22 Aug 2002 raph   » (Master)

Project death

AaronSw notes the demise of Pepper, a shareware text editor. Apparently, the author is tired of it.

This highlights one of the major differences between proprietary and free software. People lose the motivation to work on projects all the time. But free software projects are like extremely hardy seeds; they can dry up and last a long time, and when a fertile environment comes along, sprout and flourish. When the author has particular rights over the code, a big risk is that it can really die.

The history of ncurses might be illuminating on this subject. Throughout its early history, it's license wasn't quite free, and in fact the original author basically had veto rights. It would be really interesting for someone to do a critical history of this project. There was a lot of strife surrounding it. If you read "Homesteading the Noosphere," it might help to know that ncurses provided much of the background for the discussion.

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