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digitalmars.D - The economics of D

reply Bill Baxter <dnewsgroup billbaxter.com> writes:
One thing that just keeps churning in back of my mind is "how does 
Walter do it?"  Given the frantic pace of updates he must be devoting 
almost all his time to D.  But D must generate next to no revenue.  And 
selling DMC or EUP CDs can't be a huge profit center these days, either. 
  I doubt the google ad words on the Digitalmars pages generate much 
revenue either.

On the one hand I know it's really none of my business how DigitalMars 
stays afloat, but for both current and potential D users, I think 
knowing whether D is sufficiently well-funded to stay in it for the 
long-haul *is* relevant.

I don't even really care how it's funded, but it would be nice to hear a 
reassuring "there's nothing to worry about" from someone in the know.

--bb
Dec 19 2007
parent reply Sean Kelly <sean f4.ca> writes:
Bill Baxter wrote:
 
 I don't even really care how it's funded, but it would be nice to hear a 
 reassuring "there's nothing to worry about" from someone in the know.

If Walter were having trouble paying the bills, I imagine he'd be spending more time on paying work. As it is, I believe he's in a situation where this isn't a concern. Sean
Dec 19 2007
parent reply Bill Baxter <dnewsgroup billbaxter.com> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 Bill Baxter wrote:
 I don't even really care how it's funded, but it would be nice to hear 
 a reassuring "there's nothing to worry about" from someone in the know.

If Walter were having trouble paying the bills, I imagine he'd be spending more time on paying work. As it is, I believe he's in a situation where this isn't a concern.

As it is maybe, but what about the future? DigitalMars must not be rolling in dough, at least, or else Walter could hire some helpers rather than doing everything himself. One thing that concerns me is that the big corporate benefactor that has swooped in to help other open source languages may never arrive on the scene for D. But maybe the big corporate benefactors like Google and O'Reilly haven't been as important to the continued evolution and success of Python/Perl/Ruby as I'm thinking. --bb
Dec 19 2007
parent reply John Reimer <terminal.node gmail.com> writes:
Bill Baxter wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 Bill Baxter wrote:
 I don't even really care how it's funded, but it would be nice to 
 hear a reassuring "there's nothing to worry about" from someone in 
 the know.

If Walter were having trouble paying the bills, I imagine he'd be spending more time on paying work. As it is, I believe he's in a situation where this isn't a concern.

As it is maybe, but what about the future? DigitalMars must not be rolling in dough, at least, or else Walter could hire some helpers rather than doing everything himself. One thing that concerns me is that the big corporate benefactor that has swooped in to help other open source languages may never arrive on the scene for D. But maybe the big corporate benefactors like Google and O'Reilly haven't been as important to the continued evolution and success of Python/Perl/Ruby as I'm thinking. --bb

I think he'll do fine, perhaps better in some ways without such wealthy benefactors. D has lasted this long against all odds: in fact, I think D has literally bucked the trends, considering it has only an individual backing it. As to his personal financial situation, I accept that as being his business, since he has never felt the need to share it :). One advantage to a lack of outside subsidizing is that D is not controlled by these external forces (at least, not that I know of :) ). Mostly, I think D seems to depend on the fan element for it's viral effect, kind of a slow pervasive bubbling from the bottom up rather than coercion from the top (companies) down. To me D represents another unusual and atypical movement much like Linux was for it's time. D likely will follow a similar, albeit slow, growth curve. I doubt that D is particularly comparable to any other "hot" language such that we can otherwise predict its outcome. -JJR
Dec 19 2007
parent reply dan <murpsoft hotmail.com> writes:
John Reimer Wrote:
 One advantage to a lack of outside subsidizing is that D is not 
 controlled by these external forces (at least, not that I know of :) ).

Rare and valuable in this day and age.
 Mostly, I think D seems to depend on the fan element for it's viral 
 effect, kind of a slow pervasive bubbling from the bottom up rather than 
 coercion from the top (companies) down.  To me D represents another 
 unusual and atypical movement much like Linux was for it's time.  D 
 likely will follow a similar, albeit slow, growth curve.  I doubt that D 
 is particularly comparable to any other "hot" language such that we can 
 otherwise predict its outcome.

My only major concern lies in that d isnt open source and is therefore bound to walter. if he goes, so does D. Maybe we should get life insurance on him?
Dec 20 2007
next sibling parent reply "Peter C. Chapin" <pchapin sover.net> writes:
dan wrote:

 My only major concern lies in that d isnt open source and is therefore bound
to walter.  if he goes, so does D.
 
 Maybe we should get life insurance on him?

