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How the project works

Questions about the FlightGear organisation, website, wiki etc.

Re: How the project works

Postby Hooray » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:50 am

I understand Thorsten's analogy and share most of his concerns/points, but I think the point really is that "the goal" was splitting fgdata and had been tried various times, so Bertram was listened to, but the timing was exceptionally poor - as was Bertram's ability to accomodate feedback and adapt to the situation at hand. Personally, I do think that something git-based (submodules or not), may be superior technically - but like Torsten, James and others said on numerious ocassions, the main point really was better accessibility for content developers, and svn tooling really is superior to git tooling, and much better accessible to the layman.

I do stand by my assertion that under different circumstances (and especially timing), Bertram's solution might have simply been adopted, had Bertram not turned out to be hugely difficult to deal with - I am still not saying that the fgfs community is necessarily easy to deal with, but they've one thing that speaks for them: longevity, we may not always get along with Curt, Torsten, Stuart, James etc - but they have a track record of 10+ years speaking for them, and they've sailed this vessel through some really bad weather, slowly but steadily - which more than likely means that most of them will still be around 10+ years from now, or that they have mentored successors by then.

I don't think it really matters if Betram had a track record or not - if you are so concerned about your reputation, simply get a new forum account (or mailing list handle) to see for yourself - it's not exactly unheard of after all
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Re: How the project works

Postby Thorsten » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:58 am

As i understand here, Bertam never had a chance to be listen ... seems that decision have been made because it was a Bertram proposal and not because of the technical stuff (That what i understand here)


Then I can only recommend a good look at the excessive discussions on the mailing list (where you find that I myself have argued for a GIT based solution) - after several years of debating an issue, at some point arguing that something wasn't considered is a bit strange.
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Re: How the project works

Postby Hooray » Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:15 am

Also, to be honest, given Thorsten's track record, most of us happily provide 1:1 support when it comes to git related questions - I think, I've seen a handful of long-term contributors explain git concepts/usage to Thorsten on the forum and the devel list, so at some point, it makes sense that git feels "superior" or at least very much beneficial in comparison to svn - but the average fgdata/fgaddon contributor is not supposed to be required to be familiar with coding concepts and distributed source code management systems. Thus, it really does make sense to use svn, to help lower the barrier to entry for those entirely new - especially people interested in artwork.
People able to write code, or code complex FDMs in XML, are unlikely to be bothered by svn/git either way.

Anyway, like Thorsten said - at some point, there's kind of a legacy infrastructure/code-base that we inherit - just imagine for a second somebody would announce that they're going to replace all Nasal code used by the shuttle with a rewrite in Python - that's unlikely to be too popular with most folks who've been working with Nasal so far, simply because of all the legacy features that must continue to work, and the barrier to entry is much lower, too - with Nasal being integrated right into fgfs, while Python support would require building a custom set of topic branches (see bugman's experimental work).

For pretty much the same reason, the Qt5 GUI port is considered controversial by some folks - because we do have an existing code base, and huge set of XML dialogs that must continue to work, rewriting all that functionality from scratch is not exactly feasible/worthwhile, certainly not as long as the underlying technolgy stack is intended to remain "optional", i.e. such an effort would tie up considerable resources in the light of ultimately still being optional, whereas coming up with a parser-based approach (no matter if that means C++ or Nasal) is much less work in comparison - which is not to say that Qt5 would not be superior on technical grounds (it definitely is, and always will be), it just means that the workload caused by such an effort may be hugely underestimated by the corresponding parties - in particular referring to the main code base, its single-threaded nature, and having to make Qt5 work without introducing even more threading related segfaults.

Thus, the fgmembers/fgaddon situation isn't exactly unprecedented - we have numerous examples of people working towards conflicting goals and using incompatible technology stacks - ultimately, it's software evolution at work, i.e. survival of the fittest.

However, given that FlightGear is suffering from a lack of resources like manpower and technical skills/expertise, it is likely that approaches that don't require an enormous technical investment upfront will continue to persist, not due to being technically superior, but due to causing not as much work, and providing an option to work "well enough".

As a matter of fact, this is why and how the Canvas system managed to make hard-coded glass displays obsolete, despite not providing comparable performance "out of the box": The canvas system lowers the barrier to entry so much that even people that are not familiar with C++ and OSG/OpenGL programming, can implement sophisticated glass cockpit systems without ever having to write a single line of C++ code, let alone patching/re-building FlightGear from source.

