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The Sad Death of NDoc

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  • User profile image
    gabe19

    A co-worker of mine is on (or was on) the NDoc beta review team, and received this unfortunate email on the NDoc list earlier today...

    "I have decided to discontinue work on NDoc 2.0 and no longer participate in any open-source development work.

    The development and release of NDoc 1.3 was a huge amount of work, and by all accounts widely appreciated. Unfortunately, despite the almost ubiquitous use of NDoc, there has been no support for the project from the .Net developer community either financially or by development contributions. Since 1.3 was released, there have been the grand total of eleven donations to the project. In fact, were it not for Oleg Tkachenko’s kind donation of a MS MVP MSDN subscription, I would not even have a copy of VS2005 to work with!

    To put this into perspective, if only roughly 1-in-10 of the those who downloaded NDoc had donated the minimum allowable amount of $5 then I could have worked on NDoc 2.0 full-time and it could have been released months ago!  Now, I am not suggesting that this should have occurred, or that anyone owes me anything for the work I have done, rather I am trying to demonstrate that if the community values open-source projects then it should do *something* to support them. MS has for years acknowledged community contributions via the MVP program but there is absolutely no support for community projects.

    Once ‘Sandcastle’ is released, it is my belief that it will become the de-facto standard and that NDoc will slowly become a stagnant side-water. This will happen regardless of technical considerations, even if Sandcastle were to be less feature-complete. It's just an inevitable result of MS's 'not-invented-here' mentality, one only has to look at Nant and NUnit to see the effects of MS 'competition'. 

    This is not, however,  my only reason for stopping development work - I have a big enough ego to think I could still produce a better product than them Smiley

    As some of you are aware, there are some in the community who believe that a .Net 2.0 compatible release was theirs by-right and that I should be moving faster – despite the fact that I am but one man working in his spare time...

    This came to head in the last week; I have been subjected to an automated mail-bomb attack on both my public mail addresses and the ndoc2 mailing list address. These mails have been extremely offensive and resulted in my ISP temporarily suspending my account because of the traffic volume. This incident has been reported to the local authorities, although I am highly doubtful they will be able to do anything about it.


    This has was the ‘last-straw’ and has convinced me that I should withdraw from the community; I’m not prepared to have myself and my family threatened by some lunatic!
     

    Kevin


    P.S. If anyone wants to take over as admin on the SourceForge NDoc project - contact me. If not, I'll be removing myself in 14 days.
    "

  • User profile image
    Harlequin

    Minimum allowable donation.....doesn't that kind of go against what open source stands for?

  • User profile image
    Antitorgo

    I'm sure I'll sound like a jerk, but I gotta say it...

    What did he expect? This seems like a common thing in the open source community. It seems to me that there are many open source projects are typically driven by one or two developers with very little input from other devs in the community; and those devs are rarely compensated for their efforts (monetarily or otherwise).

    Am I wrong in thinking this?

  • User profile image
    conkerjoe

    I sympathise with the guy. Open source is great for the user but for the guy who is putting the work in there is little or no reward. people expect a standard of quality and service that just cannot be delivered by a 1 man with a few hours spare time.
    Do things for cash thats the only way to be rewarded for ungrateful users. and for those who are greatful.. spend a few dollars

  • User profile image
    TimP

    If you go into open source development for the money, you're probably doing it for the wrong reason. That's not to say that developers don't deserve to be compensated (they do), but you can't flat out expect it to happen.

  • User profile image
    dahat

    Harlequin wrote:
    Minimum allowable donation.....doesn't that kind of go against what open source stands for?

    I think he's referring to the automatic buttons on the support this project page for ndoc.

  • User profile image
    cheong

    I sympathise with the guy too.

    A few friends and I have worked on some freely distributable games, but we're luckier. At least most people(except a few trolls, which is inevitable. But when trolls appears that complains we should put all our time to the work, other community members come out and counter back for us, and our team members can just ignore them) from our community recognized our effort, praised our works and (most importantly) tolarated our bugs. Tongue Out

    Their support makes all our efforts put there worthwhile. Big Smile

    Harlequin wrote:
    Minimum allowable donation.....doesn't that kind of go against what open source stands for?

    Open source projects are... open source. Although most people do release those project free(no money), the God doesn't forbid the author to make some money there, where donation is a common form.

    And I should say, $5 for a package of this quality is not expensive if you think about it... even those "rubbish quality" games charged much higher then this.

    TimP wrote:
    If you go into open source development for the money, you're probably doing it for the wrong reason. That's not to say that developers don't deserve to be compensated (they do), but you can't flat out expect it to happen.

    Yes. But the real point is, I won't expect any of my volunteered efforts to bring troubles to me. The one(s) who mail-bombed the author is just plain unacceptable.

