This is an interesting issue that I run into myself with the packages that I sell. Once you get to the scale the Sublime Text has, there will always be edge cases and systems that things crash weirdly on. At a certain point, you just can't support everyone. I can even keep up with email support issues for my packages, and I know that a small fraction of ST users use SFTP or SVN. This is hugely magnified with Sublime Text.
There are over 1.3M unique IPs that have performed package install or upgrade operations with Package Control. The most popular package has over 300,000 install operations. Let's presume 10% of people reinstall. There are probably at least 250k unique Zen Coding users. Not everyone who uses Sublime Text installs Zen Coding. So there are probably at least 400k+ users using Sublime Text.
At this scale, it gets really hard to keep your head above water. Jon has clearly been working on the issue - he's hired at least two people recently. But hiring good people takes time, and everyone wants their pet issue addresses with the editor. Sometimes those issues are people bending the intended functionality. Sometimes it is because someone has a corrupted library on their machine, or they are running an unstable graphics driver. Or some graphics vendor released a buggy version that interacts with the usage of OpenGL in a weird way. Or people are running in on an operating system that is 12 years old (Windows XP).
So one of the loudest voices in the community is the package maintainers and the users push them for more features. Sublime Text needed a number of architectural changes to fix lots of the issues. ST3 fixed all sort of little things that aren't worth my time reporting, but were slightly broken. On Arch Linux resizing ST2 could result in small black pixel corruption during the resize operation in the sidebar. Similarly, the empty space on the right edge of the editor when resizing would have a mozaic of colors as it was being re-drawn. These are both fixed in ST3. The Python API was updated to a version that will be supported beyond October of this year. Oh, and he had to wait until Python 3.3 was released or otherwise it would have been much more difficult to get packages working on both ST2 and ST3. Lots of people use SublimeCodeIntel (130k), so people clearly want to be able to have better insight into their code and to jump around it better. To be able to accomplish that, it is likely he had to change some of the architecture of the editor.
So, there are tons of issues going on. As a software author, should he sacrifice what hundreds of thousands of users want and instead spend his time personally responding to every user who is pushing the limits of what Sublime Text can or would do? From a business standpoint, probably not. I know it can be frustrating as an end user. There have been times where it has taken me months to get an email response about questions.
Let's then take a step back and think about this $70 worth of software ($59 + $15 if you bought ST2 before a month or so ago). Does the software save you the time to be worth $74? Can you get a better editing experience elsewhere for less or more money? My guess is that if you are taking the time to post here, you like Sublime Text 2 and see benefits from it, but obviously it is lacking in a few areas. Are you really upset over paying another $15 (three coffees) for a years worth of updates? Do the economics of the exchange make sense? Have you spent more than $15 of your time posting on this issue about how you don't want to pay for updates that are clearly fixing bugs?
I am not saying you are wrong to expect support, and I have a strong feeling that Jon (like myself) wants to provide the best support he can. It may just be that Jon is working on trying to scale out his company to provide that, while keeping his head above water and not losing the commercial opportunity he has with Sublime Text. As someone providing support, I know it constantly weighs on me that I can't provide perfect support and fix the issues everyone has with my open source and commercial software. Unfortunately we are all human and can only accomplish so much.
So yeah, we should have this conversation, but we should also take a hard look at the details of the issues and see if our expectations are reasonable and if our response is reasonable. Does your decision to not use ST3 make sense for you? Probably? Does the decision for Jon to forge ahead with ST3 make sense? Seems like it does. Make this just isn't the right fit for now. Perhaps when ST3 is more stable and Jon has managed to scale his company out more, it will be a better time and you will feel comfortable with the financial exchange and committing your time and effort with the editor.
I also want to make it clear that I don't have any insight into Jon's business, and this is all conjecture on my part. The issue just spoke to me because I feel like I am headed down the same path due to a lack of resources and time. I don't want to reach the point where most users don't get email support, but I am still trying to figure out how to do it all. Right now my current course of sleeping 4 hours a night keeping up with my day job, community work and commercial packages is not sustainable. But I will figure it out one way or another.
Thank you for the detailed response and for taking the time to write such a reply.
