I see lot of people commenting on Tromey‘s
question about amount of ‘it sucks’ mail. Unfortunatly it is not a uncommon thing. In all the projects I have been involved
in I have experienced it and also seen the energy wasted reacting to it. The bad thing is that it seems like the tendency for these kind of mails are increasing as the popularity of free software systems increases as we get more and more users and unfortunatly also developers who are more acustomed to complaining and critizing than appreciating the effort being done volunterialy by others.
Like everyone else I have pieces of software I think stinks, but there a large step from that to mailing the author telling him/her that is sucks and that they should get a clue. Unless you have the energy to send in a constructive mail and/or good bug reports you are doing everyone a favour by not giving feedback about things you are unhappy about.
On a related note I noticed that John ‘Maddog’ Hall was quoted on LWN today I think about a talk he did about the importance of saying ‘thank you’ in free software. He did a similar talk at GUADEC and after that I have tried to be more aware and send authors of applications I like a little mail sayings thanks for the nice/cool application/library they are making. Also a mail with some praise of the application/library and a bugfix/feature request has a 110% higher chance of actually getting you that bugfix/feature than a flame telling the author what a buggy piece of shit he/she is making.
Somehow we must make people aware that in the free software world they are not customers, at least not of the developer.