Thank you for the condescension, just what I needed to brighten up my morning. I actually consider myself to be reasonably au fait with this whole free software thing. It paid my wages for quite a few years, and it might again in a few years time. Indeed, there's a small, but not insignificant, chance that you or your packets are a regular user of free software I have written / helped maintain. (And I am a regular, happy and grateful user of your software).
So thanks for that.
Note that I was *not* assigning blame anywhere, and I was not ranting. I was merely stating a fact: a good application disappeared from a common distro because of churn in libraries, and that the old libraries are difficult to build on that distro, at least using the packaging facilities of that distro. If stating quite objective facts on LWN about free software is akin to questioning and having profound issues with the whole basis for free software, then perhaps we're all on a quite shaky foundation.
As I've written here before, my view is the problem is a business one. In particular, the fact that it's impossible to pay the major employer of Linux desktop developers for support on the software I'd like to run on my desktop (i.e. software that isn't 5+ years old on average, but not sub-6-month old either). Further, even if they would take my money for that, that still leaves a good number of developers I depend on not owing me anything. I'd have to get support contracts with each of them.
Re fixing your problems yourself, it's not always possible to learn a codebase and figure out how to fix it within the space of the hours to a day you can afford to spend on fixing some random software problem. But I'll give the GNOME lib building another try and see what needs fixing.