Is there any reason (I'm thinking legal, mostly) why someone else couldn't in principle independently implement a D compiler? The D community is reasonably large and full of smart people, so I'm sure the talent exists. Right now the motivation for creating a third party compiler is low, but if Walter disappeared that might change. I guess what I'm saying is that maybe the D community is already large enough to be self-sustaining. Peter
Dec 20 2007
parent reply Frits van Bommel <fvbommel REMwOVExCAPSs.nl> writes:
Peter C. Chapin wrote:
 dan wrote:
 
 My only major concern lies in that d isnt open source and is therefore bound
to walter.  if he goes, so does D.

 Maybe we should get life insurance on him?

Is there any reason (I'm thinking legal, mostly) why someone else couldn't in principle independently implement a D compiler? The D community is reasonably large and full of smart people, so I'm sure the talent exists. Right now the motivation for creating a third party compiler is low, but if Walter disappeared that might change.

An independent D compiler isn't a problem. There are even several in the works already. The more likely problem is the D spec: it's copyrighted by Digital Mars, so only Digital Mars (and those it authorizes[1] to do so) may distribute it (and presumably nobody else may distribute modified versions). So until copyright runs out (unless Walter/Digital Mars transfers control of the spec over to some other person or organization[2]) the only option for continued evolution of the language may be a complete rewrite of the spec (perhaps based on the available compiler, but not on the current spec). [1] I'm not sure if anyone else is currently authorized; even Tango (which has permission to redistribute DMD itself) seems to leave the spec out of their binary distributions that include DMD. [2] In his testament, perhaps?
 I guess what I'm saying is that maybe the D community is already large
 enough to be self-sustaining.

Large enough? Quite possibly. The legal issues mentioned above may be more problematic though, assuming the language is to continue to evolve.
Dec 20 2007
next sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean f4.ca> writes:
Frits van Bommel wrote:
 Peter C. Chapin wrote:
 dan wrote:

 My only major concern lies in that d isnt open source and is 
 therefore bound to walter.  if he goes, so does D.

 Maybe we should get life insurance on him?

Is there any reason (I'm thinking legal, mostly) why someone else couldn't in principle independently implement a D compiler? The D community is reasonably large and full of smart people, so I'm sure the talent exists. Right now the motivation for creating a third party compiler is low, but if Walter disappeared that might change.

An independent D compiler isn't a problem. There are even several in the works already. The more likely problem is the D spec: it's copyrighted by Digital Mars, so only Digital Mars (and those it authorizes[1] to do so) may distribute it (and presumably nobody else may distribute modified versions). So until copyright runs out (unless Walter/Digital Mars transfers control of the spec over to some other person or organization[2]) the only option for continued evolution of the language may be a complete rewrite of the spec (perhaps based on the available compiler, but not on the current spec). [1] I'm not sure if anyone else is currently authorized; even Tango (which has permission to redistribute DMD itself) seems to leave the spec out of their binary distributions that include DMD.

Frankly, it's a topic we never broached with Walter. We've simply been trying to keep the inclusion of Digital Mars stuff to a minimum as an act of good faith. Sean
Dec 20 2007
parent reply Dan <murpsoft hotmail.com> writes:
Sean Kelly Wrote:

 Frits van Bommel wrote:
 Peter C. Chapin wrote:
 dan wrote:

 My only major concern lies in that d isnt open source and is 
 therefore bound to walter.  if he goes, so does D.

 Maybe we should get life insurance on him?

Is there any reason (I'm thinking legal, mostly) why someone else couldn't in principle independently implement a D compiler? The D community is reasonably large and full of smart people, so I'm sure the talent exists. Right now the motivation for creating a third party compiler is low, but if Walter disappeared that might change.

An independent D compiler isn't a problem. There are even several in the works already. The more likely problem is the D spec: it's copyrighted by Digital Mars, so only Digital Mars (and those it authorizes[1] to do so) may distribute it (and presumably nobody else may distribute modified versions). So until copyright runs out (unless Walter/Digital Mars transfers control of the spec over to some other person or organization[2]) the only option for continued evolution of the language may be a complete rewrite of the spec (perhaps based on the available compiler, but not on the current spec). [1] I'm not sure if anyone else is currently authorized; even Tango (which has permission to redistribute DMD itself) seems to leave the spec out of their binary distributions that include DMD.

Frankly, it's a topic we never broached with Walter. We've simply been trying to keep the inclusion of Digital Mars stuff to a minimum as an act of good faith.

