24 Nov 2001 rlk   » (Journeyer)

Gimp-Print 4.2 is released!

Gimp-Print 4.2 is finally released. Of course, it took longer than expected; there were the usual last minute bugs.

It has certainly turned out to be a much bigger release than I had planned on, though. My expectation was that we'd clean up a few of the nastier problems in 4.0, prior to moving on to rearchitecting it. What's actually happened is somewhere in between. We didn't redo the color and dither code from scratch, and redesign how metadata is handled, but we did considerably more work than I envisioned. So I suppose that's why it took 13 months rather than 6-9 months. Was it worth it? Probably. Is 4.2 a good release? I certainly think so.

Dave Winer doesn't care for Richard Stallman

There are a number of things about this article in Scripting News that rub me the wrong way:

  • The claim that Stallman doesn't push the envelope. Exactly what does Stallman have to do to be taken seriously as a developer? I mean, he's only been the principal architect behind multiple versions of Emacs, the driving force behind gcc, the GNU project in general (which may be an indirect derivative of UNIX, but the tools are much better), and who knows how much else that I can't think of. Does he have to produce some grandiose new piece of software, ab initio, every year? I read an article in Circuit Cellar (which focuses heavily on embedded development) that was an introduction to the GNU toolchain. It sure seems like a lot of people in the embedded space like a compiler that's identical across so many platforms.

  • Open source projects are essentially open debating societies. I guess this one really sticks in my craw, because I've put no small amount of effort into building Gimp-Print into a real project. People do real stuff, be it coding or documentation, it gets into the source base, and people work together to improve things. KDE, meanwhile, does something truly amazing: they release a couple of major versions of a whole desktop environment, with applications, each year. And let's not forget the likes of Debian. Meanwhile, I think we've all heard of or seen plenty of commercial projects dissolve into bickering.

  • His evident resentment that Stallman won the Takeda Award. I guess RMS did something that the Takeda Foundation liked enough.

I get the feeling that there are a fair number of people out there who think that if you aren't out to make money, you should stand aside for people who are. Certainly Microsoft is explicit enough about that, but then there are family members who think I'm insane for not patenting (!) Gimp-print and making a fortune (!!) out of it. I guess the thought of actually wanting to give something back to the community doesn't cross people's minds.

Free software isn't going to destroy programmer's livelihoods. Maybe it will make it harder for people who want to turn out shovelware and make a quick buck, but somehow that doesn't bother me. Programmers should applaud the fact that they don't have to keep reinventing the wheel, and can build on the work (reciprocally) others do. Instead, people keep angling for barriers they can raise against competition. The success of software is measured by how rich it can make a handful of proprietors.

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