What's the situation in the end, and what is to be done?

Peter Alcibiades palcibiades-first at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Apr 28 02:47:49 EDT 2010


Now that we have gotten to a real list, how bad is it? 

Jacque basically suggested earlier that there are things present in all
versions that are missing in others, and that Linux is no worse off than the
others.  I don't think this is quite correct because there are aspects of
the Linux situation that we don't seem to have in the others.  One, there is
core functionality that simply does not work properly and where there's no
decent workaround.  In this category surely we should put:

-- font handling
-- printing
-- resolution and sizing issues in the IDE
-- stability of the editor

Second, there is stuff missing from Linux which seems to represent the
future direction of the platform, and which does not just affect Rev as IDE. 
When we see revBrowser and revWeb continue to be missing, this is a rather
big deal.  It means that revved pages are a sort of Active X, completely
inaccessible from Linux.  It does mean this, doesn't it?  Wben I visit a
revved page, like Sarah's, I get invited to install the plug-in, but then am
told that its 'coming soon'.  So revved pages appear to be a Linux free zone
right now.

Third, there is a lot of functionality in third party add-ons which is
evidently not going to come for Linux.  Now this is very understandable from
the point of view of the writers of the add-ons, but from the point of view
of a user, it adds up to a further feature deficit.

Fourth, there are some ways in which Rev on Linux is not a well behaved
application:  here you would put support for virtual desktops.

Another category of the missing features seems less serious:  that is sound
and video recording. This is less serious because there are the features in
Linux to allow these functions to be implemented as a shell call from any
gui front end written in anything, so there are workarounds.

Bottom Line.

We have to be pragmatic about this.  Rev is a fairly small language
community.  On the recording features, it probably makes most sense to just
include in the user guide a shortish section on how to call the standard
Linux tools from the shell to do recording and playback.  Maybe there are
other areas in which Mac or Windows specific features can be implemented
easily enough in the shell, and the UG should cover this at least in
outline.

On the core stuff that doesn't work, this has to be fixed, or we don't have
a product.  I really like Rev (and the people), but we can't be expected to
carry on struggling with resetting the screen resolution every time we want
to use the IDE, just because we have a 22 inch screen, and to have printing
and fonts not working properly, and to have the editor freezing so we have
to use an editor with none of the integration of the built-in one.  This
stuff just has to be fixed if Rev wants to carry on selling a Linux version.

Richard has sometimes argued about resources and market share, and there are
aspects of this where these arguments make sense, but they do not make sense
on this stuff, because there is no point being in a market if your product
is not simply lacking features, which is understandable, but if the features
it has do not work to a level which make it only marginally usable.

RevWeb and RevBrowser are must haves, but in a less urgent sense than the
above.  Without the core stuff, the version does not have a present. 
Without these, it doesn't have a future.  But it does not have to have these
next month, it just has to have them on the development path in the
reasonably near future, and there has to be some proposed date or release in
which they are scheduled.  The same applies to support for multiple
desktops.  It has to be done if you're going to have an acceptable Linux
product, but it does not have to be done next week.  The product is usable
without it.  Its just below standard in one respect.

The migration of higher levels of functionality into platform specific add
ons is a serious strategic issue, but if we are in triage mode, it can wait. 
I do have thoughts about this, and it should be addressed, but after some of
the more urgent things are taken care of.

Finally, we need some communication about the broken core functionality
elements.  If we are not going to fix printing, fonts, the editor, ability
to use the IDE on large screens, with the most goodwill in the world, you
just can't carry on using Rev.  Is there a commitment to fixing these soon? 
Please someone, say something!

Peter
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