Suggestion: Non-Appbuilding Community Edition

Andre Garzia andre at
Mon Sep 6 07:20:46 EDT 2021

Don’t know how many people here remember that they tried that approach with Dreamcard. I really like it, but in the end it didn’t work for the company. I see many members here in the list saying “what should be done”, “what would have worked”, and I wanted to remember every one that while speculation is fun and a healthy practice, it is not necessarily a representation of truth. We don’t know what could have worked, very few people here know the day to day managing of LiveCode Ltd to judge what are their best options. What people here can do is lobby from the user’s point of view, and yet I see a ton of people “playing CEO with these emails”, that is not productive IMHO.

Let’s take a step back for a second and realise as a community we lack many things that other programming language communities have. We do have a very healthy mailing list, forum, and occasional conference. We’re all friends, and many of us have known each other for decades. Those are things that many, if not most, programming language communities do not have. And yet we have not fostered many of the ancillary things that most communities do. 

* We have very few open source projects in the community, and the ones we have have very few contributors.
* We have not build anything like a package manager to help us share code around. The IDE built-in extension store, and code sharing features are extremely simple.
* We don’t have an ecosystem of tools and libraries around. We have some tools and some libraries.
* We don’t have many people writing blogs, making videos, writing books, and fostering the community. 
* There are very few services and companies besides LiveCode Ltd offering products to the community.

All items mentioned above are important regardless if LiveCode Community Edition is around or not. Without those things, it is very hard for any FOSS initiative to blossom. Without those things, it is very hard to make a programming language community feel vibrant and alive. We had eight years of LC Community Edition, and as a community we haven’t really cared to nurture it. Very few people contributed patches. We all loved having it, we were just not putting enough care into it. And that is how FOSS dies.

What is most important is that the Community Edition was not the on-ramp path to attract new users and then lead them towards a commercial license. What happened was the opposite, Community users stayed with the Community Edition and many paying users migrated to the FOSS offer. If the business model of LC was different, if they had structured it all differently, maybe it could have worked, but that is just speculation, we don’t know it might have failed in such manner that LC Ltd would be dead.

What I do know, and I know quite a lot about programming language communities, is that without more than just a mailing list and forum, you can’t have a vibrant community. Without a community that feels engaging and alive, you don’t get new users.

I’m happy paying for my license because I can see the value LC provides me, and how my money directly affects their ability to output quality stuff. I love FOSS, but I’d rather have a healthy LC Ltd around with the resources to keep building amazing goodies. We as a community can build all the cool stuff around the proprietary language, there is a ton of things we could have that would make this a more lively place. 

The question is, who here wants to build stuff? 


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