Sublime Forum

Sublime's future and open source


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?



Open Source Sublime Text

Have fun with Notepad++ !



Good to see these kind of good thoughts for Jon! :open_mouth:



He’s referring to the seemingly very low bus factor of Sublime Text 2 (i.e. 1) which can take many forms not necessarily involving a bus.



I guess the only thing that will make Jon to NOT open source in case he’s get bored with ST will actually be a bus. Literally!



There’s no reason to make it open source at the moment. Sure, open sourced software is brilliant, and it is great among similar communities as the one surrounding Sublime Text, but this has clearly become a full-time venture for Jon, and having to convert to open-source development cycles will probably not be sustainable, or particularly productive for achieving his key goals for Sublime text.



To be clear, I’m not really asking for ST to be open sourced right now. I appreciate it’s probably an important source of income for the author. And honestly, I’m happy to pay for it.

I guess the “provisions” I was talking about was more like instructions left in a will or some other legal document that can allow for ST to be opensourced under certain conditions.

I don’t understand this reaction. Do you think I’m wishing for this to happen? Is the topic so awkward that we can’t even discuss it? I think it’s reasonable to consider these scenarios.

Suspend disbelief for a moment and imagine if the Linux kernel was closed source and Linus was the sole author. Nobody would be worried about the bus factor with Linus? In many ways a kernel is more easily replaceable for me than a text editor I use for hours every day. We can we talk about the bus factor for Linus but not for Jon? If anything, it’s a compliment. :smile:



This gets discussed fairly often. It’s more or less just a risk you have to take to use ST2.

I agree completely with that. Switching between OSX, Linux/freeBSD, and Windows is relatively easy for me, but switching between TextMate/TextPad and Sublime took a lot longer.



Tack’s point is an essential one also for me. I don’t have a problem paying for software, but switching one’s coding editor is a big commitment of time. If I were to switch to Sublime Text, I’d need better assurance that if the author (or some other party) for any reason stops developing it (for my OS), it’ll be open sourced. That might not ensure its development continues, but it’d at least allow me to keep using it for as long as I want, across OS upgrades. As it is, it seems safer to stick to my current editors, inferior as they might be per se.

Authors of Sublime Text: give this assurance on the web site, and you’ll win a new customer right away.



Not a commitment for your OS (whatever that might be), but a comment of rather seeing it opensourced than abandoned was made by jps



I’d like to see him state clearly that in the event Sublime Text is no longer sold commercially, it will be open sourced. I fully approve of jps’ interest in making money from the software, and I think making such a promise would not damage the business potential, but increase it.



It’s funny how people think that an open source project will have success and how this will affect your decision to buy it.

Just think about e-text, how it was open sourced like an year before the author suddenly decided to go silenzio stampa and how the development was very active!



[quote=“iamntz”]It’s funny how people think that an open source project will have success and how this will affect your decision to buy it.

Just think about e-text, how it was open sourced like an year before the author suddenly decided to go silenzio stampa and how the development was very active![/quote]

That’s exactly what I was going to say!

Also, textmate is only very active right now because at least 95% of the current changes are being made by his creator (Allan Odgaard), even though it is now open source.

I doubt sublime would go far without Jon.



I’m not saying that an open source project will automatically or perhaps even likely have success. Many don’t. Open source is far from a magic bullet.

What open source does more or less ensure, however, is that it’s possible to keep using the software in new versions of operating systems. It’s usually little effort to fix the application such that it compiles on new versions of the operating system libraries. If an open source application is at all popular, someone is very likely to maintain it at least to the degree of making it work in current versions of relevant platforms.

That’s all I want: confidence that I’ll be able to keep using Sublime Text several years past the time its commercial development ends, were that to one day happen. I believe that’s also Tack’s interest.



Yeah, that’s exactly it. When I think about my current workflow, which involves vim and a bunch of tiled terminals, this is how I’ve worked for the past 15 years. I have a tremendous muscle-memory investment. Now ST2 has some pretty awesome functionality (including and especially Goto Anything) that’s really luring me away from my tried-and-true terms+vim setup.

But if I’m taking the plunge seriously, which requires easily months worth of retraining and unlearning previous habits (like no replace mode in Vintage mode? Arggh!) and doing that makes me more productive, there’s no reason to think ST2 couldn’t be the foundation of my workflow for the next 15 years.

So when we’re talking about 10-15 years in the future, a closed source, single developer project really is a legitimate concern. I’m surprised by the dismissive attitude on this thread so far. Clearly these users change editors more easily than I do. :smile:



I’m not saying that this is a solution for your problem but the Vintage mode is open source and if you’re missing some feature from vim you can always help: :smile:

Even though I love sublime and I would hate to see it die, I can always go back to VIM.



Oh yeah, attempt to hack my own replace mode was the first thing I did. :smile:

Unfortunately I failed because although I can toggle overwrite mode from a plugin, I couldn’t find a way to set it specifically on or off, or detect what the current overwrite mode was. As a result, even the existing insert mode is broken, because it retains the overwrite setting between toggling from command mode and insert mode. (From command mode, hit i to enter insert mode, hit the insert key to toggle overwrite, hit escape to go back to command mode, then hit i again. You’re still overwriting text.)

I couldn’t find anything in the plugin documentation to help me get further. I’d intended to start a separate thread about it. More to the point (of this thread), although Vintage mode is OSS, because the core isn’t, my efforts were derailed in short order.



TextMate 2 is open source (but you do need a mac!!)




TextMate 2 is open source (but you do need a mac!!)[/quote]

And Notepad++ is Windows only. I use Linux.

But anyway, all that is really beside the point. I’m pretty sure S0und didn’t bother to read my post.



Sublime Text is great I love it, so imagine what it would if it were open source, I hope someday release the code.

For those looking for a free alternative

Sorry for my bad english.