First of all thank you very much for a well thought out and genuine response!
Pardon my "copy" of your comment style, it does suite the discussion so here goes.
If anyone could submit theme's and plugin's we'd have no end of unsafe and poorly written code floating about the repository, there's some bad examples there as it is, i can't say i agree with this at all. There are plenty of places to host code, googlecode is one of many examples, i'd prefer the repository to be managed how it currently is... it works well as is, in my personal opinion.
This is a great opinion, and one I'd love to hear even more of your thoughts on. I personally think the central repository structure is too constricting to single and/or groups of developers who already have servers, datacenters, or just plain development environments setup. Forcing a single location has a negative impression to many good developers out there. It also allows the contribution of many bad developers. I say bad but I realize these are either novices or just lazy people, I do know the difference. I am not saying LOSE the repository, I am saying allow for more repositories, or just allow, within the platform itself the choice. This gives advanced developers the chance to flex their muscles rather than passively turning them away for others who would rather be content with what is already done for them.
Why not bring it up? Seems you passed judgement on responses you never received, or are you only wanting to have discussions where people agree? (genuine question, not just being sarcastic) If you want to debate something, disagreement or criticism is a natural part of that process.
Yes, I admitted I made an assumption back then, but I also said I held a different impression back then. One that was more supportive of the concept than against. That changed, and I am bringing it up now ;). I have not been a part of very many IRC's myself. That comment was actually referencing to an actual room, at a WordCamp.
People who? You? Me? ... or are you generalising?
I knew you or someone one would catch me on that, I am really not good with names, and I couldn't remember off hand. The first instance was a seminar of friend of mine attended a while back of a professor from Parsons. Others instances were Ted conference presentations. I'll have to see if I can find some references if you would like.
drawing a line is all very well but what if everyone has a different interpretation about where that line is, should we just sit and debate the line, getting nothing done? ... (it's an open ended question).
The line is up to the community. Like you said, it is an open ended question, but one that can be concluded. This line is really about responsibilities, and support. Something that I find lacking in WordPress. How many times have you heard about the current support of PHP 4 and that this will change at an undetermined date? What is wrong with just saying something as simple as "PHP 4 Support will end on xx/xx/xxxx". This is the first relevant example I could think of, but there are other more specific ones like TinyMCE auto-formatting, entry ordering, etc.. The information one can get on these kinds of topics is found currently by frantically searching for it within a very extensive trac of tickets, or the very sparse RoadMap. If you can show me some specifics of real support deadlines, I will stand corrected.
Also, where is a real WordPress mission statement? I've looked for it but can't find it. The closest thing I could find is this, simply speaking of legalities of the GPL and distribution. Here is some more. Nothing of development structure and goals, which is what I am talking about. Without some sort of "line", yes this kind of confusion can go on forever... kind of why I'm bringing it up now. The "line" can be as simple as a mission statement, or as complex as one of those links put as a "Bill of Rights". But pointing to the GPL in terms of development structure, practice, and motivation, is well... impractical. Example 1, Example 2, Example 3
I thought of this analogy the other day and wanted to actually make visuals for it, but I thought never mind, I'll just explain it. When I visualize the communities of both WordPress and Drupal, each of them take on the organic visual representation of their respective platforms' design. WordPress can be thought of as a Uranium atom. It has a very dense core, but overall unstable structure over time. It is massive in the middle surrounded by little electrons circling at different levels of orbit. On the other hand you have Drupal which can be thought of as a Borax molecule. It is a combination of many different parts that each have an importance to the whole of the structure. The connections between the parts also have as much significance of the part itself. It can, and is, meant to be used as the base for many different creative products, but to accomplish this requires a lot of know-how.
Now after that analogy, you might say, "Why am I not involved with Drupal?" First, I will say that I am. Second, I am not as much as I used to be because it has its problems too, and unfortunately they have grown to become far greater than that of the WordPress community. Modularity and freedom are core ideals which is great, but they disregard something of equal importance; usability, which seems like they have lost all concept of, and something WordPress holds in high regard.
What I, and a lot of developers dream of, is something in between. The usability of WordPress combined with the freedom and modularity of Drupal. It sounds like a long shot when you just come out and say it like that, but I don't believe it is too far off. I would love to start a discussion with you, or anyone else open to the idea based around that principal. My problem is getting passed the endless comments of reluctancy, which is where this thread and my current attitude is derived. If you want to really start discussing something like this, then lets do it! I'm not a genius, more minds are better than one, and my problem has been getting people to join in such a discussion, on the web, or in person. Who knows, it might just be my faulty conversational skills. But my question remains, why wouldn't someone want something like this sooner rather than later, other than just plain'ol stubbornness?
I believe actually brainstorming in this area would stop many of the other existing discussions. An example might be, "how to implement a new feature into 'The Core'?". Would if the core didn't even exist as it did now? It resembled something a lot more like a Linux Kernel which is there to support functionalities, not to provide them. In my mind, it would stop so many discussions in their tracks about whether something should or shouldn't be a part of the core. Instead these discussions would be taken to their respective "areas" or development groups, where it is analyzed and implemented similarly to how it is now, but on a much smaller, faster, and miniaturized scale.
On the other hand, how can I even begin to discuss things on this sort of level, when I don't even know a date when PHP 4 support will end? Also... I am a professional developer. Why do I have "prove" myself to the community by providing
"free stuff" when this is what I do for a living? It is my living therefore it takes up most if not all my time that I would use otherwise to provide said "free stuff" happily. Instead why can't I just discuss without the need of "proving" anything, because isn't having a knowledgeable discussion proof in itself?
Your profile indicates you've been part of the community roughly the same amount of time as me, so clearly you've come to different conclusions then i have, so i am genuinely curious how your experience has differed to mine.
My only comment to that is yes, it does sound like it has differed, but I don't think I have to explain much more based on the many comments I've made within this thread already.
You are right though, a lot of this was me looking for a fight, but understand that my attitude was rooted out of genuine frustration.
If you or anyone can answer these real questions, I'm all ears:
When will PHP 4 support end?
When PHP 5 support is explicit, how will minor versions be taken into account?
Will their ever be support for installable shared libraries?
When will pre 2.8 support end?
When will pre 3.0 support end?
When will IE6 support end?
When will IE7 support end?
When will HTML 5 support start?
Can we start a discussion, and who would be involved in it, about an all out re-structuring of the core and overall platform?
Can this discussion include modularity all the way down to the MVC pattern, the sharing of libraries and/or packages, an open source API for hosting themes and/or plugins, changing the code writing practice to resemble more of the overall PHP development world?
If you would like suggestions, I'm all mouth ;) (Within new threads of course).