I can certainly understand that a person can't scale to such a large number of users. Email will kill you one way or another, but the decision to stop updating ST2 isn't something I agree with. Even if I pay for the ST3 update, I still don't have an ST version without the bugs of ST2 and without the current bugs of ST3. I don't want to hope that ST3 will come in and be 100% bug free. That's because it's absolutely certain it won't and those bugs which aren't fixed when ST3 final is released will only get fixed in ST4 and so on.
Let's say I'm selling Foo Bar. I've sold 1 million copies of Foo Bar. Then people started to report some bugs. I ignore most of these people and go on to build Foo Bar 2.0. Foo Bar 2.0 is the next best thing, better than anything on the planet. BUT, I don't offer any updates to those 1 million people who've bought 1.0. They do run into bugs which they don't encounter with any other software. I decide to ignore them and just march on with my Foo Bar 2.0.
People will start trying to get in touch with me. "Hey, dude, what's going on with Foo Bar 1.1 / 1.01? I'm having this problem and it's totally ruining my day" They have absolutely no idea I've sold 1 million copies. I didn't tell anyone. Every single person waits forever for a reply. They just don't care about the product any more and start looking for alternatives. People start saying "yeah, forget about Foo Bar, the developer never answers their email and support is NULL". Then people start talking about how bad I am and that I don't offer support. It's enough to have 10000 people annoyed because I didn't provide them with support in less than 4 months to lose a lot of sales in the future - when people switch, they usually wish you good riddance and never look back.
It wouldn't be their problem that I'm not capable to hire people to work for me and to provide support and other services. They've paid for something and they wish to have bugs fixed. Otherwise we'd all be using disposable phones, computers and all sorts of devices - these are things meant to be maintained and kept around for a while.
Personally, I'm starting to hate ST2 and everything about it. I've lost data because it can't handle a lot of output - it insists on keeping all output data in its buffer. Obviously, this kills it after a while and your processes might crash.
All the problems I've run into were variations and combinations of slow unresponsive interface when having a large number of files in the editor, crashes, various errors and many others I've forgotten about.
I don't care about those bloody 15/20/30 USD or whatever. Everybody keeps mentioning the money for the upgrade. The real problem is that the stable version of ST gets NO SUPPORT AT ALL, ZERO, NOTHING.
If I pay right now for ST3 and I get a license for ST2 and ST3, I run into a bug I can always reproduce with the STABLE ST2 and ST3 keeps crashing for me like for others, how exactly does the fact that I've paid that amount of money make a difference?
Also, as a paying customer, what else am I getting over the pirate who downloaded ST2 / ST3 beta from somewhere? I'm getting nothing more - I get the exact same software with 0 updates.
So, the problem is the lack of updates. Even if I pay to get the new version, I still don't get a piece of software without that many bugs right now.
ST3 will suffer the exact same fate as ST2. jps will release ST4 beta in January-February next year and ST3 will be dead forever, just like ST2 is now.
As for the hardware problems you've brought up just like other people before, I've tested ST2 on many configurations. I've tried it out on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. You can bet I've had pretty much the exact same problems. It's quite absurd that 3 operating systems would all have the exact same flaws or that the hardware would be broken to cause the exact same problem only for a single piece of software.
I honestly hope someone will start working on an open source ST alternative. It's really sad that there's no good open source alternative and people have to live with BUGS and DEFECTS. Everybody is at the mercy of a single guy who might get bitten by a venomous snake, hit by a bus or slip on his bathroom floor....
frou wrote: davejones wrote:
frou wrote:Being at the mercy of a Nice-But-Closed-Source editor is a phenomenon that was well established by TextMate.
It's situations like this that give open source advocates justification to point and laugh.
It keeps going on even after it's been open sourced. They've disabled issues on github for textmate 2.
I don't get your point. A venue to plead to be heard is nothing compared to being empowered to make progress yourself.
All I'm saying is that us ST2 owners can be annoyed but we shouldn't be surprised. There's tons of precedent for this phenomenon in software, and the balance of power is worth factoring in to all present and future decisions.
I certainly hope an open source alternative comes up. I'd gladly support it financially and in any other possible way.