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Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, November 21, 2001. Wednesday, November 21, 2001

People of the Web: What are you thankful for? 

While we've been fussing over Radio 7.1 with our beta group, we've also been getting a new release of Frontier ready to go. It's also called 7.1. Here's a list of the new kernel features in Frontier 7.1. I think it's a really solid point-one release. Lots of new goodies, fixes, performance enhancements, for both Mac and Windows. BTW, all the new stuff from Love Manila Month is included in 7.1 as well. I don't have a list of those yet, but will have one shortly. 

Andrea: "I've passed my last exam. It went much, much better than math, so I'm happy now." 

$830K for Stallman 

Richard Stallman will have a Happy Thanksgiving this year.

Do you work really hard to make good software? I do it every day. Does Stallman push the envelope? I haven't seen any evidence of that. Imho, the economy is still rewarding the wrong people. At one time if you pushed for excellence in software, you could build a nice business. I still believe that. But it's disheartening to see so much money go to support Stallman's theories. I believe this works against software breakthroughs, even software progress.

Something to think about. Would the $830K have been better used to support SourceForge?

Heh -- NTK, what?  

To Danny O'Brien, I see what you're doing. It's hard to argue with what I actually said, so you put words in my mouth and argue with that. Heh. Tricky. Anyway it's true that Stallman doesn't push the envelope. Maybe in the past he did, but now he's pushing something else. When I asked about Sourceforge, I was thinking about the users, the people who run free projects on Sourceforge. And if you think it's a profit-making enterprise, think again. Anyway it's hard to criticize one of the sacred cows of dotcom lunacy, but it used to be harder.

Can open source compete? 

Yesterday I had a long phone talk with the leader of an open source project that's in a similar space to the work I've been calling Hypercard + MORE.

Kevin Altis is the lead developer of the PythonCard project. We compared notes, I explained how I was using the outliner to design complete user interfaces, how that relates to OPML and explained how, if they want to, they can leverage our work.

I liked talking with Kevin, he was part of the Very Early Web, formerly of Intel. He's an engineer and a straight shooter. What was most striking about the conversation was the reality of open source projects after the dust has settled, the hype has subsided, and the ESR theories debunked (fully).

Open source projects are mail lists, not that different from W3C mail lists, or the Syndication or XML-RPC lists. They attract people who like to debate, few if any write code, and those who do are not appreciated or supported. We hit the same limits when we tried to do our development in the open. It wasn't until we focused on what we like to do (make cool software), and viewed users as feedback providers, not politicians or co-developers, that we were able to get back on track.

Then I think of Stallman's $830K. Is anyone giving Altis money or other forms of appreciation for working his butt off? And that much money could fund a small software company like UserLand for two years. It's a lot of money.

Perhaps this can be a theme for Thanksgiving 2001. Let's pay our respects to developers who work for not much love or money, to make the world work better through software.

Bill Gates' Thanksgiving 

NY Times: "With this settlement, Microsoft gets off dirt-cheap," said Eugene Crew, a partner of Townsend & Townsend & Crew, a law firm in San Francisco, "and it helps Microsoft perpetuate its monopoly."

I guess at Thanksgiving dinner, Bill Gates will be thankful that he was able to defeat the Web, bottle it and control it, stuff it in the trunk, lock it and throw away the key.

Thanksgivings of the past 

Soundbites from previous Thanksgiving pieces follow.

1995: "Please don't forget to thank yourself."

1996: "We have a positive heritage. A national sense of humor. We have a thumbs-up, can-do attitude. This holiday is the one where we choose to focus on our best. Everyone wins on Thanksgiving. We're grateful for what we have. We let go of our fear, we make love, and we look forward."

1997: "No one is less deserving on Thanksgiving. Rich people serve food to homeless people. We put aside our normal hierarchy and look for the person, not the bank account, house, car, education, spouses, children."

1998: "Properly done, Thanksgiving is also about giving people a break. Loosen the ties, cut some slack. No one's perfect, even on a major holiday. Of course. Especially not on a major holiday."

1999: "Newbies are people who are trying something new. So it seems pretty clear, if you have a choice, why not be a newbie?"

2000: "A reminder that the world, and the universe that contains it, while vast and mysterious, can also be a lot of fun."


Last update: Friday, November 23, 2001 at 10:16 AM Eastern.

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