Ayende @ Rahien

My name is Oren Eini
Founder of Hibernating Rhinos LTD and RavenDB.
You can reach me by phone or email:


+972 52-548-6969

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The other side of open source

time to read 2 min | 207 words

While most of the people working and using open source are fun to work with, there are some people who are... not.

A discussion on the nature of OSS development had turned into an exchange of stories about the "I'm using your stuff, you owe me big time." characters that appears every so often among the otherwise great communities.

Some of those encounters range from the one who thinks that I work for them: "I run into this issue with your stuff, I need you to fix it by Wednesday."

The blackmail attempts are almost amusing: "If you don't add this feature (three months development and human sacrifice may be involved) the I am never using your stuff again, and neither will my company."

To those that have Seen the Light and feel the need to spread it: "Why are you wasting your time on such a expletive expletive expletive stuff, are you so stupid you don't realize that Yxz is so much better then your expletive expletive expletive."

 I remove the expletives because they were fairly unimaginative.

The weirdest so far was a guy that  tried to convert me to Islam on the basis of exchanging three emails.

So, what is your best horror story?



Ha! Too many to count.

"If you don't add this feature (three months development and human

sacrifice may be involved) the I am never using your stuff again, and

neither will my company."

OH NO! You and your company will never use my stuff again! The HORROR! How will I feed my family!? This will reduce my income by cue sound of tapping on a calculator oh. Zero dollars.

Rob Conery has some good stories.

Sean Chambers

@Phil : rofl thats funny stuff

Although I don't have a horror story I am appauled that you guys actually get emails like that. I would be ashamed if I e-mailed an open source contributor and told them to fix XYZ by some date.

The biggest benefit is that it is OPEN SOURCE. and that means if all else fails, fix it yourself!

I count my blessings every day for the open source tools that I have. I could not imagine coding without them.

Thank you Phil, Oren and everyone else that develops open source tools that are so useful to me everyday.

If I ever send you an e-mail like you stated above, I give you permission to shoot me until I have some sense.


I use your stuff Oren and I owe you BIG time! My only worst story with OSS is that if I spent 3 weeks trying to implement something you blogged about, you'd have it done in a few hours and thereby greatly diminishing my feeling of accomplishment, but I suppose I can live with that ;-)


I totally agree with Sean. OSS contribs don't owe me anything...if anything, I feel like I owe Oren for Rhino.Mocks.

But yeah, that's the point of OSS...if you find something you would have done differently then change it yourself-that's why we gave you the source code.

Even better, If you've found a flaw and it bothers you that much then fix it and submit as a patch so the rest of us can benefit from it. Then you can send us all emails telling us how much we owe you for the patch :)

By the way, the "you" here refers to the generalized ungrateful OSS user...not any "you" in particular

Rob Conery

Best Practice Police (and Pedantic #$%#heads) are my favorite:

"If this were a REAL DAL engine, you'd X, then Y, and then X using Best Practices and of course all the stuff that goes along with it that you should know about but I won't list here because it's beneath me. People who use your tool are poor, uninformed idiots who can't code for themselves"

I usually ask them if they can say hi to God for me on their way out...

Ayende Rahien


Oh, I know that one.



@Rob And they usually respond "Sorry, but I don't say hi to the mirror."


Oh well its difficult to say.... I don't classify this as a 100% horror.

I could be classified in that group a while ago, but then working more with OSS I kinda understand how I should position myself (if you feel that is bad, fix it. :) )

The problem is that would be quite an usual practice when people first use OSS. So well, lets just let them calm down and think themselve, they might get the idea sooner or later after they realize MS treat them even worse than OSS community, given that we pay so much for MS.

(I shout about Vista on the poor user interface, but so far no one response from windowshelp.microsoft.com)

And on the other hand, I can also feel some of the people in OSS indeed does not like to hear others' opinion on things too (I have been critize some of the so called ORM implementation for example) So we can't always say its the people who shouts loud is where the fault comes from.

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