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Re: speeding up Octave development (was: Re: m-code)

From: Jonathan King
Subject: Re: speeding up Octave development (was: Re: m-code)
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 10:59:17 -0600 (CST)

On Fri, 5 Mar 1999, John W. Eaton wrote:

> On  4-Mar-1999, address@hidden 
> <address@hidden> wrote:
> | I agree that there is a need to lighten jwe's load
> | w.r.t. to development.  Having a cvs tree would be 
> | very helpful.
> An anonymous CVS archive could be the catalyst that ignites an
> explosion in the number of contributions, but I'm not holding my
> breath.  Don't get me wrong -- I'm willing to try it out, and I agree
> that anonymous access to the latest sources via CVS might help some
> people, but I think there are several other things that can speed
> development even more.
> One thing that would help a lot would be a relatively small amount
> of funding to make more of my time available for working on Octave
> instead of other projects.  

I think everybody on this list should read that last sentence v e r y
s l o w l y.  I've been trying to nail down some funding for Octave
development this week, and I think I can score some.  But an even faster
way to get some money raised would be for people just to send some in.

I'll put it this way: 

If I had an address in hand right now that I could send money to to
support Octave development, I'd reach into my pocket and do it.  I mean,
I've shelled out $40-something for Red Hat in January, and I sent $36 to
the Perl Journal at the end of February.  I don't have infinite petty cash
in my budget, but March is looking good enough that I can help feed my
Octave habit.  $50 is a nice round figure; where should I send it?

I know that's not a lot, but I can probably do it again reasonably soon,
and if everybody on the list (who isn't a starving grad student) did it,
I expect the total amount would be meaningful.

One other point:

> My experience has been that, for whatever reason, hackers seem to be
> excited by C compilers, kernels, networking code, gui toolkits,
> editors, and even some general purpose languages like Perl.  But they
> don't seem to be too excited by spreadsheets or programs for matrix
> algebra.  

It struck me recently that Octave doesn't get *nearly* the press it
deserves in the free software world.  At the Linux World Expo last
week, Slashdot reported that the "show favorite" in the category of
Science and Engineering was...

VA Research

Whee!  Withouth knowing more, I'd guess this was because they had a
Beowulf cluster up or something.  I don't know if the FSF people at
the show even had Octave running in their booth or not.  In my experience,
lots of people who *should* know that Octave exists in fact do not.  It's
a serious program.

But what might be a cheap and easy way to get more publicity for Octave
(and maybe even attract some more hacker interest) would be to write
an article about the frustrations of developing Octave up on the Octave 
web site and get Slashdot to point to it and set up a discussion.


> I could go on, but I'll just point out an essay on this topic that
> expresses ideas that are fairly close to what I've been thinking for a
> while now:

I'll have to take a look.  In the case of Octave, I'm afraid part of the
problem is that people don't even know it's out there.


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