[PD] Very large patches unstable?

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at at.or.at
Wed Dec 2 17:56:32 CET 2009

Here's a friendly suggestion, instead of spending time writing giant  
emails, spend that time trying to isolate the bugs that you are  
complaining about.  If you can make a pd patch that reproduces a bug  
every time, then that is usually 90% of the work needed to get it  
fixed.  I'm very unlikely to read really long emails, there is just  
too much email in the world these days, but I read every single bug  
report, and try almost all patch submitted to the trackers.  If I have  
a Pd patch that shows me the problem, then I am very likely to try to  
fix it.


On Dec 2, 2009, at 11:36 AM, Matteo Sisti Sette wrote:

> Let's suppose 'I' am the user and 'you' are the developer, which I  
> guess
> is partially true sometimes.
> Let's also say what should be implicit, that we are discussing for the
> sake of exchanging ideas, and that nobody is criticising the work of
> nobody, and also that the fact of replying in a somewhat 'polemic'  
> tone
> doesn't mean one feels offended but only that the debate excites him/ 
> her
> (this is my case, hope it is yours as well).
> You're right, mine are not suggestions, they are demands.
> Wich leads me to what seems to be the (or one) underlying point
> throughout your email, that is: what right do I have to demand things
> from you? Why should you listen to my demands and work to fulfill
> [dunnow if it is the right verb here] them? What do you get from it?
> Well, I admit I don't know the answers; in a commercial software
> scenario it is easier, because you are paid to develop the software,  
> and
> I [am supposed to] pay to use it, so asking to fix things is a right  
> for
> me, and fixing things is a due for you. This is not the case with  
> and I don't really know what is the motivation for the developer to,
> well, develop. But I assume there is one, because if there wasn't one
> then the software would'nt exist and we wouldn't be talking about  
> it. I
> have to assume that for some reason you (the developer) are interested
> in developing the software and in making it the best it can be.
> Otherwise, we wouldn't be talking in the first place.
> So, I don't have any right to demand anything, I am very grateful that
> PD exists the way it is, with its bugs and everything, and you don't
> have to fix anything; but assuming you are interested for some  
> reason in
> developing the software and you are doing it, what kind of  
> contribution
> can I give as a user?
> The answer is "feedback", and feedback consists, among other things,  
> in
> DEMANDS. These demands can be reasonable or foolish, that is, the
> feedback from the user can be valuable or useless.
> The latter also holds for bug reports (another kind of feedback),  
> which can actually help to fix the bug or not.
>> [.......]
>> allowing the user to go "beyond limits" usually involves more
>> sophisticated code: easier to make errors, easier to create bugs.
> Well yes, I agree with that, or I understand that.
> Does that mean that we should be happy with the presence of bugs?
> Seems like you're saying: "What do you prefer, a boring, simple,  
> limited but rock-solid software, or a powerful, flexible [whatever  
> positive adjective you may want to add here] but buggy one?"
> Well if I, as a user, had to choose I would probably agree with you  
> in chosing the second one, but you, as a developer, are [should be/ 
> may be/whatever] committed to go towards the goal of the flexible,  
> powerful [etc] AND rock-solid software...
> Jesus, are we discussing whether bugs should be fixed or not?????????
> Remember (I say this to myself too) that the whole "debate" arose  
> because somebody mentioned a situation of instability and I pointed  
> out that it seems to be particularly frequent with big patches in PD.
> So, let's try not to take this as a criticism (maybe the tone of my  
> first mail didn't help in this sense). PD is constantly under  
> development, isn't it? It is not a "finished" product (if such a  
> thing even exists). So, it has its strengths and weaknesses, like  
> every piece of software. It doesn't make sense to discuss whether  
> the first compensate the latter or viceversa; it MAY make sense to  
> analyze its strengths and merits; but I think it is more useful to  
> point out weaknesses so that they can be worked on in the future.
> What are the weak points of PD (don't be afraid, I won't try to list  
> them)? Well, to make an example everybody knows the graphical  
> interface is tremendously slow. That is well known; I don't know how  
> much priority the developer community give to that problem (quite  
> low I guess), but the problem is well known, so there is no need to  
> discuss about it.
> One thing that I have experienced, and that a few users have  
> experienced but, I suspect, not so many, is that with huge patches  
> things start becoming unstable. Since it is not so frequent to "hit"  
> this problem, when I did, I gave my feedback about them, including  
> bug reports when I could isolate some reproducible crash, and test  
> patches when I could. Now, since another user commented about  
> instability with huge patches, I took the opportunity to stress  
> again the importance that this kind of issue has (imo, obviously),  
> and to express the feeling (possibly wrong) that they are not given  
> the importance they deserve.
> That's all.
> > sometimes I have the
>>> impression that though that is the philosophy, it is not fully  
>>> expressed
>>> in the implementation.
>> true.
>> but what can you do about it?
>> basically i see two ways: do it better, or tell people that they  
>> MUST do
>> it better.
> Well, unfortunately I can't do it better, and about the second  
> option, I guess you are sarchastic. I think there's a third thing I  
> can do:
> give the developers information (i.e. reports, test patches, etc)  
> that can help them doing it better, which implies the assumption  
> that they are interested in doing it better. If every time I do that  
> I should feel like I was telling them what they MUST do, thus  
> offending them, well, then I probably had better unsubscribe this  
> mailing list.
>> but you feel that it is not too difficult for other people to isolate
>> the bug and fix it, with nothing more than "if i create 12000  
>> instances
>> of a patch (which i cannot send you because it's proprietary and i  
>> can't
>> trust you) it crashes, but it doesn't crash with 20500 instances of
>> another patch".
> (first, I didn't say I don't trust you; I just said I can't give you  
> what is not mine, stop)
> No, I just think I have to report the bug with as much information  
> as I can; if that is not enough to fix the bug, well, I tried. I  
> think the developer usually has much more information than the user,  
> and sometimes with some clues can find the problem even without a  
> directly reproducible crash. Obviously your oversimplification or  
> example is exagerated.
> I am a developer also (or I consider myself such), though I don't  
> develop in C++; obviously my work is way way simpler than something  
> even comparable to a software like PD. But sometimes "my users"  
> simply report that things "don't work" and they are not capable of  
> giving me a directly reproducible error that I can investigate, nor  
> anything better than a confused explanation. I don't consider their  
> duty to do so, I rather consider my duty to find out what's wrong,  
> which is my error in the first place. Anyway, the fact that there's  
> no simple way to reproduce the problem has no relevance in  
> evaluating the importance of fixing it. That can be very  
> frustrating, I know.
> However, I recognize this is not the same thing because I do get  
> paid for the work.
>> but if somebody is ready to shout "your work frustrates me", than  
>> they
>> should be prepared to get an answer "your statement frustrates me".
>> i think there's equal rights about frustrations and expressing them.
> Well I must recognize you are right here.
> But please be sure I didn't mean to "shout".
> -- 
> Matteo Sisti Sette
> matteosistisette at gmail.com
> http://www.matteosistisette.com
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I hate it when they say, "He gave his life for his country."  Nobody  
gives their life for anything.  We steal the lives of these kids.  - 
Admiral Gene LeRocque

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