Subject: Re: Order entry application user group
From: kragen@pobox.com (Kragen Sitaker)
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 12:16:50 -0500 (EST)

Brian Bartholemew wrote:
> I think "boring" and "time-consuming" are sufficient to chase away
> volunteer labor, without needing specialized creators or users.  For
> instance, plenty of people have the skills to clone quickbooks, and
> there are plenty of interested users, but nobody is doing it (yes, I
> know about the free quickbooks cloning projects, but they aren't good
> enough for you to use personally, are they?)  And if you aren't
> convinced by that one, there is always tax-preparation software.

The doubters said, "Well, so Stallman wrote a text editor and released
it for free.  But surely nobody would have the time to write real
software and give it away -- say, a C compiler."

And Stallman wrote a C compiler.  It was better than any other C
compiler on the market, on the platforms it supported.  Just for good
measure, Stallman wrote a debugger which was also better than any other
debugger on the market.

And the doubters said, "Well, OK, so there's a C compiler, a debugger,
an editor, and some Unix tools.  These are kind of nice.  But surely
nobody could afford to write a whole full-featured Unix kernel from
scratch and give it away."

And Linus and Alan and David wrote a full-featured Unix kernel from
scratch, and they gave it away.

And a doubter, whose name was Torvalds, said, "Well, writing a Unix
kernel is kind of fun.  But I can't imagine that anyone would write
something boring, like an SQL RDBMS, on a volunteer basis, and give it
away for free."

And some guys got hold of the Postgres95 code and added SQL to it, on a
volunteer basis.  It was an SQL RDBMS, and they gave it away for free.

And the doubters said, "Well, but those are all server-side
applications that programmers are interested in.  It's really much
harder to make an application that is easy for end-users to use, and
it's boring.  Nobody will take the time to do it."

And Spencer and Peter and Quartic wrote the GIMP, which was an
application that was easy for end-users to use.  It was like PhotoShop,
only better.

And the doubters said, "Well, but not many people use PhotoShop anyway,
and something like WordPerfect would be much more difficult and
boring.  Besides, lots of people have tried it and failed.  Nobody
would invest in creating a full-featured word processor and then give
it away for free."

And Paul and Eric wrote AbiWord, which was a full-featured word
processor, and gave it away for free.

And still the doubters would not shut up.

There are always people who believe that what has not been done cannot
be done.  They are usually wrong.