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Re: SEUL: A problem with volunteered software development

> From:          Michael Slade <mslade@cadre.com.au>
> Subject:       SEUL: A problem with volunteered software development

> I've noticed that the free software phenomenon suffers from a subtle
> kind of selfishness - most of the software out there for Linux - albeit
> with one or two notable exceptions (SEUL being one of them, of course :)
> - is written by the programmers, *for* the programmers.  This still
> results in a lot of great software, but certain areas get left out.
> Educational software seems to be one of them; the recent discussions
> about the lack of educational software make me think.
> How might we counteract this?  How might we encourage more volunteer
> programmers to write their programs with the average computer-illiterate
> Win95-loving user in mind?
> Comments?
> Mick.
I think this is a pretty easy one to scope out. There are only 
two reasons I've noticed that a programmer will work on 
developing a program, either to port or from scratch: love 
and/or money. Most programmers' "love babies" are created because the 
programmer needed that app for some reason or another (Linux itself 
fits into this category). Everything else they generally expect to 
get paid to create. 

I doubt any of us are going to have much luck convencing people to 
create/port a program that they themselves will not benefit from one 
way or another (depending on the good-will efforts of a majority is 
a precarious position). Rather, I believe that the solution to this 
problem (if we can go so far as to call it a problem) lies with the 
software companies themselves. They have to be convinced that they 
will benefit somehow from porting their programs to Linux. I, 
personally, am not sure how they will benefit so I guess I'm not a 
really good spokesperson for it! :)    But that is pretty much the 
only solution. The companies in turn will pay their developers, who 
will then be motivated to contribute.

I hate to sound so mercurail, but these are simply my observations. 
The other end of the stick, of course, is to continue encouraging the 
use of Linux in atmospheres where end-users will start *expecting* 
programs to be available for it -- homes, schools, libraries, etc. 
Again, that will put the pressure on the software companies to port.

KimBoo York
Staff Reporter/On-Line Editor
Waterfront Editor
Watermark Media, Inc.

* NEVER tell me the odds! *
*       -- Han Solo       *