    Recent Achievement unlocked: Code Avenger Tier 4/6: You see dead program. A lot!
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  • User profile image
    littleguru

    Why removing the project? I don't understand that... He should let it there as it is and that's it...

    NDoc was/is great, but if you publish an open source thing you can't expect yourself being rich at the end.

  • User profile image
    cheong

    littleguru wrote:
    Why removing the project? I don't understand that... He should let it there as it is and that's it...

    NDoc was/is great, but if you publish an open source thing you can't expect yourself being rich at the end.

    He's not removing the project, but removing his admin role in the project, I think.

    Recent Achievement unlocked: Code Avenger Tier 4/6: You see dead program. A lot!
    Last modified
  • User profile image
    Yggdrasil

    Antitorgo wrote:
     I'm sure I'll sound like a jerk, but I gotta say it... What did he expect? This seems like a common thing in the open source community. It seems to me that there are many open source projects are typically driven by one or two developers with very little input from other devs in the community; and those devs are rarely compensated for their efforts (monetarily or otherwise).Am I wrong in thinking this?
    Open source is about community. The way I see it, the guy worked his (I need to watch my language) off to give a product to the community and said "I really want to keep working on this, but I can't afford to. If you want me to keep producing new versions, please help by donating a bit. Support the one that supports you". No-one did, so he had to give up the project - this caused people to start actually *attacking* him for *daring* to abandon his responsibilities.I fully understand why he would feel the need to give the whole developer community a big three-finger salute and walk off.

  • User profile image
    jmbledsoe

    I'm just trying to put the pieces together in my head now, but it seems that the popularity of NDoc was a factor in getting MS to release 'Sandcastle', which I believe is their internal documentation tool for .NET assemblies.  We in the community all came to expect a slick tool to transform our XML comments into useful documentation, and when we didn't find it for .NET 2.0, enough of us pressured MS to open theirs up.

    (That's an outsider viewpoint, but if any of you bluebadgers know more, please let us know Smiley)

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    another thread here talks about spam, I have some comments on that thread and just wnated to say that this relates:

    the isp and the user are both victms of abuse of smtp.

    if we do not fix smtp then  this kind of stuff is so hard to stop.


    http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=218891

    not trying to hijak the subject of this thread btw.

    I do think the  NDoc guy has to move on, sad that he has got no support from the F and O S folks out there who have used his work.

    sad that some A$$ is bombing his accounts, that bites!

  • User profile image
    Shiv

    hmmm. it was just yesterday that i tried to download and use it for the first time and was even searching for .net 2.0 version. and now it is completely droped ? too bad

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    jmbledsoe wrote:
    nough of us pressured MS to open theirs up.



    And my it does show as an internal tool.

    NDoc, gui, msbuild tasks, point, click, go

    sandcastle, 10 manual steps.

    Lovely

  • User profile image
    John Galt

    The attack of socialism continues.  Working for nothing isn't a purpose in life, it is death guarenteed.

    Congrates for walking away from the project is all I have to say.  And looking for someone else to be your beast of burden? Shame.

  • User profile image
    staceyw

    Antitorgo wrote:
    

    I'm sure I'll sound like a jerk, but I gotta say it...

    What did he expect? This seems like a common thing in the open source community. It seems to me that there are many open source projects are typically driven by one or two developers with very little input from other devs in the community; and those devs are rarely compensated for their efforts (monetarily or otherwise).

    Am I wrong in thinking this?



    I agree.  You can't have it both ways.  Sounds like he wanted to make a living off it, but at the same time hide behind this OpenSource idea (which obviously does not work).  So OS, makes no sense - it is for teenagers that can never pay for anything and talk about how great OS is and never contribute time or money.  Either call if free software, or charge for it - period!  I for one would pay good money for NDoc 2.0.  I suspect many others would have too if he had just charged for it.  Also, he talks about MS not inventing.  That is just sour grapes.  Without .Net in the first place, there would be no reason for his tool.  Yes, MS should have done this years ago, but they did not.  That said, he did a good job on the tool and hats off to his work.  I wish him well. Wonder why MS did not just buy it and hire him.  Maybe they tried.
    --
    wjs

  • User profile image
    ElucidWeb

    Goes to show open source doesnt work, if you want to relate it a real world scenario it reminds me of communism, the definition of it not the behavior of a communistic country!

    I truely believe that open source is a flawed yet believed in system, it will always fail to maintain itself without substantial financial backing, but the business model is nearly impossible to sustain so it nearly kills itself.  Its a programming hippy dream that will never come true unfortunately!

  • User profile image
    rjdohnert

    I just wrote to him requesting to take over the project.  If Im allowed to take it over, Im also going to put it on CodePlex.

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