Gaim Not so Fun

A while back, I was interested in hacking on Gaim. I didn’t end up doing all that much: I resurrected one of the plugins from the dead, and messed around a bit, but other things (like saving myself from almost failing out of college) got in the way. The one thing I remember is that I never really liked hanging out in #gaim on Freenode. Some of the developers and “crazy patch writers”, were, in my limited experience, arrogant assholes (not saying that I don’t get that way sometimes, but this was chronic). At the time I was somewhat new to the OSS scene: I had been using OSS for a few years, but I hadn’t really gotten too involved in the development side of things, so I didn’t think too much of it: maybe that’s just how things were “supposed” to be.

And so I stopped hanging out in #gaim. Time passed, and I found an awesome community of OSS developers who were welcoming and friendly, and just thrilled to have extra help. More time passed, and, though I rarely thought about it, I still had a pretty dim view of the Gaim developers.

Today I head over to Planet GNOME, and stumble upon this, and also this. And suddenly I feel validated. It’s really sad: Gaim is a very high-profile OSS project, and it’s a shame to see that the people behind it can’t handle playing nice with each other. And now, with Sean Egan (Gaim lead developer) hired by Google, it seems like Google pretty much owns Gaim. I can certainly understand the lure of a good job with a company like Google, but it looks like a pretty crappy situation.

Ah well. The OSS world tends to route around stupidities. If enough people think Gaim needs to fork, it’ll happen. If enough people think we need a new, better-designed IM client, it’ll happen. If the current situation works itself out positively, all the better. Only time will tell.