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

From: rebologue:ya:hoo at: 14-Sep-2002 12:17

From a business standpoint, the value of the REBOL platform by itself is very little (really), regardless of how cross-platform it is. That is because the value of the REBOL platform is determined by how many people are using it and developing with it. In the hands of tens of thousands of developers and users, however, the value could be huge. RT should be doing whatever they can to make sure that developers in key markets are happy and that the REBOL interpreter is being distributed far and wide. Cross-platform capability is a solution to a problem that affects a relatively small percentage of developers in the desktop world. It mainly affects the ability of a language to survive platform extinctions; it has little affect on popularity or profitability (despite what Sun marketing has drilled into our heads). --- Carl Read <[carl--cybercraft--co--nz]> wrote:
> I've said this before, but allowing the launching of > OS-specific apps from the free REBOLs is a recipe > for producing an OS-specific REBOL. > It just needs someone to produce a cool Window's > add-on for REBOL, and every second REBOL script on > the Net will be a Windows-only REBOL script.
Look, cross-platform compatibility is a feature; it shouldn't be a mandate. It is not the end-all be all of software. If a commercial vendor is aligned with the goals of the programmer, the vendor stands to reap potential benefits from the relationship. The dysfunctional version of this is, "If the programmer is aligned with the goals of the vendor, the vendor stands to reap potential benefits." Programmers/designers write scripts to serve their own goals, not those of anyone else. If a programmer doesn't particularly care about audiences beyond a single OS, that is his/her decision to make, not the vendor's. In any case, it should come as no surprise that the vendor's business case and cross-platform agenda factor little in the decision. For the sake of argument, let's say RT changes it's policy, and grants /Pro the same license as /Core. Would this be the death of Rebol? Hardly. Would the world become littered with programs that only work on Windows, on Amiga, or on QNX? Maybe yes, maybe no. Are we saying that these developers would choose to implement OS-specific code even in cases where the same result could be achieved in multi-platform code? I doubt it. Even so, maybe that exotic QNX-specific app will help turn new users onto QNX. If an OS-specific app turns out to be a success, you can bet they will try to extend it to other platforms. It's a true mystery (is it?), but commercial, OS-specific software seems to be the norm on user desktops. The situation isn't under any threat of being fixed by REBOL. Users that don't want to see OS-specific code are probably nervous that "cool" scripts would become available exclusively on dominant commercial platforms such as Windows or Mac. Their platform-of-choice could be eclipsed by OS-specific scripts written by multitudes ex-VB and RealBasic upstarts. Perhaps this ml would no longer be a diverse, multi-platform speakeasy if OS-specific discussions become the norm. Despite possible increased platform visibility and equity, RT probably would not welcome this direction. RT does not want to be harried by all of the OS-specific baggage that they might attract. Much easier to manage a cross-platform (reduced) feature set, and wall-out the OS barbarians. This is how I interpret RT's current policy: True REBOLs write only multi-platform scripts. RT supports the REBOL platform, not those of any individual OS. If you want to write any OS-specific code, you must pay to play. You will need to buy a special interpreter, and all of your users will need to purchase this as well. If you need OS specific features and an inexpensive runtime to support it, we suggest taking a look at the multitude of free or open-source tools that 99.999% of developers end up choosing.
> REBOL's good, but it's not good enough to > change human-nature.
I agree. But it depends on your perspective. Who's place is it to say what is wrong with human nature? REBOL should sell its products in a way that serves its business and let human nature be handled by human individuals. It won't do any of its platforms justice if can't afford to hire staff and the platform continues to live in the margins. // Ed