Why Open Source Is A Bad Idea For X2

I've been asked on many occasions if the X2 source is available, and my answer has always been an emphatic No. I feel that open source may be a good idea for a huge project like an operating system, but is not such a good idea for a text editor. Here are my reasons:


Code Bloat

X2 has gotten bigger over the years, actually it's now bigger than I ever expected or wanted it to become. With only one author it can only grow if I let it, and even then there's a limit to how fast I can add code. Opening it up to the world would allow anyone to add their code, and before you know it we'd end up with another Emacs.

The world does not need another Emacs.

Support

If someone else adds code to X2, who gets to support it? What about when that person loses interest and goes off to investigate more interesting pastures?

If I were to publish the source code to X2, I'd have to support the build process in addition to the executable. I've noticed that in newsgroups where an author has published source code, he/she ends up answering "how to build under flavour of the month Unix?" questions almost as often as general usability questions.

Consistency

I've put a lot of thought into keeping the user interface consistent throughout X2, both in the command line interface, general commands, and in the user profile. The best way to maintain that consistency is to continue with a single author.

Versions

There cannot be different versions of X2 as long as the source remains private, apart from the normal release process that is in place now. Less confusion.

Rexx

Rexx is now available on every operating system for which you can get a copy of X2, except for DOS. Either Object Rexx from IBM or freeware Regina may be used. This macro capability gives anyone with even a minimal amount of programming knowledge the ability to extend or modify X2, without needing to wade through tens of thousands of lines of C source code. Granted there are still things that cannot be done through macros; however, for most people's needs the macro interface will suffice.

Ownership

I admit it, X2 is my baby and I selfishly want to keep it.

Blair Thompson, April 15, 2001