Without fail, every project that I head up or am a lead contributor of in the open source community, a question is handed to me with great anxiety and trepidation. For some reason I instill great uneasiness within developers because of my own work ethic and drive. This is an open letter to all of you, and those of you who are to come, to try to head this question off at the pass by giving a public and broad wave of the hands sort of answer to the grand question – What do you expect out of us?
Often in the mornings I wake up with a question on my mind that is lying at the heart of some conflict that I am enduring at that time. Should I continue with school; why do we have so much suffering in the world; where is my god damned naked girlfriend when I need her? The questions go on and on. This morning I awoke with an odd predicament. Why the hell do people that are uneducated in the software engineering process, who are aspiring to ultimately be a part of it, choose to hide from the processes that would allow them to not only succeed, but to better understand it?
This seemingly complex and convoluted question is really what lies at the heart of all of the negative experiences that have gone on within the mod and indy game development communities. I have yet to have my big break or find a team destined for stardom that actually attains their goals. Without fail, every project I have come to is strictly abhorrent to the ideas that allow software, or anything else for that matter, to be created. The team, en masse, chooses to shy away from process for fear that it will lead to bureaucracy and tension within the ranks.
Currently your options are diametrically opposed. On the complex side of things there is DotProject. This is the only web app that I have used that has such a high barrier to entry. DotProject is the only pm software I have ever used that requires the developers to create a company and has dollar value fields before you have even designated your projects intentions. On the other end of the spectrum are apps like BaseCamp, Assembla’s bug tracker and project pier, all of which are just too simplistic. Assembla’s system is a step or two towards the middle of the spectrum, and that’s because it allows you to set up relationships between tickets. Trac is just a pain, and for the record I really hate that all these new SVN hooks require python… hint hint.
Where is the PM app that allows me the freedom to create ad hoc projects and the ability to get into the nitty gritty where I feel it is necessary? Maybe a PM app based off of the way Mantis works? In fact the only thing that I would like Mantis to add is the ability to set up relationships with its tickets. After that its about as far as it can go without being GManager.