Roland McGrath roland at
Sun Nov 25 21:47:50 UTC 1990

> But, lately, several people have asked for the source and expressed a
> willingness to cope with its "research software" condition.

Releasing source is often a very good way to get a lot of work done for you.
You have to deal with umpteen people using the system, some of whom will come
up with truly inane things to bother you about.  But in return you get just as
many people to find (and often fix) bugs, make enhancements, and support the
system throught their use of it.

> I am compiling a list of folks who want the source code and would
> be interested in adding you to it. Please tell me who you are,
> what your organisation is (if any), what you want to do with it,
> and how willing you would be to deal with 50,000 lines of
> poorly documented C++ code.

I am Roland McGrath.  I work for the Free Software Foundation.  My interest in
Self is mostly curiosity.  If and when I get the system, I will hack on it
until it runs, figure out what the language is like, and start playing around.
Having run up against the limitations of Smalltalk, been generally unimpressed
with C++, and not wanting to spend the entire rest of my life using C and Lisp
alone, I think Self sounds very interesting.

The FSF per se doesn't have any interest in Self, though if it's free we might
distribute it.  The FSF is, however, very interested in as much software as
possible becoming freely available.  That is why we exist.  Have you read the
GNU Manifesto?

I have no problem at all dealing with 50,000 lines of poorly documented C++
code.  How much effort I will put into it is a function of available time
(which I can make if I so desire), interest, and whim.  I have at times been
interested enough in some random hack to spend days or weeks doing it before
moving on to the next neat thing that came to mind (or getting real work done).
I can't guarantee that Self will generate such interest, but the little I've
heard sounds very intriguing.

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