I first stumbled upon Sublime Text today, and my very first reaction was “wow, sexy!” And then my second reaction, not very long afer the first, was “eww, it’s not open source.” That’s not because I have any particular aversion to paying for software, or even closed source software (although I generally avoid it if there are OSS alternatives, I’m not a zealot about it), but rather more a fear about the long-term sustainability of the project.
We all know that for a person who spends hours a day hacking code, switching editors requires a massive investment in time, including opportunity costs in lost productivty during the transition, especially if you’ve been well settled into your editor/IDE of choice for a decade or longer.
I’m definitely liking ST, but for closed source software with a single author, it’s hard not to worry about what would become of months or years worth of investment into a new workflow if the author let the software languish (for lack of time, or interest, or family or medical issues, there could be a million reasons) or was otherwise unable to develop it (the canonical hit-by-a-bus example).
I’ve know the author has written in the past that he would opensource it rather than see it rot in the bit graveyard, so I’m more worried about the hit-by-a-bus scenario, or even if we disagreed about what “languishing” meant (e.g. the latest version required an obsolete OS to run).
Are there provisions in place for these concerns, or are we obligated to take the non-trivial risk that a substantial investment into a new coding workflow could be for naught if tragedy strikes?