I just want to give my two cents about this issue.
First of all, my outmost respect for the work that maintainers do, as @MikeMcQuaid who has been here working for us for free for really long time, and, of course, to their decisions. Even more when maintainers are everyday in the first line of battle fighting to maintain the project alive up and running for all of us, users. They usually know better since they work with the problems and practicalities day after day. For this reason, I understand their motives for some of the decisions previously explained.
However, and with all my respect, let me to dissent a little bit on some of those decisions, thoughts and policies that have been poured here.
I totally understand the policy about less option and in the end no options. Simplicity is a virtue and helps a lot maintainers. So go ahead. One of the reasons I use Homebrew is because I can get the best cutting edge software in the simplest way thanks to a lot of people that participate in the project —internally and externally.
If you don’t get the same software, with the same capabilities, as you can get downloading the binary from the developer, why we are going to bother at all to use Homebrew to install that software. We are getting a second class version. Why don’t make the bottle exactly the same as the original developer binary???
Some software have building options to accommodate people’s different necessities and that doesn’t have to be in opposition to simplicity. What is more, it can be an asset for this project, since it’s something the developer is not offering or at least easily offering.
In my case Homebrew allows me to install R with OpenBlas and OpenMP support which make my life easier and simpler with really few knowledge of how to build software on macOS. That’s something really wonderful. I’ve been praising Homebrew to all my friends and colleagues and even I’ve written a post in my blog about how to do it. My wife was able to carry out her research faster and easier thanks to that options that original developers weren’t offering just with a couple commands on terminal.
If you think that things get really complicate and you believe they don’t fit in the “core” just try to externalize to a tap. What is more, why don’t original developers are the maintainers of that tap? It would be a wonderful way to offer their users extra capabilities to fit all their needs. And if they aren’t able to make that happen, some users can create their own taps, of course. At this moment there is no “official support” for R users that installed R with Homebrew. I don’t understand why they can’t maintain a tap to provide R to macOS in the same way they provide for Linux and provide “support”.
Fifth (and final, yeah!)
Of course open-source developers and maintainers own nothing to anyone and of course you don’t need to stand the bad manners of some few users.
However, you aren’t going to hide from users behind of a piece of paper and legalese language, do you? Even more what that is there mainly to avoid lawsuits, which I understand.
You own nothing to anyone, but you have to understand that when lots of people use what you are maintaining and working on, you decisions affect them and what they are building upon your work. So it’s reasonable that when there is a change of course and people has to rebuild their work or invest time on make things work again they get a little bit “touchy”.
You have to think also that without “users” any project, open source or commercial, is nothing. That is that way in other human ventures, from politics, ONGs, business, or government. It’s normal that wan you are relying on something, whether you paid for it or not, and that something change or disappear you get disappointed. It’s a relation that is not written down, but it’s there, and we all have to live with it and interact with others in the most assertive and emphatic way.
I’m sure that I’m forgetting and not tacking into account a lot of things and even not getting others —technical, personal, political, put-whatever-you-want-here ones. Perhaps, I’m also missing tons of threads and issues where the reasons for some decisions were explained. But I think this is how I’m sure a lot of users feel. We don’t want to burnout anyone we just want to enjoy the software in the same way you want to enjoy maintaining and developing it.
Please! to everybody involved: