Imagine a world in which HyperCard had been open sourced 20 years ago?
ambassador at fourthworld.com
Thu Jun 7 11:42:16 CDT 2007
As a team member of one of the longest-running Rev-based open source
projects, the MC IDE, I share much of the enthusiasm for the benefits of
the process and, with more than a dozen others, have translated that
enthusiasm into action.
But on balance, I believe a lot of that success is due to the limited
scope of the project, since we're working only on the IDE stacks and the
engine remains funded through sales.
I think many elements in your list support that view, that for Rev we
have a good balance between traditional and open source funding:
David Bovill wrote:
> 1. Visual Basic would not have had the success that it did as
> companies re-hacked HyperTalk to fit their business needs
Yet Visual Basic has enjoyed that success as a proprietary product.
If Apple had remained as committed to HC as Microsoft has been with VB,
HC could have continued to play as central a role in evangelizing the OS
as VB has, whether or not it was open source (Note to Apple: the world
is bigger than Widgets).
> 2. We'd have got colour and video and object orientation well ahead of
> the competition
The competition was SuperCard and MetaCard. SuperCard introduced color
in 1989, and video in 1990. MetaCard premiered in 1992. HyperCard was
still in development at Apple when these competing products were
introduced. While it may be politically incorrect to suggest this, I
believe that Apple had the opportunity to integrate color directly into
the product but simply dropped the ball.
True object orientation is still absent from the xTalk world though, and
I agree it would be a boon to see some of that in the language.
> 3. MetaCard would have been born as an Open Source company based
> around customising the engine for larger corporations
Unlike IBM, Adobe, Apple, Sun, and others who fund open source projects
of the level of complexity as the MetaCard virtual machine, MetaCard
Corp. didn't have multiple larger revenue streams to allow the company
to give away free software. Like Rev today, MC Corp. had the engine as
its main product, and relied on that sales revenue to fund its development.
Why doesn't Apple open source OS X? Or Adobe with Photoshop? It seems
that companies open source products for strategic reasons, and only when
they have sufficient revenue from non-open-source products to fund it.
Even when we look at Mozilla and the various open source contributions
from universities, ultimately most of the money driving that development
comes from commercial sources.
If anyone here can muster the cash to acquire Rev and open source it, at
the right price I would imagine Kevin would go along with it. But
software is expensive to develop, and thus far we haven't seen a funding
source which would cover those expenses with Rev.
> 4. RunRev would have produced the RevIde and repackaged it for a new
> market - without the same start-up costs
If this is a question of IDEs tailored for specific markets, remember
that an IDE is just a collection of stacks so there's nothing stopping
anyone from making an IDE for any niche they find. Rev licenses for the
engine to drive it are cheap, and there's already one open source IDE
available, MetaCard. The only limitation here seems to be finding folks
who can afford to write IDEs for free. I'd like to do that myself, but
I still have some retirement goals to meet before I can give away all of
> 5. Others Galaxies would have been produced
Yet the Galaxy we have is commercial.
> 6. We'd have got these benefits cheaper, they would have got more
True, free is a price that can't be beat. :)
> 7. Businesses would be making money with the engine and there would be
> many many such businesses
In my shop alone I assist more than a dozen business making money with
Rev, and directly manage development in three of them. And I'm just a
lone gunman; when we add up the hundreds of others developing commercial
applications with Rev it's a reasonably strong number.
Of course if Rev were free that number would be higher, but who pays the
The money I earn from development is affordable to businesses because
I'm using a high-level virtual machine. If they also had to pay for the
VM development those costs would skyrocket.
As it is, under the current egalitarian funding model we get the VM
development costs amortized by having everyone pay the same low upgrade fee.
Fourth World Media Corporation
Ambassador at FourthWorld.com http://www.FourthWorld.com
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