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[REBOL] Re: Tuples - Was Pair! thread

From: carl:cybercraft at: 9-Feb-2002 14:03

On 09-Feb-02, Joel Neely wrote:
> Hi, Carl, > I must disagree with the assumption that open source software > will "be sure" to fork. (I assume we're talking about the > issue of random incompatibilities due to the uncoordinated > fiddling about of various random individuals, and not the > kind of version-to-version evolution -- and occasional lack > of backward compatibility -- that every real programming > language I've used during my 30+ years in computing.)
> Carl Read wrote: >> >> That may be fine for some software, but it isn't for a cross- >> platform, cross-Internet language. You can be sure that once >> people started rolling their own REBOLs the Net would fill up >> with scripts that weren't compatible with your version of REBOL. >> > The history of the open source movement doesn't bear this out. > Instead of sending the impassioned pages of deathless prose that > I was first inspired to write ;-)
Pah - you just broke it up into two emails. (;
> I'll simply point out that some > of the most important languages and tools, and IMHO one of the > most significant developments in operating systems in many years, > are all open source. > Perl, Python, Ruby, gcc, Linux, GIMP, gawk, gnu-make, emacs, > vim, gtk, Gnome, Apache, ...
Firstly, I'm talking specifically about cross-platform, cross-Internet languages. (See above.) How many of those with GUI support can you name that can run programs without modification across as wide a platform base as REBOL does? That you can do the likes of this with... do and have in most cases no problems with it?
> Far from destroying these languages and tools, the availability > of source has caused them to be ported to far more platforms than > the inventors ever would have been achieve to do on their own, > and debugged far more rapidly.
Okay, let's assume REBOL's open-sourced. Now, it seems there's good reasons why RT hasn't put it on Palm, but being open-sourced, no doubt someone would try to port it to Palm anyway. Now, let's also assume they partially succeed, in that they get a version that sort of works, though it's restricted in what scripts it can run, and it doesn't function quite like REBOL should, so we're talking not just about a subset of REBOL, but a modified version. (ie, RT is right in that a real port isn't possible.) This they release as despite its flaws they think it'll be useful. If this became popular on Palms, you'd then get OS-specific scripts of REBOL appearing, thus defeating the cross-platform ideal.
> On the other hand, the very nature of highly-extensible languages > such as FORTH, Smalltalk, and REBOL tends to work in *exactly* > the direction you feared. How many people on this list have a > library (or two, ...) of their own favorite tweaks and functions > and then write new code based on those extensions? How many > experienced REBOL users have customized their user.r files? > How many times have we seen: > - A bug reported and someone responding with a fix of the form > "here's a rewrite of that function; put this in user.r" ? > - A posted script, followed by a post that says "It doesn't work > on my box", followed by a post that says "Ooops, here's my > foo.r" or "Go get so-and-so's quux.r"?
Yes, but the fixes are in REBOL, not C, and don't require you to recompile your REBOL for them to work. These are just basic oversights and no different than forgetting to upload pic9.png and the like.
> and so on. Open source doesn't create such problems; it actually > helps alleviate them because it's a more efficient mechanism for > fast-cycling both the bug finding/fixing process and the rate of > scrutinizing (and then adopting or rejecting) potentially useful > new ideas.
I'm not criticising open-source in general, just the belief that it's a good idea for a language where you want the programs to run on as many OSs as possible without modification.
> All of that said (and aren't you glad I shortened it ;-) , I am > a firm believer in the right of a creator to determine the fate > of his creation. REBOL is Carl's baby, and he (alone!) has the > moral right to decide whether he will make it available via > open source or whether he wishes to keep it closed. > Likewise, prospective users of REBOL (or any other tool) have the > right to make their choices: either to invest their time and > energy in a language that they know in advance is not an open > source project, or to take themselves and their time and energy > elsewhere. Either way, all parties should respect the rights > and decisions of the others.
Well said. And I do know the risk involved in puting my time and effort into a language that isn't open and which may go in directions I don't like. I consider REBOL's worth that risk.
> -jn-
-- Carl Read