I’ve decided not to pursue the Kickstarter Open Sourcing at this time. There are a number of reasons, but the most important is that it would mean a very long time before Gingko would start improving again for you, the user.
I had been working on the campaign for weeks, and still hadn’t completed the script for the video. After that I would have had to create the visuals to accompany my voiceover, edit it all, write all the campaign copy, write a newsletter. Then, once running, it would have been a month where my entire focus was on pushing the campaign, overriding both my ability to provide support, and the time I’d need to ship improvements. Assuming the campaign succeeded, it would then take significant work to make Gingko open source (I’d have to restructure the code, make it easier for others to install, document it fully, and much more). And in the end, it’s only a hypothesis that open sourcing would lead to a faster improvement cycle eventually… that’s something that depends heavily on random factors.
So, on the one hand, even assuming success (not guaranteed), it’s months of work, for very little actual return for you users. I still believe Open Source is a good direction to move towards. And I would like more collaboration. But it’s not time for this yet.
On the other hand, the work that went into the campaign isn’t a waste. I was reminded of the many exciting and powerful features that I had dreamed of implementing. And it’s made me rethink and clarify my priorities. What came out on top was this:
Make great software… everything else is a distraction.
For the last month, I’ve been working on a collection of features that combine both the most frequent request I’ve ever had (a true, download to your device(s), offline capable Gingko), with other changes that people haven’t asked for ever, but I believe will make Gingko far more powerful than it is now. It’s the greatest coding challenge I’ve ever undertaken, but it’s going well, and I’m making progress every day on it.
If you were excited about open source Gingko, I will mention that I am for it in principle. But I’m wary of big and irreversible change, in a direction I’m not experienced in, when it’s not clear that it will be for the better. Instead of open sourcing to everyone, all at once, I will instead be willing to take on “semi-open” collaborators as bandwidth permits. If you are yearning to hack Gingko (for the benefit of everyone and not just your own niche use-case), get in touch with me. If we’re a good fit, I will give you access to the code.
These days, I’m coding 100% of my working time (sometimes forgetting to eat lunch, which I don’t recommend). Customer support happens in pockets of time on my evenings and off days. And I’m loving it. I feel both relieved and excited about moving forward. An excitement I haven’t felt in years.
When I can, I will post specifics of my progress so far.
PS: I added Copy/Paste to Gingko a few weeks ago. You can now hit Ctrl+C to copy a subtree, and Ctrl+V to paste it. It’s a little slow, but it works.
4 thoughts on “Moving Forward : The Direct Path”
Good to hear an update. In some ways I am relieved. A couple of products I use have recently either changed hands (a variant on your open source plan) or released 2.0 versions and I’ve ended up feeling it might have been better in both scenarios to have left well enough alone. Obviously, Gingko would wither without attention but I think also fine that a great solution is improved in a more deliberate way. I appreciate the copy and paste functionality addition and the work on off-line capability.
I wholeheartedly agree with the above.
Hot damn that’s exciting! I’ve loved Gingko from the first moment of playing with it, but I don’t live online and have no intention of doing so. But I’d happily pay out for a desktop version of Gingko without thinking twice – it’s by far the neatest, cleverest writing concept I’ve ever seen. So yeah, go for it, Adriano – while open-source software is great, there’s absolutely no reason why Gingko shouldn’t be a major commercial success.
You should definitely focus on the product and not the source code. I’ve only played around with gingko a little bit this afternoon and already I can see the massive potential. There’s a dozen or so things I’d ask for immediately if there was a ‘feature voting’ webpage. I’d love to know what it is subscribers get early access to too. If it was enticing enough I’d probably subscribe straight away. I was tempted to buy Ulysses which is $44 right before I found this. I will be attempting to write my short stories with it.