Why don't you implement...

Created by gzotti on on 2017-06-30
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Last updated by:
gzotti on on 2017-09-07

We have recently received a surge of requests mostly by anonymous people expressing what they would like to have or like to see in Stellarium. Usually along the lines of "Program X has this feature, why not Stellarium?" or "It cannot be so difficult to have that feature" (giving very vague hints of things totally untrivial to solve properly). Others complain that their latest hardware like WiFi telescope control is still not supported.

Some wishes cleary reflect the wish of a single (usually anonymous) user for one particular research question or application. Others may be nice extensions geared towards more users. Others contradict Stellarium's prime use as pretty simulation of the real terrestrial night sky.

Apparently some of you misunderstand the way this free and open-source software is being developed. This is no company, and the few volunteer developers do not receive money for their work on Stellarium. Donations go into supporting infrastructure, web hosting etc. Therefore we have no fear of "losing customers" or "losing market share" when some feature is not being included the way you would like to have it. If you prefer Program X, please use it. If program Y is better suited for some job than Stellarium currently is, it is only sane to use Program Y instead of waiting for Stellarium to add all features of Program Y. The fastest way to get some feature into Stellarium is to implement it. This is especially true for hardware support -- we simply don't have your telescope mount!

Understand the license:

> This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
> but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY;
> without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY
> or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
> See the GNU General Public License for more details.

We welcome contributions in code and (reasonable) ideas, but lack the human resources to implement every idea ourselves. YOU can help with reasonable suggestions. WE will decide what WE are going to develop. If YOU urgently need something not within OUR interest, YOU can do it, and WE can decide whether we like it enough to include it, or not. WE can not implement everything that has been vaguely suggested. And yes, we even have ideas and see room for improvements not listed in the blueprints. Some of these improvements will make Stellarium more stable, others more accurate, others bring more objects. Along the road new problems may occur. All require development time.

A blueprint is an expression of an idea, allowing better discussion than a "wishlist bug" report. Everybody can add one. The more detailed it is described, the clearer somebody else can understand and could take up the challenge of implementing it when the author of the blueprint is not able to develop this himself. Blueprints may wait for 2 weeks or 10 years (or more) before implementation. Given that the very few (2-3 can be said to be active at the moment) developers of this project are not paid for the time they invest in development, we have no obligation whatever to develop anything, but may or may not be inspired and excited enough about also implementing your idea. Mostly we develop stuff which we need ourselves in research, lectures, or under the night sky, and have tons of ideas for more, but simply no time for them.