Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sat 5th May 2007 20:27 UTC, submitted by Sébastien Jeudy
General Development To celebrate the 1000th article of the magazine Obligement, Carl Sassenrath returns through this long interview on its origins at Amiga Inc. in the 1980's (Manager of AmigaOS and Amiga CDTV system development, among others), the bankruptcy of Commodore, its passages at Apple Computer and Viscorp, Amiga NG, or on its new revolutionary language REBOL. A classic name in the Silicon Valley!
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RE[3]: Well..
by -pekr- on Sun 6th May 2007 11:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Well.."
-pekr-
Member since:
2006-03-28

Thanks for your opinion, renox. I am long time Rebol supporter and I would not like this tread to look like rebol loyal community member all defending Rebol in most possible ways :-)

But, back to your point. I am not sure money is the reason to keep the core closed source, or at least not the only one. And if so, you are right that it would be more honest for RT to admit it. However - to provide you with another perspective. Rebol is a bit different language (as functional languages tend to be :-), and when new member joins rebol community, we can see the typical questions - why it does not do it that way? Simply put - I remember Carl stating, that he put long years of thought into Rebol, and having it open sourced NOW could mean "contamination" of ideas by users not understanding his ideas properly, and makeing Rebol something different. You simply has to put the thingy into some few months usage, to actually think "the Rebol way".

So, for me R3 is definitely the step in the right direction - platform independent (easily recompillable) core is going to be kept private, the rest is simply becoming open-sourced. Fair enough to me. Later on, some +x years RT might eventually decide to open even core, who knows.

OTOH, sometimes the OS arguments sound funny to me, as one of my friends told me - hey, it is not open-sourced, I don't want to use it. I asked him, how often does he download php or python sources, or if he is able to eventually patch it himself - after some thought his answer was - well, I never download source nor am I able to fix things myself :-)

The community might be small, but is very friendly and open. Connect to AltME private chat, and you get your answers in minutes. From time to time you can chat with Carl himself, that is both educative and encouraging. Carl listens to every possible idea, he is a smart guy.

Well, someone mentioned docs, wxWidgets - well, we might wrap to those too, it was just not done yet. But look e.g. into community alternative UI, called RebGUI:

http://www.dobeash.com/rebgui.html

some screenshots of my custom colored/shaped RebGUI:
http://www.jablunkovsko.cz/pekr/rebgui-screenshot1.jpg
http://www.jablunkovsko.cz/pekr/rebgui-screenshot2.jpg

It provides developer with some fine detailed docs too ...

cheers & sorry for longish post ...
-pekr-

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Well..
by whartung on Sun 6th May 2007 15:37 in reply to "RE[3]: Well.."
whartung Member since:
2005-07-06

Simply put - I remember Carl stating, that he put long years of thought into Rebol, and having it open sourced NOW could mean "contamination" of ideas by users not understanding his ideas properly, and makeing Rebol something different.


But, see, even if it were open source, it doesn't corrupt his vision. Just because someone can build, modify or even fork a project, doesn't mean that the original vision is corrupted. As long as the original visionary is working on his project, his vision is intact. If someone decides to take off and run with it, how does that hurt the original vision?

If I come out with "Willbol", a REBOL derivative, does that hurt REBOL? Or if "Willbol" makes some change that is against the vision of the original creator, yet somehow manages to explode the adoption of REBOL (Willbol) 1000%, is that bad?

Most folks don't hack the cores of languages. Most folks download and use them. They'd rather do other things than write languages.

But, by letting folks poke around in the source, the ideas and concepts that make up the vision actually get more exposure. Not only are these things documented in white papers and power point slides, they're implemented. You can't improve a white paper, but you can improve an implementation.

OSS the implementation does not hurt the implementation. It can be OSS without having to take commits from every Tom, Dick and Harry. If Tom, Dick, or Harry is that passionate about their commit or change, they'll fork it. But I haven't seen that done with any of the major languages save for reimplementations on the JVM.

But with a closed source implementation, of course, he'll get nothing back from the community on how to improve the implementation.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Well..
by chaosvoyager on Thu 10th May 2007 01:26 in reply to "RE[4]: Well.."
chaosvoyager Member since:
2005-07-06

But, see, even if it were open source, it doesn't corrupt his vision. Just because someone can build, modify or even fork a project, doesn't mean that the original vision is corrupted. As long as the original visionary is working on his project, his vision is intact. If someone decides to take off and run with it, how does that hurt the original vision?


The entire purpose of a language is to communicate ideas. If too many variations of a language exist, then it becomes impossible to use it to reliably communicate, unless you have a reliable way to communicate what those changes are. Rinse, lather, repeat. Vision has nothing to do with it. A language designer must have some way of protecting the INTEGRITY of their language.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to submit REBOL 3.0 to ECMA for standardization at some point, but even that is not foolproof, because the most ubiquitous distribution will always win. For example, we still have plenty of websites that use IE specific code despite the existing standard, just because it is more widespread on the devices they are targeting.

Every language I know of that has been 'sold' commercially has failed. This is why we're not all using Smalltalk at this point ;) . A programming language itself, while valuable, is not something most people will buy, and such markets remain small, and marginalize the language.

Reply Parent Score: 1