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Sublime's future and open source

Sublime's future and open source

Postby tack on Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:48 am

I first stumbled upon Sublime Text today, and my very first reaction was "wow, sexy!" And then my second reaction, not very long afer the first, was "eww, it's not open source." That's not because I have any particular aversion to paying for software, or even closed source software (although I generally avoid it if there are OSS alternatives, I'm not a zealot about it), but rather more a fear about the long-term sustainability of the project.

We all know that for a person who spends hours a day hacking code, switching editors requires a massive investment in time, including opportunity costs in lost productivty during the transition, especially if you've been well settled into your editor/IDE of choice for a decade or longer.

I'm definitely liking ST, but for closed source software with a single author, it's hard not to worry about what would become of months or years worth of investment into a new workflow if the author let the software languish (for lack of time, or interest, or family or medical issues, there could be a million reasons) or was otherwise unable to develop it (the canonical hit-by-a-bus example).

I've know the author has written in the past that he would opensource it rather than see it rot in the bit graveyard, so I'm more worried about the hit-by-a-bus scenario, or even if we disagreed about what "languishing" meant (e.g. the latest version required an obsolete OS to run).

Are there provisions in place for these concerns, or are we obligated to take the non-trivial risk that a substantial investment into a new coding workflow could be for naught if tragedy strikes?

Thanks!
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Re: Sublime's future and open source

Postby S0und on Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:59 am

Have fun with Notepad++ !
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Re: Sublime's future and open source

Postby iamntz on Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:29 am

I'm more worried about the hit-by-a-bus scenario

Good to see these kind of good thoughts for Jon! :shock:
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Re: Sublime's future and open source

Postby quarnster on Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:40 am

He's referring to the seemingly very low bus factor of Sublime Text 2 (i.e. 1) which can take many forms not necessarily involving a bus.
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Re: Sublime's future and open source

Postby iamntz on Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:44 am

I guess the only thing that will make Jon to NOT open source in case he's get bored with ST will actually be a bus. Literally!
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Re: Sublime's future and open source

Postby Fault on Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:38 pm

There's no reason to make it open source at the moment. Sure, open sourced software is brilliant, and it is great among similar communities as the one surrounding Sublime Text, but this has clearly become a full-time venture for Jon, and having to convert to open-source development cycles will probably not be sustainable, or particularly productive for achieving his key goals for Sublime text.
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Re: Sublime's future and open source

Postby tack on Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:02 pm

Fault wrote:There's no reason to make it open source at the moment. Sure, open sourced software is brilliant, and it is great among similar communities as the one surrounding Sublime Text, but this has clearly become a full-time venture for Jon, and having to convert to open-source development cycles will probably not be sustainable, or particularly productive for achieving his key goals for Sublime text.

To be clear, I'm not really asking for ST to be open sourced right now. I appreciate it's probably an important source of income for the author. And honestly, I'm happy to pay for it.

I guess the "provisions" I was talking about was more like instructions left in a will or some other legal document that can allow for ST to be opensourced under certain conditions.

iamntz wrote:Good to see these kind of good thoughts for Jon! :shock:

I don't understand this reaction. Do you think I'm wishing for this to happen? Is the topic so awkward that we can't even discuss it? I think it's reasonable to consider these scenarios.

Suspend disbelief for a moment and imagine if the Linux kernel was closed source and Linus was the sole author. Nobody would be worried about the bus factor with Linus? In many ways a kernel is more easily replaceable for me than a text editor I use for hours every day. We can we talk about the bus factor for Linus but not for Jon? If anything, it's a compliment. :)
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Re: Sublime's future and open source

Postby Mr_Nobody on Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:47 pm

This gets discussed fairly often. It's more or less just a risk you have to take to use ST2.


tack wrote: In many ways a kernel is more easily replaceable for me than a text editor I use for hours every day.

I agree completely with that. Switching between OSX, Linux/freeBSD, and Windows is relatively easy for me, but switching between TextMate/TextPad and Sublime took a lot longer.
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Re: Sublime's future and open source

Postby skarkkai on Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:04 am

Tack's point is an essential one also for me. I don't have a problem paying for software, but switching one's coding editor is a big commitment of time. If I were to switch to Sublime Text, I'd need better assurance that if the author (or some other party) for any reason stops developing it (for my OS), it'll be open sourced. That might not ensure its development continues, but it'd at least allow me to keep using it for as long as I want, across OS upgrades. As it is, it seems safer to stick to my current editors, inferior as they might be per se.

Authors of Sublime Text: give this assurance on the web site, and you'll win a new customer right away.
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Re: Sublime's future and open source

Postby quarnster on Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:49 am

Not a commitment for your OS (whatever that might be), but a comment of rather seeing it opensourced than abandoned was made by jps
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