Open Source (was Don't you just wish Rev would do this?)

Samuel M. Smith smithsm at samuelsmith.org
Wed Jun 6 22:42:41 EDT 2007


The problem I have with runrev is not open source per se but that  
with a paid model the incentive
is for the developer to release "feature" updates that sound good to  
justify paying upgrade fees but
that for the most part are not nearly as valuable to a developer as  
maintaining stable quality code.
Mature open source on the other hand has the opposite incentive,  
stable code and only add features that
people are willing to invest time in to get so you get a different  
evolution of features over time.

Like when was the last time RunRev updated the cgi engine for RunRev?  
How long do bugs go without getting
fixed? The first day I tried serious development with runrev I found  
3 bugs with no reasonable work arounds.
End of project day one. I posted them and it took over a year before  
the first one got fixed.

I don't mind paying for software, but unless somebody besides the  
marketing director is deciding where
to expend programmer resources you get a different product. So it is  
possible to get a powerful feature set
but it takes visionary leadership and some courage to forgo the easy  
profits from rapid paid update cycles
fir the long term profitibility of bullet proof code and well  
designed functionality. many times software
starts out that way. Visionary technologists with the skill and  
determination to make good software but
once the VC's and others get involved the vision gets lost and it  
becomes software by buzz factor.
As an example of good paid software I suggest Google's sketchup. I  
have been a user for years and those guys
agonize over every feature. At first I thought they over did it by  
not having enough features but with time
I find the simplicity makes the program all that much more powerful.

In my opinion when the number of new bugs exceeds a small fraction of  
the number of new features then the bias is way too much on the make  
new features side so we can justify
a paid upgrade (which of course comes along with we don't support the  
old version anymore so if you want any
bug fixes you have to get the new version with the new new bugs).    
The unpaid model of open source forces an economy of development  
resources that usually means power over hype. Whereas in the paid  
sphere the only thing motivating economy of development is  
discipline, a much weaker motivation.





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