Which is to say that the Canvas system has managed to make 10s of KLOC of legacy OpenGL code obsolete by now, i.e. functionality that can be re-implemented using a fraction of the code written in scripting space (think NavDisplay, Map dialog, wxradar, agradar, groundradar, HUD, 2D panels etc).

To see for yourself, just look at the staggering amount of highly complex MFD developments (space shuttle, airliners) that were considerably boosted by providing the Canvas system - not a single of these developments required any major C++/core developer support, despite native OpenGL/OSG code obviously providing much better performance in comparison.

Now, Uncle Bertram may point out that OSG/OpenGL code written in C++ will always beat any Canvas code implemented in Nasal, but that's not the point - that would just as well apply to hand-written assembly code, too - optimized for each platform/OS and GPU. But we're still using abstraction layers to keep the workload manageable.

Equally, we've seen people suggesting/requesting on various ocassions that the advanced weather system be rewritten using native C++ code - but that never happened for obvious reasons: it would cause massive work, and provide a poor pain/gain ratio in comparison.
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Re: How the project works

Postby Thorsten » Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:35 am

As i understand here, Bertam never had a chance to be listen ..


Well, as afterthought - yes, that's what Bertram keeps telling. Because he insists that his original proposal is perfect as it stands. Thus, the only conceivable reason to reject it is to not properly listen to what Bertram has said - that people weight technical merits differently, that people have different preferences, that Bertram might have not considered something - all that has no place in Bertram's thoughts. Rather it's 'obvious' - who isn't convinced of the perfect proposal just didn't understand it and has to be told again.
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Re: How the project works

Postby Hooray » Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:47 am

To sum it up, as things are standing now:

We currently have this:
Image

And fgmembers wants to do this, to rebuild everything from scratch:
Image

The problem ist, the current state may not be perfect, but it works well enough - and the foundation is rather solid, and proven - whereas the new approach is considered "quicksand" for a variety of non-technical reasons.

Image
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Re: How the project works

Postby bugman » Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:58 am

daweed wrote in Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:41 am:As i understand here, Bertam never had a chance to be listen ... seems that decision have been made because it was a Bertram proposal and not because of the technical stuff


This is very incorrect. Bertam's proposal came 5 years too late. Yes, 5 entire years too late! The group consensus decision was made eons before Bertam realised that the change had already happened.

But not only that, Bertam's proposal was already implemented, tested, and rejected back in 2011! For more of this history, see:


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Re: How the project works

Postby Bomber » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:09 pm

And you complain that they won't do the work of the FGAdddon admin with upstream merging, saying it's their responsibility... and as such that makes them hostile.

You won't bend and so nor will they...
"If anyone ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me - it's all balls" - R J Mitchel
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Re: How the project works

Postby Bomber » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:15 pm

Bomber wrote in Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:18 pm: Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me


wlbragg wrote in Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:30 pm:Seriously, that is the cause of the treatment you deserve.
These people are pursuing a hobby that they enjoy. They created a tool to pursue that hobby. Like minded people joined their pursuit of that hobby. Over time they learned to trust in each others skills and opinions and formed a community that for the most part get along and move the pursuit of their hobby forward.

No one is coming after you, you are free to come and go as you please. In fact it is quite the reverse, you and others are coming after them because you don't like the way they pursue their hobby."



And the rest of us aren't pursuing our hobby, is that it ?

Does working on Flightgear mean that we're helping them with their hobby, we work for them to achieve their goals and not ours. ?

Is their nothing mutual in this arrangement ?
"If anyone ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me - it's all balls" - R J Mitchel
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Re: How the project works

Postby Bomber » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:22 pm

It's often said that there's no leader here....

But as can be seen by the various topics of late and the interventions by moderators that it's not true...

There is a small group of people that are attempting to 'lead' this project under the guise of a meritocracy, citing consensus of a small number of core developers communicating on a mailing list as proof of every decision being open and transparent...

Yet when we are told we have to join 'their' group to move their hobby forward or 'get out'..... you have to question, WTF's going on here.
"If anyone ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me - it's all balls" - R J Mitchel
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Re: How the project works

Postby curt » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:57 pm

Bomber wrote in Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:22 pm:Yet when we are told we have to join 'their' group to move their hobby forward or 'get out'..... you have to question, what is going on here.


