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Jon Harrop's strange ethics (was Ray tracer)

 
 
alex.gman@gmail.com
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      08-08-2005
I'll summarize for other newsgroups involved

Jon Harrop wrote:
> http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> > I'd help you, however, I noticed that you've been soliciting code,
> > fixes and improvements from mailing lists and newsgroups for a while,
> > but on your web site, you don't even acknowledge the help you got so
> > far.

>
> If I use other people's code and they ask for an attribution then I will
> definitely put one up. Nobody has asked for an attribution so far, which
> isn't surprising because I wrote virtually all of the code myself.
>
> --
> Dr Jon D Harrop, Flying Frog Consultancy
> http://www.ffconsultancy.com



That's not how this works, pal. You should specifically name people
who worked on the ray tracer and what their and your roles were.

You come to different newsgroups, asking others to do work for
you. Case in point: You came to comp.lang.functional and asked people
to port your ray tracer. Matthias Blume, among others, was kind
enough to spend time writing an SML translation of your OCaml code.

http://groups.google.com/group/comp....44fa5523d9486f

How do you repay him? You blame him for your own errors. As it turned
out, your benchmark, the results you were publicizing were wrong,
with some languages seriously handicapped:

http://groups.google.com/group/comp....e3d4132fb6065a

I think we can agree that a benchmark that penalizes some of the
entries by this much is worse than useless, no matter how many of
the lines of code you wrote yourself (more on this later though),
yet your web site readers are kept in the dark about being mislead
at some point or the community's role in fixing the benchmark. In
the forums, you promptly blamed the problem on Matthias Blume's code:

http://groups-beta.google.com/group/...1203ad9864135c

Interestingly, even though you "thought" you were using his code in
your benchmark results, you weren't acknowledging him, as is your
policy (above). When Matthias pointed out that he had nothing to
do with it, you "retracted":

http://groups-beta.google.com/group/...082faafb1a84b3

"Matthias is denying all knowledge of this so I guess I'll have to
take responsibility myself", you wrote. I don't know about others,
but I came away from that discussion thinking what a great guy you
are for generously taking the blame for Matthias (I was wrong)

That was just one example. Many people worked on the benchmark,
and only following the pressure I recently put on you in
comp.lang.scheme, you begrudgingly added an amorphous "thanks to
everyone for porting to other languages", which is obviously too
little too late.

Perhaps it's time to mention that your whole ray tracer is extremely
similar to the ray tracer in Paul Graham's ANSI Common Lisp: both
use a bunch of spheres, ignore secondary reflections, use many of
the same function and object names and even the same output format
(PGM). The similarity of your ray tracer to previously existing code
makes it very hard for me to believe you created it all by yourself
from scratch. Of course, it is your stated policy (above) that you
don't attribute, unless the authors contact you and ask for it,
so I guess we'll never know whose work the ray tracer is based on.

I urge people who are thinking about helping you with the ray tracer
to consider alternative ways to pursue their benchmarking or ray
tracing interests.

 
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