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This is a late post but I felt it needed to be said. Many of you will have seen Simon J Stuart’s post on why he is shutting down his blog on September 1st. Simon’s post is quite emotive in places but most tragically he is also withdrawing his freely available projects from which many have benefited such as his Social networking libraries and Lua4Delphi (which will become a paid for only product).

Simon’s experience rather reminds me, to a certain extent, of the tragedy of the commons. For those unfamiliar with this dilemma, it states that multiple independent individuals will eventually deplete a shared resource whilst making decisions that are rational for their own self-interest but that their collective actions are in the worst long-term interest of the collective. In this case, it would appear that multiple individuals, consulting their own self-interest have placed what collectively amounts to too much pressure (and allegedly in some cases abuse on Simon).

My own limited experience in contributing code and having code contributed to me does not match with Simon’s experience but then it never really came close to the sheer volume and quality of code contributed by Simon (plus, I never really had any users!).

I fear that it is too late to change Simon’s mind but it might be prudent to suggest that this would be a good point to reflect, as developers, on how we interact with and treat members of the community who donate their time, resources and thoughts to help out others. I know that I, as with many others, will miss his contributions when they’re gone.

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11 Comments

  1. Cameron on the 21st August 2012 remarked #

    I think anyone who has written a free/open source project with any kind of popularity probably goes through much of what Simon has. I personally believe great experienced devs need to develop a very thick skin in order to maintain their sanity but there is always a limit and I guess he reached his. Too bad for everyone Simon included.

  2. Max Williams on the 22nd August 2012 remarked #

    Great post! I contributed a small amount to Simon’s Lua4Delphi project, not because I was going to have any real use for it, but to encourage and thank him for his work. I don’t regret it all. However, I do feel sad for him; a great deal of hurt showed through in his posts. I hope he heals with time.

  3. ObjectMethodology.com on the 22nd August 2012 remarked #

    Bummer.

  4. Nick Hodges on the 22nd August 2012 remarked #

    Great post and great point.

  5. Lachlan Gemmell on the 22nd August 2012 remarked #

    I will miss Simon’s blog if he doesn’t reconsider his decision.

    As for his products I’d like to see Simon follow the example of the Smart Mobile Studio guys. They’ve developed a commercial product more or less in the open via their blog. Most importantly they haven’t let themselves get embroiled in flame wars (hint, hint Mr S).

  6. Krom Stern on the 22nd August 2012 remarked #

    Good post and thanks for the news.

    I do respect Simon’s work, he ran a great blog, but I just can’t leave that outcome without a comment – “How childish!..”

  7. Serg on the 22nd August 2012 remarked #

    I hope he will be back. We are all childish sometimes, social communication can drive you mad and you shut the door, I did it many times.

  8. Simon J Stuart on the 22nd August 2012 remarked #

    I just want to point out that I’m not “withdrawing [my] freely available projects”, but limiting the scope of them and continuing their development behind closed doors (free from the mountain of selfish demands and insulting comments).

    I’m shutting down the blog… not the work!

  9. Krom Stern on the 23rd August 2012 remarked #

    Blog is a form of an open-source code by itself, it just has more human language/syntax and less strongly typed. It’s a pity to me because I valued the blog more. It was a great read.

  10. Stuart Clennett on the 23rd August 2012 remarked #

    Insightful post Jamie. I have only just caught up on Simons decisions due to being away from Twitter for a while.

    I too contributed to Lua4Delphi, again I had no immediate need for it but thought it worthwhile for the community as a whole, and one never says “never”, right?

    I wish Simon well, and like many here, hope that the hurt caused by (those I consider to be) idiots subsides with time.

  11. Warren Postma on the 25th August 2012 remarked #

    I’m sad to see this happen. In case this project does go off the rails … Does anyone have a backup they could put on github, or bitbucket or sourceforge.

    It seems that Simon is the lead and main developer, but lots of people have contributed to his effort. If he was to decide not to work on this any more, it would be nice to know someone has posted whatever is already open sourced to a reliable hosting location.

    Warren

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