Walter,make it gnu if u pass on. i dont trust anyone in particular to carry the torch.
Dec 20 2007
parent reply Bill Baxter <dnewsgroup billbaxter.com> writes:
Dan wrote:
 Sean Kelly Wrote:
 
 Frits van Bommel wrote:
 Peter C. Chapin wrote:
 dan wrote:

 My only major concern lies in that d isnt open source and is 
 therefore bound to walter.  if he goes, so does D.

 Maybe we should get life insurance on him?

couldn't in principle independently implement a D compiler? The D community is reasonably large and full of smart people, so I'm sure the talent exists. Right now the motivation for creating a third party compiler is low, but if Walter disappeared that might change.

works already. The more likely problem is the D spec: it's copyrighted by Digital Mars, so only Digital Mars (and those it authorizes[1] to do so) may distribute it (and presumably nobody else may distribute modified versions). So until copyright runs out (unless Walter/Digital Mars transfers control of the spec over to some other person or organization[2]) the only option for continued evolution of the language may be a complete rewrite of the spec (perhaps based on the available compiler, but not on the current spec). [1] I'm not sure if anyone else is currently authorized; even Tango (which has permission to redistribute DMD itself) seems to leave the spec out of their binary distributions that include DMD.

trying to keep the inclusion of Digital Mars stuff to a minimum as an act of good faith.

Walter,make it gnu if u pass on. i dont trust anyone in particular to carry the torch.

(channeling Walter) "It is gnu already. GDC." --bb
Dec 21 2007
parent reply John Reimer <terminal.node gmail.com> writes:
Bill Baxter wrote:
 Dan wrote:
 Sean Kelly Wrote:

 Frits van Bommel wrote:
 Peter C. Chapin wrote:
 dan wrote:

 My only major concern lies in that d isnt open source and is 
 therefore bound to walter.  if he goes, so does D.

 Maybe we should get life insurance on him?

couldn't in principle independently implement a D compiler? The D community is reasonably large and full of smart people, so I'm sure the talent exists. Right now the motivation for creating a third party compiler is low, but if Walter disappeared that might change.

the works already. The more likely problem is the D spec: it's copyrighted by Digital Mars, so only Digital Mars (and those it authorizes[1] to do so) may distribute it (and presumably nobody else may distribute modified versions). So until copyright runs out (unless Walter/Digital Mars transfers control of the spec over to some other person or organization[2]) the only option for continued evolution of the language may be a complete rewrite of the spec (perhaps based on the available compiler, but not on the current spec). [1] I'm not sure if anyone else is currently authorized; even Tango (which has permission to redistribute DMD itself) seems to leave the spec out of their binary distributions that include DMD.

been trying to keep the inclusion of Digital Mars stuff to a minimum as an act of good faith.

Walter,make it gnu if u pass on. i dont trust anyone in particular to carry the torch.

(channeling Walter) "It is gnu already. GDC." --bb

Hmm... is it? I thought that it wasn't unless all copyright is passed to GNU... that was the main issue of why GNU will not include it in GCC. They won't accept the code, and maintain it, unless they own all rights to it. And Walter wasn't willing (understandably) to relinquish all rights to them. GDC is developed independently of GNU. -JJR
Dec 21 2007
parent reply "Bruce Adams" <tortoise_74 yeah.who.co.uk> writes:
On Fri, 21 Dec 2007 15:10:12 -0000, John Reimer <terminal.node gmail.com>  
wrote:

 Walter,make it gnu if u pass on.  i dont trust anyone in particular to  
 carry the torch.

"It is gnu already. GDC." --bb

Hmm... is it? I thought that it wasn't unless all copyright is passed to GNU... that was the main issue of why GNU will not include it in GCC. They won't accept the code, and maintain it, unless they own all rights to it. And Walter wasn't willing (understandably) to relinquish all rights to them. GDC is developed independently of GNU. -JJR

That makes sense. The DMD front end is open source but not copylefted. From the dmd license: "If you send any messages to Digital Mars, on either the Digital Mars newsgroups, the Digital Mars mailing list, or via email, you agree not to make any claims of intellectual property rights over the contents of those messages. The Software is copyrighted and comes with a single user license, and may not be redistributed. If you wish to obtain a redistribution license, please contact Digital Mars." ^ So we don't even own our own messages. Somehow I'm not sure that part of it will hold up in court. However, the source code tells a slightly different story: // Copyright (c) 1999-2006 by Digital Mars // All Rights Reserved // written by Walter Bright // www.digitalmars.com // License for redistribution is by either the Artistic License // in artistic.txt, or the GNU General Public License in gnu.txt. // See the included readme.txt for details. readme.txt "These sources are free, they are redistributable and modifiable under the terms of the GNU General Public License (attached as gpl.txt), or the Artistic License (attached as artistic.txt)." So it looks like its public domain not copyleft unless you want it to be copyleft by way of your changes, which would be slightly difficult to support legally. That would explain GNU rejecting it.
Dec 21 2007
parent Lutger <lutger.blijdestijn gmail.com> writes:
Bruce Adams wrote:
  > That makes sense. The DMD front end is open source but not copylefted.
  From the dmd license:
 
 "If you send any messages to Digital Mars, on either the Digital Mars
 newsgroups, the Digital Mars mailing list, or via email, you agree not
 to make any claims of intellectual
 property rights over the contents of those messages.
 
