Subject: Re: libre end-user apps
From: Kragen <kragen@dnaco.net>
Date: Sat, 29 Nov 1997 04:40:03 -0500 (EST)

On Thu, 27 Nov 1997, L. Peter Deutsch wrote:
> In my '96 paper, I argued that polished end-user applications cannot be
> developed on the libre model, because the cost is so high (much higher than
> the cost of developing system-like software) and the rewards to the
> developers are negligible.  [snip]

You've probably posted before about this paper, but I'm not familiar with
it, and I'd like to read it.  What is it called, and how can I get a copy?

I probably would have agreed with you until about two years ago.  Since
then, though, I've seen:
- Tkman (which, admittedly, is not purely libre -- it's under the
	new-style Berkeley license, much like the AFPL), 
- Lynx, 

- Pine (which was purely libre until very recently, but no longer is),
- vim

all of which seem to be polished, end-user applications to me.  And, of
course, the GIMP, which is the example you cited.  As far as I know, most
of these were developed primarily by one or two people.

I guess, though, I'm a little fuzzy on what you mean by 'end-user
applications'.  These are the things I usually do with my computer: 
communicate, browse the Web, write text documents. I directly use these
pieces of software to do these things.

I also play with my computer, to make it do new things (color graphs, look
up phone numbers, silly things) or to make it more pleasant to work with
(Afterstep, Enlightenment, KDE, shell aliases, etc.)  Are these end-user
applications?

> To my mind, the most interesting model of libre software development -- and
> the only one that will be able to take the next step, to competing in the
> producing of end-user applications -- is one in which no single developer
> has to pay this subsidy: i.e., a model in which there are many developers
> each doing a small amount of work.

Agreed.

Kragen