Scripting News: We’re not doing software right.

A picture named bee.gifNice writeup by James Fallows of Little Outliner, much appreciated.

The story he tells is pretty typical of the software industry. He wrote about an online outliner a few years ago, but it’s gone now. His favorite outliner, Grandview — long-gone. My early outliners, gone too. A few products took their place, but nothing like the great start we got at the beginning of the PC software era.

What changed is the way we finance software.

And that seems to be a story reporters appreciate now, because one of their most-used products, Google Reader, is going away. Probably wouldn’t happen if a smaller company made it, if they depended on revenue from the product to make payroll.

The wave that’s undermining journalism crashed over software many years ago. That’s why when journalists want us to make their mission the center of our attention, it’s a bit of narcissism on their part. Because what’s happening to their profession happened to mine long ago.

We human beings aren’t that good at creating sustainable systems. The bees are dying. The globe is warming. And we lose great ideas in software, and it takes generations to reinvent them, only to lose them again.

I’m bringing back a little of it now. Outliners are my thing. Now let’s see if we can make this work as a business. 🙂


About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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