16 Aug 2005 cinamod   » (Master)

I've grown a bit annoyed at a certain MacOS competitor of - er, i mean "partner" of - AbiWord's that shall rename nameless for now.

This company has re-molded AbiWord's import/export capabilities into a standalone program. (Unlike one of their competitors still allegedly illegally using GPL'd wvWare after several C&D letters, $company does this in order to comply with the GPL, and kindly publishes their modifications to the AbiWord sources necessary to build this standalone program.)

Because Abi does such a good job of import/export, supports so many formats, and can competently speak RTF, $company can focus on just dealing with their core competencies - namely producing a nice MacOSX Word Processor. And from what I've seen, they have a very nice product. It's very well integrated with the MacOS environment, with quite the attention to detail. Import/export was just a mundane detail that they shouldn't have to pay attention to. This is how OSS is supposed to work.

However, there's a gotcha. There's always a gotcha. $company has been submitting bugs up to our bugzilla, which is a nice thing to do as it improves both our products. But their rep has a habit of geting a little crotchity if we don't attend to these issues quickly, as if we were somehow obliged to. (In his defense, I'm not exactly the nicest person you'll run across in a bugzilla.) It seems that they're willing to "work around" complex problems in their own code rather than even attempt to identify or fix the problem inside of Abi. It's as though they have some allergy to having their programmers fix bugs in what's substantively their own product.

There is no support contract in place. There is no "help" from them other than these bug reports. As far as I know, we're not even publicly getting credit for being "the man behind the man", so to speak. Yet, some of their developers are comfortable stating in their blogs that were are in a "partnership" with them. I ask - what partnership do they speak of? I'm not aware of it, and I'm allegedly 1/2 of this partnership.

I don't mind helping out. And I (usually) don't mind fixing bugs in my product. I sincerely appreciate these bug reports - Abi is a much better product because of it. I do mind being cajoled for not doing fixing things quickly enough by a company who is making money from my product (and worse still, not passing any of it down the food chain). If you want to call this a partnership, contract with some Abi devs to fix the bugs. Or "donate" some of your programmers' time to fixing these problems. Partnership means both sides helping each other toward a common goal. And so far, this has been a one-way street.

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