openness and ownership, pride and promotion

July 23rd, 2001

Just downloaded ZoneAlarm. They (and others) ask me to select a download point close to me. I choose Canada (the vast 4000-mile breadth of Canada all being ‘closer’ to me than anything in the US, I guess) I’m sure, though, that even though the server may be located a mile away, I’m probably being routed via my ISP by way of Moosejaw, Miami, and Menlo Park before I get there. I might as well have chosen California to get a more direct route.

I saw a posting the other day on a mailing list I frequent, musing about what impact there would be on remote scripting in light of Microsoft’s stated intention to no longer include a JVM with their browser.

I thought it would be helpful to let this guy know that while Microsoft’s Remote Scripting would not work without the JVM, my JSRS remote scripting library would. In case he worried that it may not be up to the task, I ran down a short list of features and said it was in worldwide production use and is free for the taking. I gave URL to get it. No embellishment, no shtick, just the facts.

In his response he chided me for inserting a promotional plug for my library into a mailing list discussion.

I was a bit taken aback by this. There is no benefit to me whatsoever if he uses my library or not. I’ve put a heck of a lot of my own time into building and supporting this thing, and he’s welcome to have it. I have no fragile ego requirement to corner the remote scripting market. So I blasted him to chill out. Various blasting ensued.

Anyhow, that exchange is history, but it leaves me with some thoughts.

What’s different between a project I wrote for myself, found useful and released to others to use with no restriction, and I continue to support for free, and an Open Source project, in that people might see my project as a vehicle for personal enrichment, whereas the open source project might somehow be seen as more charitable and open?

Or maybe I’m just spending too much time analysing one person’s whacked-out opinion.

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