for that, no? Not always, not for everybody in the same measure. It’s human not to use the same measure with everybody and I’m not saying they have to, but at least they should be concerned about trying to be as impartial as they can for the role they cover, especially when they are told so explicitly.
I’ve been scolded in public before for being harsh with other devs; when I did, it was usually because of arguments that had no start and no end, or because that particular person already wasted my time before; I was usually sorry afterward and said so to the other person when I was a bit more calm. But I didn’t insult, the worse you can find is a threat (followed by no action) to beu to “make his life impossible” when he brought on XMMS again on gentoo-dev (I’d like to think that with beu we cleared this up already).
But now I reached the point where I have to stop: I got insulted for dropping a keyword while getting KDE 3.5.6 out of package.mask (keyword that caused a RDEPEND.bad for the missing keyword on, duh, kdelibs, just a smallish dependency for, err, KDE), and I’ve been insulted today because I dared to ask, as maintainer of KDE, to avoid ~arching an old version of kde-meta (3.5.5, that would have got the doom of being removed next month in theory), considering that it would have been about 300 ebuilds that should have been left in the tree for just one arch (considering that the same already applies to kde-3.5.5 (monolithic) ebuilds. For who’s wondering, it also meant having a depgraph with 300 packages that have mostly || ( ) deps over other kde packages (for deprange) and that are already slowing down depgraph generation time a fair share.
And for this reason, I’ve took my steps to retire, as it doesn’t seem like devrel would act on that in a short time: my email address on Bugzilla, on this blog, and on every service I can track down will be changed to firstname.lastname@example.org, I’ve asked Steve to remove me from Planet and Universe, and from the aliases.
This post won’t appear on Planet, as I’ve been removed already. I’m writing it as an explanation for my users, for those readers I have, for why I decided to return on my steps, and leave Gentoo this time without letting anybody suggest me just to take a few weeks off. To users and to devs who think that I had a valid reason to leave but that the problem should have had a different solution, I then suggest to raise your concern: if people still accept silently that abusive behaviour passes unpunished, it will only get worse.