Saturday, December 04, 2004

A Very Belated Response to Bible Software Review

For some reason my feed reader didn't alert me of this, or I missed it
somehow, but until SBL I missed Ruben's response (the bottom) to my response to his response (the top) to my announcement of NET GEMS (follow that?). So, now I'm finally getting around to responding! Sorry. I wasn't ignoring you.

I would just quibble about one thing that you are assuming, that, in
your words, "Big bucks will have to be invested." I'm just not
convinced that this is the case. Is it an ingredient that is present
in most successful projects? Yes. Is it, taking software as an
example, the case in all examples? I don't think so. Now, you're
right. Linus is probably not poor. This is because businesses have
seen the value of the product and have supported it. But, I've seen
other projects where this is not the case. None the size of the whole
Linux project (not many are), but successful nonetheless.

But, even assuming there were no successful open-source type projects
that were not funded, I still wouldn't concede the point. That would
make it seem much more unlikely statistically, but not truly
unrealistic. And most work is done in the world of biblical studies
for very little pay anyway, so I think the principle is already in
action. If most people in biblical studies really put making
significant money at the level of importance that so many do, then
there would be very few people in biblical studies. In other words,
I've seen too many people, just in my little circle, who have done a
lot of work for free or incredibly cheap to think that a completely
non-funded project wouldn't work.

But, of course there are factors. The larger the enterprise the more
likely it is to fail. And the least interesting/important the project
is, so also it is more likely to fail. I think what we are doing is
both important and interesting, but it is also a very big task. So we
do have a tough road ahead. But...once again...I'm confident.

Now, if someone decides to throw lots of money at us to get the
project done while maintaining the same freedoms, I'm not going to
turn it down just to prove you wrong :). So, if anyone out there has a
few million to spare, feel free to contact me!

Of course, this whole thing might just boil down to a matter of disagreement
between the two of us, which is fine. If so, we'll leave it at that.
But, once again, thanks for your comments. I treasure all the comments
of the blogosphere.


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