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[REBOL] Re: REBOL momentum builds

From: carl:cybercraft at: 23-May-2002 10:00

About time I replied to this. (: On 19-May-02, Joel Neely wrote:
> I tried to make the same point of your comments above during a > previous thread about the "threat" of open source. The claim had > been made that opening the source of the REBOL interpreter was > likely to lead to forking of the language and the immanent demise > of cross-platform compatibility. My response is that ANY access > to system-dependent features (especially such things as binary > libraries) will allow someone to write code that will run on only > a single platform. > OTOH, I question whether that's a significant issue.
Okay. Turn off Java and Javascript and Flash and go for a surf and see how long it is before you need one of those. All the free REBOL needs is just one system-dependent feature that's as popular in its scripts as they are on webpages and to all practical purposes it'll have lost its cross-platform compatibility. Yes, I'll still be able to write cross-platform scripts myself, but to "surf" the Desktop pleasantly on all but a handful of systems? No, I very much doubt it. Also, what's to stop an OS vender from writing (or buying) the killer add-on to REBOL that's only avaliable on their OS?
> It's always > possible for a programmer to write something that is so dependent > on a particular set of assumptions, resources, and "world view" > that it's just not worth the trouble to re-use it outside that > regime (and said regime can be as narrow as the mind of the one > who writes it... ;-) I'm much more concerned about whether we > have languages that are so richly applicable and platform-neutral > that they *avoid*forcing* us to write code with all of those > limiting dependencies. > Some of the more successful (in terms of number of users, range > of applications, supporting literature and publications, etc...) > languages, such as Perl, Python, Ruby, and Tcl have the property > that you *can* write platform-neutral code if you want to, but > you can also take advantage of platform-specific resources for > performance or functionality when you deem it appropriate. As > an interpreted, high-level language, REBOL must ultimately offer > access to system-specific resources or remain marginalized with > respect to applications where performance is an issue.
There's access to platform-specific stuff now in the commercial versions of REBOL so you can have what you want locally or on servers if you're willing to pay for it. But I see the free REBOL as more akin to a browser than a language and access to scripts on the Reb could easily become a cross-platform nightmare if platform-specific support is included in it. -- Carl Read