Monday, December 18, 2006

Of Balls and Whiners

I've never been paid to write code, so I'm ill-qualified to form an opinion on the whole MacHeist thing. I do however have a keen eye for idiocy, and one group in particular seems in need of calling-out. To paraphrase:

"Screw you, Gus! You just lost a potential and/or current customer!"

What? Let's try to understand the reasoning behind such a statement, starting with the most illogical.

Possibility the First:
These people actually think there is some correlation between a developer's opinions or attitude and his products. It could happen I guess. If a developer can maintain a list of pirated serial numbers, and make their app not work with them, it stands to reason that they could just as easily maintain a list of apps that have been included in the MacHeist bundle, and make their apps not work when those other apps are installed. And if the developer has balls enough to speak his mind without trying to kiss anyone's ass, he's certainly capable of making his app trash your whole system! Therefore, as cautious consumers and MacHeist fans, we would all do well to avoid apps from that developer.

Possibility the Second:
These people actually think that the revenue lost by their secession will have an impact great enough to make a developer see the error of his ways. That sounds reasonable, maybe. Assuming Flying Meat has fewer than ten paying customers, that's a sizeable chunk of income to lose.

Possibility the Third:
These people actually think that although a single user's threat would have little impact, a concerted effort by many organized users will have the desired effect. So, if we all band together and sign the petition, we can force him to change his ways.

Possibility the Fourth:
These people subconsciously realize that they're bringing nothing to the table and feel embarrassed to burden Gus any longer with all their support issues. The only sensible thing to do is to remove themselves from the picture in a flaming puff of glory.

It never occurred to me before all this, but now I'm wondering: When I'm shopping for software, how much do I care about the developer's personal life? Say the guy sacrifices goats and small children on weekends. Can he write code that makes me do that? No? Ok, then, yea I'll buy his apps. On the other hand, say he keeps his mouth shut when he takes issue with something, to avoid possibly stepping on anyone's toes. I wouldn't respect him quite as much, but I'd still buy his apps.

I guess I shouldn't complain, really. All of the informed opinions on both sides of the issue have given me things to think about that otherwise wouldn't have occurred to me. And the whiners balanced it out with some much needed comedy.

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