Mailing List Archive: 49091 messages
  • Home
  • Script library
  • AltME Archive
  • Mailing list
  • Articles Index
  • Site search

[REBOL] Re: oss revisited (briefly!)

From: joel:neely:fedex at: 10-Feb-2004 11:03

Hi, Robert, Just my $0.02 here... However, let me emphasize that I'm not agitating for a change of RT position here, but just clarifying what I understand open source to be about, and some benefits of open source. Robert M. M=FCnch wrote:
> Hi, I never undestand what the problem is? What's the problem with Rebol > not being open-source? It doesn't cost hundred-of-thousands of $s to use. > So if you are doing things that will create revenue, you can afford a > license, if not use the free interpreter. >
With all due respect, I think you're confusing two distinct issues here. To paraphrase ESR and RMS, open source is about "free as in free speech, not free as in free beer". Access to source code is about availability of knowledge, as expanded below.
> But, all those open-source demagogues, if you can show-up with a > business-model that let RT make some money from their work, I will be > quite but otherwise it's just a techie POV with no business know-how > behind it. > > And, BTW: Those not caring about Rebol because not being open-source have > a problem ;-) >
Again WADR I think you're contradicting yourself here. Saying that something has no value unless somebody can make money off of it seems just as much advocating a philosophical POV (not to accuse anybody of demagoguery ;-) as saying that the greatest value to society at large is obtained by knowledge to be freely available. As for the other contradiction, your first paragraph seems to be arguing for a strictly commercial POV, but your second paragraph seems to ignore the marketing principle that the customer has the right to decide what (s)he wants. I know some people who don't care about anything that doesn't run on Windows. Do you think they have a problem simply because they have a preferred platform and delivery model? RT can make money by providing expert support, just as an engineering firm can make money by providing expertise, even though that expertise is based on applying the "open source" laws of physics which are freely available to all. Similarly, legal firms make *LOTS* of money offering their expertise, even though anyone can legally go to a law library and read the "source code" of the laws of the nation.
> Well, why not? If someone can tell me a really benefit Rebol being > open-source I might change my POV. Sorry, if this sound a bit harsh here, > but only moaning without showing a solution is not that professional. >
1) Faster bug fixes. Many folks on this mailing list have offered but fixes for mezzanine code, but their/our ability to help debug and offer corrections hits the wall when natives are involved. RT produces good code but nobody is perfect and we know that there have been bugs which have taken quite a while to resolve due to other priorites and limits on resources. 2) Improved documentation. Many on this list have contributed ideas, explanations, and mental models re various features of REBOL. If we had access to the source code, those who are willing to invest the effort to understand the interpreter and/or natives could offer exact and definite answers for "how does REBOL do ..." and "what does ... mean in REBOL" kinds of questions. The user community could stop wasting time trying to guess and/or debate such issues. Making the user community more effective certainly benefits both the users and RT! 3) Faster porting. There have been several mentions on this list in the past few days about the fact that /View on Mac OS/X has been pending for over a year. In the open source world, sufficiently- interested parties can perform (or at least contribute to) the legwork of getting an existing piece of code ported to another environment (even if only for "beta" purposes). The list could go on, but you asked for "a benefit" and I've mentioned three, so I'll stop. ;-) Again, let me stress that I'm not complaining or advocating here; RT has a perfect right to decide what model and license REBOL will be provided under. As a user, I simply decide whether I prefer to use the tool under their model, or live without it. I certainly agree that whining and moaning are not professional, but I do believe that calm, rational discussion of the pros and cons of alternatives is also legitimate. -jn- -- Joel Neely com dot fedex at neely dot joel I had proved the hypothesis with a lovely Gedankenexperiment, but my brain was too small to contain it. -- Language Hat