Friday, June 20, 2008

Why "Lone Ranger" programming will never work.

Recently I got an e-mail from someone interested in video editors, pointing me to a novel video editor in the works.

The problem: The thing's written in [obscure programming language which is neither Python nor C++]. Oh, you didn't know there was a programming language called [obscure], right? See, THAT's the problem.

I'll quote some text from the other programmer (I'll rephrase all paragraphs to protect the innocent from Google searches):
Basically I'm sick tired of having a non-working video editor and a lot of novel ideas that other editors lack. And I've rewritten it so many times that I've got to get this off my head.
All those four years I haven't been programming because of school. But this year might allow me to start working on [editor] again.
Later, I read:
Lately I’ve realized that programming takes too much time from my life.... I almost made it work... I’m not a programmer. Programming in [obscure programming language] is my hobby, not my profession. I don’t get any money from it. It's a problem when programming takes about 80% of my time and I don't have time left for normal activities ... my projects will be put on hiatus. Feel free to ask me for rights to commit to the subversion of [editor]. You can take over the project for now. I hope I’ll get back to programming [editor] with a little more peace of mind after next year [written on December 2007].

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why the Lone Ranger approach to Open Source programming WILL NEVER WORK. Do you have the slightest idea why so many Sourceforge projects are abandoned? It's like the Open Source Project cemetery. Well here's the reason: Those projects had NO programming teams.

I absolutely refuse to work on a hobby project if I have to do it myself, with tools I have to write myself because there are non-existing tools for an esoteric programming language (let alone a binding to [ famous multimedia library ] ).

Perhaps you'll understand now why I chose to use C++ and wxWidgets. There are at least 10 C++ programmers for every [obscure programming language] programmer. And there are at least 10 Windows users for every Linux user. If I'm going to have a programming team and a live project, I better use things where I can recruit most volunteers.

After all, a Non-Linear Video Editor is not something you can make in your garage.

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