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Lessons Learned After Following Rebol for 12 Years

LESSON - Proprietary Languages Suck
"All non-Free software is a dead end."
It's not about money, it's about freedom. (Ok, and money too)
As an ISP in 1994, I had nearly a 1000 customers willing to pay me $1/hour to surf the net on 14.4 and 28.8 dial-up modems. But as the competition grew, internet access became more and more of a commodity. Clients fled to "unlimited" dial-up for $20/month.. then even less.
12 years ago it was possible to get away with charging outrageous fees (by today's standards) for what is essentially a tool.
I paid Rebol Tech over $1000.00 for an unlimited command license for one of my products, only to have that product no longer supported months later. Great. (Don't get me wrong, I did ok.. as I mentioned, I've earned over $100K using Rebol.. did you hear that youngDeveloper?)
However, those days are looong gone. Rebol has way too much competition now.
RT still charges $149.00 USD for /command.. with it's ODBC and Encryption...
Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. I can't iterate enough how absurd that makes the company look. (see "lumbering dinosaur above").
Until RT.. well lets just say it.. Until Carl wakes up, Rebol is doomed to perpetual obscurity.
(Pulled from the archive.. more relevant today then ever)

posted by:   Yuri     17-Dec-2013/13:10:46-8:00

Hi Yuri, I'm sorry to hear, again after all this time, that your wounds are so deep. If you have any useful interest in Rebol, I'm sure you could put your talents to work helping move forward the open source version of R3, or perhaps Red. Both projects have liberal licences, and nothing is keeping anyone from making progress. There's lots of work to be done for anyone interested in seeing either tool become more practical. Otherwise, it may be time to lick your wounds, heal, and move on :)

posted by:   Nick     17-Dec-2013/14:44:21-8:00

Hi Yuri, I presume as you are returning to this forum that you are at least in agreement with those of us here that Rebol has an enduring quality that is absent elsewhere. Perhaps your lesson(s?) is correct and that proprietary languages are doomed—I guess we'll see if it is more relevant because Rebol has been free for a year (as has its precocious little brother Red since conception). As you clearly harbor strong feelings about where Rebol should be, why not join the effort to make it so?

posted by:   Chris     17-Dec-2013/20:29:37-8:00

I myself never objected to the money part. If I had a strong need for it for myself, I would need one copy and the price wasn't terribly high. If I needed it for work, I could get them to pay for it, IF, I could make the case that the product was well documented, well supported, updated regularly, things like that. But I couldn't.
With that as my official "story," I actually am using R2 a lot at work because once one gets used to it, it is quick and easy to do useful stuff. I am not sure at this time what I am going to tell them when I retire and leave all that behind.

posted by:   Steven White     17-Dec-2013/20:34:59-8:00

For me, what's exciting about the direction of new Rebol is everything that's happening with Saphirion R3 and R3-GUI. I spoke with Cyphre this week about funding a port to Javascript (via Emscripten), which would allow us to run R3 and R3 GUI apps directly in any modern web browser. It looks like that should be doable within the first quarter of 2014. I'm looking forward to being able to develop full web apps, with graphics, GUI, and all, which run anywhere, on any device, using our simple little Rebol language.

posted by:   Nick     18-Dec-2013/10:50:45-8:00

That's a far cry from being a "dead end", or lumbering dinosaur tech :)

posted by:   Nick     18-Dec-2013/10:51:13-8:00

BTW, Yuri, I agree that the first thing most potential users likely see, the current rebol.com site, may not be helping Rebol's cause. The fact that old proprietary R2 licenses are still available for $150+ doesn't give the best first impression. But I won't fault Carl for leaving that there - I just saw someone asking on AltMe where to buy them. If Carl is still earning income that way, he deserves every cent.
The fact that that income model is reminiscent of old times doesn't change what Carl achieved with Rebol: a well designed development platform based on truly unique concepts and with a truly unique goal - simple solutions to common problem domains. The idea of using simple and consistent structures for a wide range of language problems (series constructs for strings, list data structures, file and network ports, etc.), minimal syntax (no extra semi-colons, parentheses, quotes, etc.), complex data types, parse instead of regex, and not just a few examples of dialects to solve common problems (i.e., GUI), but an entire approach to writing code which has proved to be a uniquely concise, effective, compact, and Different way to see and solve development problems in common domains.
The fact that Rebol wasn't as successful commercially as it could have been, is mostly do to marketing errors, and especially the fact that Carl disappeared and basically abandoned a community of developers for long periods of time, while the only available option was a closed source commercial tool. He's made up for that though, by providing an open source R3 project, which has been picked up by Saphirion, and which is moving forward dramatically quickly, considering the size of their team (largely relying on Cyphre to release new ports).
It took Cyphre just a few months to release a working Android port, and there is absolutely nothing in the world that can be used to create a wide variety of useful scripts, so simply. That's a testament to Rebol's design. I'm looking forward with a lot of excitement to seeing a Javascript port. I think many new users would be surprised at how effective, simple, and powerful a little Rebol code can be, if we can make it useful in the area of client side web development. Perhaps it's even possible that some future developers will discover the unique potential of Rebol, and continue to add to the toolkit we have available (dialects, libraries, interfaces to other tools, etc.), and some of the untapped potential of the basic design of Rebol will be realized. I think it's worth pursuing - for me, so far at least, it has been :)

posted by:   Nick     18-Dec-2013/11:49:43-8:00

still whining Yury ? go to mommy ....
quoting: (Don't get me wrong, I did ok.. as I mentioned, I've earned over $100K using Rebol.. did you hear that youngDeveloper?)
many young developers are making more than that in a year ;o)

posted by:   stalin     25-Dec-2013/9:07:58-8:00