Dan Shafer revdan at
Fri Oct 21 01:18:24 EDT 2005

On Oct 20, 2005, at 5:43 PM, Ben Fisher wrote:

>  It seems like a lot of the plug-ins and tools for Revolution  
> lately are
> being sold. There is nothing wrong with this, in fact most of the  
> time these
> products look nicer and are easier to use.
>  However, I am always more attracted to free open-source projects,  
> not just
> because of the price, but also because of the spirit.

While I certainly agree with your notion of "spirit" here, Ben, I  
have to say that I am more than happy to pay folks like Jerry Daniels  
and Ken Ray and Chipp Walters and Jan Schenkel (and others too  
numerous to mention) for the hard work they put in designing and  
productizing a tool I can use to make money. There are, of course,  
many others who contribute free and/or open source tools to the  
community and I appreciate them as well. But I'm glad that when I run  
into a problem or question with Constellation, I don't have to spend  
10 or 20 or 30 hours rummaging through source code to find and fix  
the problem.

Open source isn't what it's cracked up to be in my experience. "You  
can fix it" presumes you have the time, expertise, energy, and need  
for it to be fixed. And if you don't, then you're at the mercy of a  
frequently distracted and fragmented community of developers, none of  
whom may see the need for the feature without which you cannot work.

Again, I think the mix of both commercial and open source is  
ultimately a good place to be. There are open source and free dev  
tools out there for Rev. I've chosen Constellation for a lot of reasons.

>  After thriving off of free software for so long, it felt kind of  
> awkward
> for me to spend the money to even upgrade my version of Revolution.  
> Paying
> money just to get the language?

Well, first of all  you're not paying just to get the language, but  
also the IDE. You can get Python free but there isn't a decent  
graphical IDE for it. I know. I was part of the PythonCard team for a  
long time and that project ended up not being released because there  
just wasn't enough support or demand. Other open source languages  
often suffer from the same inadequacy.

Second, not all of the free, open source languages out there are free  
when you're done buying books to tell you how to use them, libraries  
to do the things the language isn't designed to do, support for when  
the tool breaks and you're on deadline...  Been there, done that. I'm  
a big fan of a number of open source languages conceptually (Python,  
JavaScript, Smalltalk and others) but to get real work done, I always  
go back to Rev.

Must be a reason for that.

Dan Shafer, Information Product Consultant and Author
Get my book, "Revolution: Software at the Speed of Thought"

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