For many years (going back to the mid-80's) I have built and flown and collected (and occasionally crashed!) RC model airplanes. Even though I've lived in a couple different places during that time, I have always sought out and joined my local RC model airplane club. This is a group of guys (and once in a while a gal) who share an interest in aviation. Many RC club members are also pilots, former pilots, and/or EAA members. Some of the guys have a passion for aviation history and like to research and model historic aircraft. Some guys like the fancy new stuff. Some people like to build things from scratch, some people order ready to fly airplanes from the internet. But all together, we support a flying field, a shelter, and the all important on-site porta-potty. The RC club is a group of folks with common yet diverse set of interests that come together to support each other and work together to create a place to pursue our hobby. We have field improvement work days, we have guys that volunteer to cut grass (and repair the mower when it breaks down.) It's a positive environment and I enjoy the times I can go out to fly (which are often far too few because a nice day to fly is also a nice day for every other obligation I have.)

FlightGear is not exactly a model aircraft club, but I think it's helpful to consider the similarities. What if we had a club meeting and one or two people showed up and just wanted to spend the whole meeting unloading every grievance they have ever had? What if every time a specific person came to the field, it was to tell us how terrible our club was, and how terrible some of our members were, and how badly our club is run, what a disarray our flying field is in, what a failure our club is, and really everyone should go over and fly at this other club where everything is brilliant and everything is perfect?

At some point is it fair to say, "you obviously aren't happy here, you obviously aren't contributing to making other people happy here, the club is intended to create a place for people to come and enjoy there passion for aviation, maybe it is in everyone's best interest for you to move along." If the negative member continues to show up and continues to air every grievance and contest every point in a bottomless pit of arguing, then it is fair to ask why? Life is precious and short and we have to choose where we spend our few moments on this planet. Are there people that actually choose to spend their time spoiling other people's enjoyment of life? Do they have some other purpose that would explain why they just show up to spread negativity? Are they trying to recruit people away from this club to their own club? Do they see this like a political struggle where if we win, then they lose, and if they win then we lose ... so they must fight it out to the bitter end? Have they simply wandered off onto a negative path and haven't looked up to notice how bad their route has become?

We are all here of our own choice. Most of us are here out of a love of aviation and seeking a group of like minded people to share that interest with. But one or two seem to have lost track of any positive purpose and have strayed down a path of perpetual negativity and arguing. Is it fair to tell these people to knock it off? Would it be helpful to point out how far off track they are?

To everyone else reading this: no organization is perfect, but FlightGear is as good as all the effort we collectively contribute to it. Don't let your own contribution be a bottomless pit of negativity!
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Re: How the project works

Postby Thorsten » Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:01 pm

Yet when we are told we have to join 'their' group to move their hobby forward or 'get out'..... you have to question, what is going on here. (...) And the rest of us aren't pursuing our hobby, is that it ?


Get real - that's how the world works.

If you don't like to play soccer, you're not well suited for the soccer club, and suggesting they should all play ice hockey doesn't help - you either play soccer with them or leave.

And if you can't accept decisions by a community, you leave it, there's no right to remain and attack the community for years to come. A forum isn't a nation which is responsible for its citizens because they can't go elsewhere - a forum is a private place which has no a priori obligation to you - it's your obligation to follow the rules if you want to stay and that's it.
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Re: How the project works

Postby Hooray » Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:48 pm

and people can always set up their own place to conduct their business there, with like-minded folks.
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Re: How the project works

Postby Lydiot » Sat Sep 17, 2016 7:34 pm

dg-505 wrote in Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:13 pm:Don't really care about that, just stating facts


If you go tally the names of people who most frequently start threads or arguments and post the most I won't be among them. You'll see some from FGMembers and some from "the other side", but probably not me.

You probably don't care about that being a fact either. Lying is just fine with you.

Not that you see this post since I'm surely on your ignore list which proves your point I hope.
Last edited by bugman on Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Please keep your language clean!
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Re: How the project works

Postby Lydiot » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:39 pm

How about you tell dg-505 not to point fingers and insult people, huh!?

No, you probably won't do that. And we all know why.

You suck as a moderator.
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Re: How the project works

Postby Lydiot » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:41 pm

And install a filter to cut out the words you don't like so you can save time and do better things with your life!

(Although it occurs to me that it's perfect to leave the option for people to post objectionable words so you can censor them using that justification.... though yet again it's not like you people have any problem with that as it stands either way.......)
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