 The Software is copyrighted and comes with a single user license,
 and may not be redistributed. If you wish to obtain a redistribution 
 license,
 please contact Digital Mars."
 
 ^ So we don't even own our own messages. Somehow I'm not sure that part 
 of it will hold
 up in court.

No, it just means you promise not to sue DM over content of messages, that's what it's for. 'The Software' here includes the backend which has a different license than the frontend as you see in the source. There's a difference between license and copyright: although the front-end is GPL the copyright is owned by Walter Bright and probably some other people who have contributed. As has been said, GNU demands that copyright is signed over to them, which isn't even possible in some countries. Giving up this copyright means that Walter cannot ever release the frontend or something based on it with a different license, but GNU can. btw. I'm not a lawyer.
Dec 21 2007
prev sibling parent "dominik" <aha aha.com> writes:
"Frits van Bommel" <fvbommel REMwOVExCAPSs.nl> wrote in message 
news:fkdou8$1nmf$1 digitalmars.com...
 complete rewrite of the spec (perhaps based on the available compiler, but 
 not on the current spec).

thanks for the laugh :)
Dec 20 2007
prev sibling parent reply John Reimer <terminal.node gmail.com> writes:
dan wrote:
 John Reimer Wrote:
 One advantage to a lack of outside subsidizing is that D is not 
 controlled by these external forces (at least, not that I know of :) ).

Rare and valuable in this day and age.
 Mostly, I think D seems to depend on the fan element for it's viral 
 effect, kind of a slow pervasive bubbling from the bottom up rather than 
 coercion from the top (companies) down.  To me D represents another 
 unusual and atypical movement much like Linux was for it's time.  D 
 likely will follow a similar, albeit slow, growth curve.  I doubt that D 
 is particularly comparable to any other "hot" language such that we can 
 otherwise predict its outcome.

My only major concern lies in that d isnt open source and is therefore bound to walter. if he goes, so does D. Maybe we should get life insurance on him?

Life insurance? Poor Walter. We're already talking about his demise. :( Death is inevitable for all, so that does seem to be a more valid concern as far as D goes, I guess (in contrast to concerns about financial support). But I still think there's little to worry about here since Walter has associates with a keen interest in D, and I wager he's "covered" in this area. I doubt D will disappear. I think what people are looking for are assurances from Walter, but I don't believe they are necessary. The worst that could happen is that D's specifications will freeze for awhile. ;) Overall, this seems to become awkward and unfeeling to worry about an abstract and lifeless entity (ie. D) which has little real worth compared to the designer himself. At any rate, somebody will likely take up the baton: D seems to have become popular enough now. No, I don't think we have to be gloomy about D. :) -JJR
Dec 20 2007
parent "Bruce Adams" <tortoise_74 yeah.who.co.uk> writes:
On Thu, 20 Dec 2007 15:12:34 -0000, John Reimer <terminal.node gmail.com>  
wrote:

 dan wrote:
 John Reimer Wrote:
 One advantage to a lack of outside subsidizing is that D is not  
 controlled by these external forces (at least, not that I know of :) ).

 Mostly, I think D seems to depend on the fan element for it's viral  
 effect, kind of a slow pervasive bubbling from the bottom up rather  
 than coercion from the top (companies) down.  To me D represents  
 another unusual and atypical movement much like Linux was for it's  
 time.  D likely will follow a similar, albeit slow, growth curve.  I  
 doubt that D is particularly comparable to any other "hot" language  
 such that we can otherwise predict its outcome.

bound to walter. if he goes, so does D. Maybe we should get life insurance on him?


but the DMD compiler itself was not. I was sure I'd read this on the digital mars site somewhere but I can't for the life of me find it.
 Life insurance?  Poor Walter. We're already talking about his demise. :(

one day when the reverse encoding of expanding variadic macro initialisers features isn't added to D. Still, I suspect Walter knows someone who owns a big gun whether or not he has one himself, so maybe it wouldn't be a problem. :)
Dec 20 2007