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Re: promoting LilyPond

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: promoting LilyPond
Date: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 10:33:08 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3.50 (gnu/linux)

Joseph Rushton Wakeling <address@hidden> writes:

> Yes, the processes of contribution-based free software "break" in
> different ways to the processes of commercial proprietary software --
> there are different risks and different benefits.  But the fact is,
> someone using Sibelius now does not have to worry about the product
> being discontinued.  Even if Avid decided to discontinue the product,
> its userbase, brand value and commercial viability would mean that
> someone would step in to buy it.

Uh, the original developers of Sibelius made Avid an offer for buying
Sibelius back.  The offer was turned down.

The situation you are talking of is that of a complete discontinuation
of every developer continuity: what "someone" would be buying would be a
final dump, not a project in development.  Even porting to a different
platform will be difficult.

Betting on Sibelius is nowhere like betting on Microsoft Office on
Windows (which feels more like betting on a race track than on a horse
since if it goes down, it will change how races are done).  It's already
a bouncing ball.

> By contrast, I do worry about what happens to Lilypond if for example
> you find yourself indisposed.  I think we can all agree it would be a
> severe blow. :-)

It would be a blow for its progress but not for its existence.  I fancy
myself to believe that I make a difference regarding where the
equilibrium between maintainability, usability, bit rot, user
experience, releasability and a few other things lies (or rather where
it gravitates quite slowly).

Without me, the equilibrium would likely move differently.  But
hopefully we are nowhere near the state that me quitting would lead to
an unstable situation.

And I have been cited as a reason that scares off new developers, so it
would appear the vacuum would be filled by such new developers stepping
in, and it's to be hoped that they'd be interested enough in maintaining
stability and usability that they'd take care not to go off the deep

Let's not forget that Han-Wen and Jan are basically indisposed (though
available for reference) for most purposes, and that would appear to
have been quite a larger blow that LilyPond got over reasonably well.

Not to mention that Graham left, and it's hard to estimate what the
ultimate cost of that will be, particularly regarding community building
and maintaining.  A good technical lead can't make up for everything:
that's another shift in the equilibrium that happened in the recent

What I am saying is that LilyPond survived a lot, and it survived this
with a reasonable amount of continuity.  A _sale_ of a software without
accompanying infrastructure is not the same.

David Kastrup

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