[OS X TeX] ANN: AquaTkbibtex 1.3

Kevin Walzer kw at kevin-walzer.com
Thu Jun 22 09:53:05 EDT 2006

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Hello Bruno,

Bruno Voisin wrote:

> Warning: this answer is OT, and may be viewed as a rant.

I agree this list isn't the best place for this discussion, but since
you have raised the subject--and in a tactful, non-flaming manner--I
will try to address your points briefly and politely.

> It's obvious that you have put a lot of time and efforts into Port
> Authority, and the software is quite nice indeed. It fills in a useful
> gap, bringing to DarwinPorts to same ease of use that Fink has had for a
> long time thanks to Fink Commander. Thus, it's perfectly legitimate that
> you ask for retribution of your work. However, the move from freeware to
> shareware without prior notice seems unethical to me: a free beta
> version is released, people are starting to use it, they are reporting
> bugs either directly to you or through a mailing list, you are getting
> beta testers for free in this way, and then suddenly without prior
> notice the software is made shareware when reaching release quality, so
> that people have to pay for continuing to use it.

I understand your concern here; but I also realize that some people
would inevitably be unhappy. The decision was made quite recently, and
so I also decided to just go ahead.

> I was shocked when realizing this, in the same way as I had been shocked
> some time ago when Claus Gerhardt's Flashmode scripts, after testing as
> freeware on this list IIRC, became suddenly and without prior notice
> shareware. What would happen if Gerben Wierda, Dick Kock, Jérôme
> Laurens, Jonathan Kew, Adam Maxwell and all the other freeware Mac OS X
> TeX developers would suddenly decide that their work evolves from
> freeware or donationware to shareware? For sure a serious blow to the
> Mac TeX community that would be.

I understand your position on this point.  My own approach is a very
conscious and careful attempt to balance my own need for *some*
compensation with my users' desire to keep using the program freely. And
it's important to realize that I HAVE NOT closed the source of Port
Authority (or any of my other programs). I'm charging a small amount for
the Aqua build; but the gratis (X11) version includes all the source
code and detailed instructions on how to build it yourself (several
options, in fact), without giving me a cent. It's comparable to one of
the developers you mention charging a few US$ for a build of their
programs, but making the Xcode project files freely available for you to
build yourself (and to redistribute if you so choose). I prefer this
approach to soliciting donations, for reasons I outline elsewhere. The
software is still libre. And it seems that lots of users are simply
proceeding with the X11 version, which is gratis.

To bring this back on topic, my build of AquaTkbibtex will continue to
be gratis as well as libre. I didn't write the program, just modified it
a bit, so it's not appropriate to charge for it. I'm making it available
because it's a venerable tool in the TeX/LaTeX community, and I wanted
it to offer a more Mac-specific experience than the standard version.
It's simply a more lightweight alternative to the excellent BibDesk program.

- --Kevin

- --
Kevin Walzer
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