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Hi Jeff, Good Topic. Markdown is both an excellent idea and a nice tool. The issue of project succession is a common one. Some people are great at starting projects and taking them to completion. John Gruber is one of those. He scratched his itch and we got the rewards from it. :-) Now the project enters a different stage of life and needs a different kind of person to shepherd it along. What kind of person does the second stage need? John Gruber is a full tilt, experienced, senior Software Engineer. (or has demonstrated the design intelligence, coding ability and algorithmic intelligence of same. :-) ). The challenge of a wrestling a totally new, formless idea into a full blown implementation is the mainlined-heroin|crack|crystal-meth of software developers. Once you have the addiction nothing else satisfies. People with that addiction are the people you want driving the initial stage of a project, like a start up. Another reason a person cannot move their project to the second stage is that their life has changed and they can no longer have the free time and effort available to put into it. (romance, family, health, finance, changing priorities, caring for sick relatives [who will die soon and haven't finished their will...] ) Whatever the reason, the second stage of project life needs a group that wants to do things to the project making it better than it already is, or another sole developer with the time, energy and most of all, the -desire- to scratch their own itch. Most important, it also needs the active cooperation of the original parent to move to the new stage. Any parent can tell you it's difficult to let go of a child and even harder to deliberately put your child up for adoption. Both in real life and in the spiritual, creative sense. [ ALL types of engineering can be acts of creation identical to what every artist or craftsman has when they create. The degree of spirituality involved is determined by the amount of challenge the creator experiences, I think. :) However, We engineers will never admit this. We're Engineers dammit! Not namby pamby artists! ;-) **** ] It is a difficult thing, but thousands of mothers place their children into adoption every year. Many who do so love their children desperately and out of that love, believing the child will have a better life, give up a baby that they love and cherish so it can have a better life.*** It can be the same for a project like this one. I'm not trivializing the real human tragedy of such. I'm drawing the analogy of the emotional parallelism. As a biological and adoptive parent, these concepts rather leap to mind. Being a parent isn't easy. Can Markdown grow and flourish, surviving to software adulthood or will it continue its failure to thrive and slowly, painfully wither away? Malnutrition and slow, creeping death are horrible things for people, and a sad waste for software. Do we need a "Software Children's Fund"? Or an adoption agency where Project starters can find qualified second stage 'parents' who've been through a vetting process? Would we call it "ParentForge" or "Project Overflow"? :) Attempts at humor aside, many projects never make the transition to the second stage and we are all the worse for it. The waste of effort and many fine tools is a loss for us all. Be a responsible parent, make sure your project gets to the next stage. :) ** "Singular they" usage. If you find this strange, please visit the language log and search for "prescriptivist poppycock" tags. *** On a more serious note, please consider supporting organizations that assist children waiting to be adopted, like "Half the Sky Foundation" at http://www.halfthesky.org or if you are able to, please consider adopting. **** See SNL|Eddie Murphy 'I'm Gumby, dammit!' - circa 1980's
Commented Mar 26, 2010 on
Responsible Open Source Code Parenting
Responsible Open Source Code Parenting
I'm a big fan of John Gruber's Markdown. When it comes to humane markup languages for the web, I don't think anyone's quite nailed it like Mr. Gruber. His philosophy was clear from the outset: Markdown is intended to be as easy-to-read and easy-to-write as is feasible. Readability, however, ...
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