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'Why I'm Leaving [Insert Tech of Choice]'

I'm tired of writing about all the cool new things happening in software development, so I'm switching gears to explore the dark side things for a change. I'll take a look at the reasons people gave up on a technology, as taken from their ever-more-prevalent "Why I'm leaving ... " posts.

I was inspired to do this after reading comments in a Hacker News post about some apoplectic, profane purveyor of cartoons or something who let everyone know why he's leaving the Medium blogging platform.

So, instead of funneling expert advice as to why you should check out a technology (or organization or community), here are real-world examples detailing why people binned it. Who knows? It might be just as useful in making your technology decisions -- or wasting time on a slow Friday.

'Why I'm Leaving the R Community'
That was actually the title of a Hacker News post pointing to a post titled "Down and out in statistical computing."

This person provided a ready-made TL;DR (we used to call these "summaries") in a February post:

TL;DR: I'm resigning from all of my responsibilities and positions in the wider R community and ceasing development of new R packages. I no longer have faith that the R Foundation is capable of or interested in creating a safe and welcoming space for statisticians, scientists and programmers, and do not wish to offer support to an infrastructure lacking these capabilities and interests.

'Why I'm Leaving Ember'
This was posted to the Ember.js Discussion Forum in September 2014 and actually provoked a huge list of 147 comments (prepare to scroll if you're checking this baby out):

At first Ember seemed to be a great solution for development. But as a beginner in development (1,5 years) I felt more and more lost in the world of Ember. Ember and Ember-Data seem to be very powerful. But it is hard to get the whole picture in how things work together. The documentation shows many details of Ember, but not how they work together.

Multiple times I was stuck cause things didn't go as expected. The good thing was though, that Ember has a great community of very helpful and friendly people. So I went on the last months. But I've now realised, that Ember doesn't do the things the way it would seem obvious to me.

I've started with a full-stack framework (not sure if I should name it here) and in about 2 weeks I'm at a point which took me over 4 months with Ember.

'Why I'm Leaving Rails'
This was a February 2014 blog post on by Akonwi Ngoh, a software engineer at ThoughtWorks. He has contributed to Atom, React Native and other projects. The first bits read:

I gave up Ruby on Rails pretty quickly after I put my first app,, into production. But recently, I've been reading about other developer's complaints about the Rails framework and the Rails way. One of the arguments being brought up is that the framework is "too big" and not for beginners. Here is pretty good blog post that identifies how Ruby on Rails is too complicated [Ed note: the link in original post was deleted because it doesn't work now].

Those posts aren't the main reason I'm leaving Rails but they are relevant and inspired this post. The main reason I'm leaving Rails is because it doesn't make me feel like a productive programmer. I've been using Node.js and CoffeeScript lately and everything is smooth. There is no scaffolding and somehow having a full-blown app generated that I need to muck around and change. Sure, you can remove what you don't need/want but why muck around when I can build what I need from scratch and keep it lightweight and efficient?

'Why I'm Leaving Unity'
This one, from a Unity3D forum post in September 2012, garnered nearly 50 comments of its own. Note that, almost four years on, some of these problems are likely ancient history:

Unity is very close to being a wonderful piece of software. However, my experience with it has been very painful.

Over the past month, I have been writing a voxel terrain system. Unity made this extremely easy to pull off, and I could get good results very fast. However, soon my problems began to set in. Over the course of about 2 weeks, around 15 different bugs occurred in the Unity engine, building up to a major show-stopping bug which caused Unity to crash repeatedly.

So basically, there are way too many big bugs for Unity to be of any real use. It's very very close to being great, and I'm sure if you don't have any problems, then it is fantastic. But unfortunately, I was not that fortunate.

'Why I'm Leaving Ubuntu for Debian'
Micah Lee posted this missive on his own site in January 2013. It freaked me out because I thought the guy's photo was in the top-right corner, and suddenly he took a sip of coffee or something while I was reading. Whoa! It was actually a looping video in which he mostly just stares at you. Ain't technology wonderful?

Cherry-picking parts of the post:

A lot of Ubuntu's recent decisions have been turning me off. It started a couple years ago when they changed the default desktop environment from GNOME to Unity. I had played with Unity when it was called "Ubuntu Netbook Remix" and I thought it was a fun toy, and might be easier to use on a touchscreen device than GNOME. But they made it the default before it was ready.

Another thing that started to annoy me was Ubuntu One, their cloud service. I could immediately see that if I were to use and rely on Ubuntu One, I would be locked in. It would be like needing iCloud or something, and I didn't like that idea. I was also noticing that my OS was starting to want me to buy stuff. Cloud storage space, music from the Ubuntu One music store straight from Rhythmbox.

Around the same time came the Ubuntu Software Center. At first I was impressed. They managed to make something way more usable than Synaptic Package Manager for finding programs to install. It wasn't always clear which packages were programs themselves or just dependencies of other programs, but Ubuntu added ratings, reviews, screenshots, and a nicer interface. But then they started integrating the Ubuntu Software Center with Ubuntu One. Then they started selling proprietary software through it. Then they started calling programs "apps," and featuring them with big graphical banners.

'Why I'm Leaving Debian'
Ok, that's not the title of the post under examination, but it contrasts nicely with the previous entry, doesn't it? I actually wrote this one up in a blog post titled "What's Wrong at Debian?"

The actual post in question was titled "so long and thanks for all the fish" on the Debian mailing list. (btw, what's with the lack of capitalization these days? I corrected most of the over-lowercasedness, but left this alone to show you what a journalist and former copy editor has to put up with in these crazy times -- surely a further sign of humanity's overall collapse.)

Sorry, I ramble when visually assaulted by a moving photo. Anyway, this was from a well-respected open source contributor, Joey Hess, in November 2014:

It's become abundantly clear that this is no longer the project I originally joined in 1996. We've made some good things, and I wish everyone well, but I'm out.

Note that this also constitutes an orphaning as upstream of debhelper, alien, dpkg-repack, and debmirror.

I will be making final orphaning uploads of other packages that are not team maintained, over the next couple of days, as bandwidth allows.

If I have one regret from my 18 years in Debian, it's that when the Debian constitution was originally proposed, despite seeing it as dubious, I neglected to speak out against it. It's clear to me now that it's a toxic document, that has slowly but surely led Debian in very unhealthy directions.

'Why I'm Done with 'Why I'm Leaving' Posts'
You probably get this by now, right?

Why I'm Leaving This Post
Out of room. Here are some more for your reading pleasure:

Why are you leaving? Comment here or drop me a line.

Posted by David Ramel on 04/15/2016 at 10:28 AM


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