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[REBOL] Re: Licensing, components ... Re: REBOL FAQ updated

From: rebologue:yah:oo at: 19-Sep-2002 14:40

Hi Carl-- --- Carl Read <[carl--cybercraft--co--nz]> wrote:
> ... I believe [OS-specific] will be fatal to REBOL > as a cross-platform language.
Ok, so the licensing for /Pro is needed to keep those OS-centric developers in check. It begs the question: which is the greater torment to the general computing public; when you can't run every /View script on 30+ platforms, or when you can't find or build REBOL scripts that compare favorably to native, OS-specific ones?
> [OS-specific software] does tend to tie one to > a particular OS though, as that approach > guarantees one OS or another will dominate. > Cross-platform software is a way out of that bind.
It's a way out only if the cross-platform softare is as good or better than the OS-specific flavor. If the situation were truly dire, I think we'd all be using StarOffice and Java on open-source platforms by now. Inertia wins; without clear direction and sufficient motivation, the main herd stays put. I think that REBOL will be attractive to independent software developers. The RAD-like features of REBOL are a powerful force multiplier that helps compete in the marketplace. This market group is trying to optimize every available advantage; they are not likely to abandon cross-platform compatibility (a potential market) unless it's a necessity. In most cases, corporate developers don't need the cross-platform compatibility (for desktop apps, anyway). They need to preserve the user experience of the platform, and to integrate with their tech infrastructure.
> Define attractive.
Attractive meaning priced affordably for small to mid-size development development houses. Right now it is priced prohibitively (IIRC, each user must purchase a license for /Pro).
> I believe RT should do what RT believe is > best for RT.
I agree. They're probably doing exactly that. My experience with RT has been good. They usually listen and pick out the ideas that work for them.
> The world's not short of OS-specific languages, but > good cross-platform ones with GUIs are a different > matter.
I don't want to get into a language tussle, but I think there quite a few cross-platform languages with GUIs. Many folks will assert that, for simplicity and ubiquity, plain-old HTML front-ends are the way to go.
> But I'm attracted to REBOL because it's a > cross-platform language first and a good one second. > I want to be able to surf the Reb knowing that > 90% of the scripts there don't care what OS > I'm running. The Reb will be a pointless > exercise if they're not.
I bet almost 100% of public scripts are cross-platform now, but there are only a few hundred scripts available, and mostly with limited functionality. We could risk seeing a small number of OS-specific scripts become extremely popular, which might belie the overall numbers and distort the perception. I'm curious to know if your convictions are shared by many developers/users.
> (Yes, I know it's not much now, but it has the > potential to be very interesting.)
While you may find it interesting when it's cross-platform, if you want it to be really interesting, why not let developers drive REBOL wherever they want? (Oh yeah, you answered that. ;^)
> If cans of spray-paint were free to all, do you > think that'd make for better painted walls?
It would result in many many more walls being painted. 80% of the paint jobs would be poor or unremarkable, 15% would be acceptable, 4% would be noteworthy, and 1% may be the among finest murals you've ever seen. It's that 1% of applications, the VisiCalc, Mosaic, and Napster that drive the industry forward. Of course, a cynic might say "Put a million monkeys in front of a typewriter and...". Cheers, Ed