Constellation

Jim Ault JimAultWins at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 21 14:28:10 EDT 2005


Ben brought out an excellent topic, since it could be that Rev needs another
boost in market share and public recognition.  Along the lines of
commentary, I offer my thoughts that may have no bearing on the core of the
issue, but are pertinent to the developers I know and could be possible
contributors to some open source collaboration.

Another factor in the 'value' vs 'benefit' to open source and commercial
software is that the utilizer (user) has to study any of the material and
forge a solution by combining it with something else.  This is also a cost,
often an insidious, slowly-revealing hidden cost.

The effort required could be simple steps to produce a fabulous result and
the end-product that is quite valuable.  In most any case I can think of, a
tool/utility/widget/product is only the beginning of the work path.  I dare
say that many of the attractive/cool utilities that we all collect, end up
gathering magnetic dust in a corner of our hard drives.  There simply is not
enough time to follow through on all the tasks we would like to solve and
master.

It could be as simple as "I am married now", "my wife will kill me", "that
was a lost three days to figure out", "my client is slowing down the
project", "my client is now asking for ****", "after all this work I find
out that what I need next cannot be done"... and on.

Given that there are so many levels of "completion" on our hard drives, it
is more a question of necessity that determines what we manage to finish and
what remains a work in progress.  So many tasks, so little time.

The last factor that I have learned by years of experience is how to correct
for misjudging the time-it-takes-to-finish even the smallest function or
feature.  I constantly find myself saying that will only take 2 hours to do,
and, of course, it takes 4 before I am happy with it.  For me, the
correction is to wake up, smell the coffee and accept that I will get less
done than I like.

I know this is not a philosophical sounding and steeped in more formal
language, but the issues of collaboration go beyond the desire and
opportunity of the participants.  Real life happens while we are merrily
immersed in the abstract world of our choosing.

Go for it, Ben, but realize that at my stage, (recently married, starting
two businesses, approaching retirement in 10 years), I know that I am not a
candidate for collaboration.  I will try to give back to the list and others
as I am able in the coming years, but have to realize my time limitations.

Jim Ault
Las Vegas


On 10/21/05 10:10 AM, "Chipp Walters" <chipp at chipp.com> wrote:

> Hi Ben,
> 
> I certainly understand the allure of open source-- and am thankful for
> it. Interestingly, it is not totally the 'free spirited not for profit'
> many believe it to be, as many of those who are involved have sound
> business (commercial money-making) reasons for doing so-- like IBM and
> Linspire.
> 
> In fact there are entire business strategies around how to profit from
> starting an open source project.
> 
> Take MySQL for instance. If you want to use it for your company, you
> must pay a license fee (and it's not that small either).
> 
> I look at all software as tools (I'm not a gamer;-), and I always ask
> myself what the benefit of a purchased software tool is to me vs the
> time I would need to create it or download a 'free' version. For
> instance, TechSmith makes Camtasia, a fine commercial product for
> capturing screen activity and making a movie of it. I know there are a
> lot of freeware and opensource alternatives, but I choose the Camtasia
> product because it's more robust, has more features, and is better
> supported. I'm willing to trade $$$ for this convenience. Others are not
> and that's certainly their perogative!
> 
> I believe Richard Gaskin said it quite well on an earlier post:
> 
> "The irony of GPL is that it can unfairly favor the wealthy:  common
> workers need to eat and pay rent, leaving only those with sufficient
> wealth for significant leisure projects able to work on GPL stuff.  Once
> this wealth is applied to an application category, "free" can have the
> same effect as the antitrust violation of "dumping", driving working
> people out of the market leaving only the product driven by unrelated
> wealth.
> 
> Sorry Mr. Stallman, but that's what happens in a "gift economy" when
> programmers are the only ones gifting while landlords and grocers still
> expect to be paid."
> 
> That said, I think OS projects can work in Rev. Take a look at the
> MetaCard IDE for instance, it's all open sourced (though it didn't start
> that way).
> 
> Regarding multiple users working together, I have an interesting story.
> 
> Richard Gaskin, Jacque Gay and I all have our own property editor
> plugins which display ALL the rev control props, not just the ones the
> Rev IDE lets you see. So, we decided to group our ideas and make a
> single 'super' object prop editor in an 'open source' sort of way, and
> include it in the standard Rev IDE distro. Sounds like a fairly simple idea.
> 
> Now, I believe all three of us to be competent Rev programmers,
> each with a couple commercial apps coded in Transcript under our belt.
> As we sat down to do this simple task, it became evident the management
> of the decision process was much more 'time and process intensive' than
> just writing the damn thing, which any of us could do easily!
> 
> Truly a valuable insight to me. I don't think it ever got finished. At
> least it's not in the distro at this time. We all just had too much
> other stuff to do. (I notice in a previous post of yours, you too, have
> similar time constraints for creating 'free' stuff).
> 
> Now that's only a single instance, but does point out how sometimes it's
>   much easier to sit down and write your own product, sell it or give it
> away, than work with a group to develop it. In fact, most my free
> plugins are developed just this way. I have a need, develop for myself
> and give it to the community.
> 
> best wishes,
> 
> Chipp
> 
> Ben Fisher wrote:
>> It seems like a lot of the plug-ins and tools
>> for Revolution lately are being sold.
> 
>> However, I am always more attracted to free
>> open-source projects, not just because of the price, but also because
>>  of the spirit. Developers helping each other, one of the reasons I
>> subscribe to this list. If I download open-source code, I can
>> contribute to the project. All fellow developers can profit from my
>> contributions, and not just the few who can afford to buy.
> 
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