[aprssig] open vs. closed in ham radio (was: Is WXSVR Permanently Defunct???)

Steve Dimse steve at dimse.com
Wed Jul 29 11:12:39 CDT 2009

On Jul 29, 2009, at 10:29 AM, Jason KG4WSV wrote:

> I think maybe you grossly _under_estimate the value of _releasing_  
> the code.

It is a matter of opinion, but I maintain for small projects created  
and maintained by a single person it has little value. The successful  
open source projects have teams and sometimes even corporate support.  
When a single author open source project loses its maintainer, it  
rarely gets picked up by another person. The ones that do are most  
often complex systems. In the time it takes someone to understand  
Dale's code they could probably have written their own, which would be  
easier to maintain. People don't often create meaningful forks on  
small projects either.

Believe me, this is one of the few times I wish I was wrong. There are  
now multiple open source findU-like databases out there. I wish one  
would gain some steam and become so compelling that traffic on findU  
would drop to the point I could walk away. Instead traffic on findU  
continues to climb, averaging 1.6 million pages views a day for June.

Passing it off to a private party has not worked for me either. A few  
years ago a ham club got together, made collections to buy a new  
server. The idea was I would train a guy to run it, and eventually I  
could move on. The first guy never began the process. Then I went  
through three other people, spending twenty to fifty hours each, and  
all drifted away pretty quickly.

> What I really don't understand is why the author wouldn't want to
> release it, when he's been providing the service to the community
> anyway.  And this is what others have been saying - not that they have
> a right, or even that the author should release it; they, like me,
> wonder: why wouldn't he?

I can't see a reason either. Ongoing support for findU is provided for  
in my will, though under private management. But just because neither  
of us can think of a reason does not mean the author does not have  
one, that he needs one, or he needs to provide one to us. I've said  
many times I do not understand Roger's decision, but I will defend  
vigorously his right to make it. The same applies to Dale's decision.

Steve K4HG

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