[REBOL] Re: oss revisited (briefly!)
From: joel:neely:fedex at: 13-Feb-2004 10:06
The punch-line (from my perspective) is at the end.
David Feugey wrote:
> There are also big issues with portability.
> ... no OSS version of the language means no fragmentation
> of the source code.
That simply doesn't follow. Perl, Python, Ruby, etc. etc. etc.
have been open source from the beginning, and don't suffer from the
oft-threatened specter of fragmentation. It simply hasn't happened.
What has happened is that those languages are available on a very
wide range of platforms, and are even capable of being embedded into
another program as a "macro language", thus providing even more
(domain-specific) platforms where knowing the language can be an
asset. Ask yourself what benefits there might be to REBOL if a team
writing the next "killer app" could decide to use REBOL as the built-
in scripting/macro language within that app.
> Of course that does not mean that OSS
> implementations dont have to exist, but just that the main
> implementation is not and that the other one cannot be called Rebol.
> It's the same for Java with Kaffe (for example).
No. Java is a *language*, not an implementation. It is defined by a
specification, which makes it possible to check whether any specific
*implementation* (Sun's JDK, Kaffe, Jikes, Blackdown, etc. etc.)
correctly implements that spec.
Of course the holder of a trademarked language name for a language
with a published spec is perfectly within rights to insist that the
name only be used with implementations which conform to the spec.
This is *not* parallel to the case of R# and REBOL. REBOL is an
implementation, without a publicly available specification. That
means that any effort to create another implementation is based on
inferences, guesswork, etc. etc. etc. and can't be guaranteed to
match precisely the behavior of the implementation from RT.
Are the current limits on number of global words, depth of recursion,
etc. actually part of the "hypothetical spec" of REBOL, or are they
just limits of the current implementation? If the R# team guessed
right on everything else, but allowed more global words or deeper
recursion, would that be "correct"? Who's to say?
Most of the recent discussions re open source are irrelevant, and
there have been many assertions made which are simply contrary to
REBOL isn't open source because the creator/owner has decided not
to do that. Period. And he has a perfect right to choose how to
make the fruit of his labors available to the rest of us.
However, if we're going to discuss the pros and cons of open source
in an attempt to persuade him to change his mind, or to persuade
others on the list that his choice had general benefits, we need to
stick to the facts and look at what has actually happened in the
arena of open-sourced languages.
Joel Neely joelDOTneelyATfedexDOTcom 901-263-4446
Enron Accountingg in a Nutshell: 1c=$0.01=($0.10)**2=(10c)**2=100c=$1