I think this news is great, the quicker innovative editing tools like LT appear the better. But I have an uneasy feeling about an incubator (even though YC is the best one, IMO) or a VC scooping up projects from Kickstarter. I always thought KS was a way for the intelligent nobodies to bypass the whole incubator-VC-whatever system and to appeal directly to the masses. How to put it, there's a sense of Olympic amateurishness (in the original sense of the word) in KS projects. When they are picked up like this it sorts of negates that sense.
What do you think?
There's a big difference between imagining something might be a great idea because of intuition, A/B testing/market research, even launching and getting engagement but no monetization... vs. getting people to actually put their hard-earned dollars into it in advance of any available product.
To me, there's no stronger 'go' signal one can have. To an investor it takes away all the mystery... do you even need a pitch? The only thing left is whether or not the team can execute on the vision. And hence the value of a great incubator to reduce friction on that end.
Kickstarter serves projects that are on a continuum from "pure" art (uncommercializable) to pre-sales (already commercial), so a transition to a full-fledged commercial endeavor makes a lot of sense for many many projects.
There will still be a lot of amazing Olympic amateur projects, I hope/expect!
While being a part of YC doesn't affect our plans or change
our use of Kickstarter as a means of accelerating the
release of Light Table, many pledged with the explicit
purpose of making sure that it had a chance. With YC that
chance is now safe and we wanted to let our supporters know
there will be no hard feelings if this changes your desire
There are a lot of ways to read the situation, but my favorite is that Light Table makes sense purely as a strategic acquisition for YC; there are enough YC companies using the languages Light Table targets that, should it yield magical productivity gains, the knock-on effects from being able to get their developers early access and input would be enormous. If they wind up changing the future of software development, all the better.
This sounds like a really lame conspiracy theory. YC got LT to "yield magical productivity gains" to it's companies? Please. Even if the programmers dropped their editors (Emacs, etc) to adopt LT, the productivity gains would be marginal. And code productivity at that level is not the bottleneck for a startup success either.
A decent product people want to use, connections, and chance are far more important. For all the "we used Lisp so we did it faster/better" bragging, Yahoo could almost just as easily buy any other ViaWeb competitor for example, even one using the lamest of methodologies.
Downvotes? People believe that using a better editor/IDE will yield "magical productivity gains" for a company?
Or that ViaWeb succeeded because it was in Lisp? Well, how about the other 99% of companies, that succeeded based on lame technologies, from Facebook's PHP, to whatever. One company doing something successfully among thousands is as far from a proof as you can get. Post-fact rationalization sounds more like it ("Oh, we got bought. It was because we were ultra-productive programmers yielding Lisp").
And I think the "ViaWeb/Lisp -> super programming capabilities over mere mortals -> Yahoo millions" thing that started the whole cult worship is both wrong and flawed (e.g statistically insignificant to prove anything).
Besides, you seem to be ignoring that ViaWeb was built before there were ubiquitous open source libraries for practically everything. My guess is that they basically had to write the whole server/application/persistence/security/payment stack themselves from scratch. Considering that they were able to build it all with a handful (2-4?) of programmers and to beat out competition that had a head start and a much higher head count, I would wager that Lisp had at least a little something to do with it.
So much? I just made a comment, it's not like I'm running around foaming at the mouth, is it?
>Besides, you seem to be ignoring that ViaWeb was built before there were ubiquitous open source libraries for practically everything. My guess is that they basically had to write the whole server/application/persistence/security/payment stack themselves from scratch. Considering that they were able to build it all with a handful (2-4?) of programmers and to beat out competition that had a head start and a much higher head count, I would wager that Lisp had at least a little something to do with it.
I agree. But wouldn't something like Smalltalk be equally good for the same purpose? Or Perl?
Maybe you didn't, but a lot of people saw the Light Table demo and thought, "If that thing works right it looks like it might cut my workload in half." This would be the reason (you may have heard) they've raised a few hundred thousand in pre-orders in addition to funding from the most prominent startup accelerator in tech.
Okay, so you don't buy the hype. Bully for you. But "a really lame conspiracy theory"? Presumably, not only would Viaweb have been as dominant were it written in C, but 37signals would have been more successful sticking with PHP instead of wasting time writing Rails, and if all your Emacs users switched to using Notepad, it wouldn't cost the company any money.
That sounds pretty realistic.
No, I even like it. It just didn't make my cat 2x more productive as a programmer, which is what I find a BS statement coming from many Lisp proponents...
>Maybe you didn't, but a lot of people saw the Light Table demo and thought, "If that thing works right it looks like it might cut my workload in half." This would be the reason (you may have heard) they've raised a few hundred thousand in pre-orders in addition to funding from the most prominent startup accelerator in tech.
I like the LT demo. I don't think in the least it will cut my workload in half --those that think so are IMNSHO delluded. At best it will make certain operations easier to carry out, but most of them will be marginal to my efficiency. Editing environment is not the bottleneck to my coding, thinking is. That's why thousands of programmers work just fine with crude old Vim and not something like a Smalltalk editor or a Lisp Machine (or even Emacs or VS or Eclipse). A competent programmer can get by even with vi or Notepad++, with only small loss of productivity.
>Okay, so you don't buy the hype. Bully for you. But "a really lame conspiracy theory"? Presumably, not only would Viaweb have been as dominant were it written in C, but 37signals would have been more successful sticking with PHP instead of wasting time writing Rails, and if all your Emacs users switched to using Notepad, it wouldn't cost the company any money. That sounds pretty realistic.
Actually there were programmers AS succesful at the time as ViaWeb that were INDEED writing in C. Case in point, Yahoo, the company that bought ViaWeb in the first place, used C. Later switched to PHP IIRC.
But, crucial to my actual point was the use of the world "marginal". C to Ruby might make a difference. Ruby to Lisp not so much (it could even be adverse, because of the lack of mature web frameworks and libs that Ruby has plently).
And certainly Emacs to LT, even less so.
I mean, you can think that. But it ain't exactly Moon Science to think otherwise.
If anyone has specific questions/concerns, I'll be lurking.
Wish you the best of luck, this project is very interesting.
(I am curious how the process works for startups that already have significant traction before joining YC. Humble Bundle comes to mind.)
> I've been quiet over the past couple weeks as I've been putting together a demo to show the real power of what's to come and I can't wait to show it to you all. I'll give you a little hint: I've been making a lot of sssSSSSssssSSssss noises lately ;)
ever get released? Was the demo for the YC?
Who is this "we"? Is it just you, Chris?
None of these reasons became invalid when you joined YC, so the pledge still stands.
In fact it will be very interesting if we see commit logs on something like Github. A lot of people follow a certain project(s) which they like.
That may also help you test and flush out bugs as needed while soliciting feedback.
All the best and expecting to see a solid product out!
Good luck, I'm REALLY looking forward to trying Light Table out :)
What I mean is, say the project had been set at 300k and python was one of the base supported languages. That would actually be no different than it is now, except that now the software itself is already guaranteed(1).
Also, the python inclusion is certainly on the roadmap if it's mentioned before the project has been funded, right? So if you back it, then you're still probably backing a(n eventually) python-speaking platform.
1 - [Edit]: Well, "guaranteed", no. Funded, yes.
- docs everywhere
When i hover over a symbol, method or class i get the documentation right in my IDE
- instant feedback
Ok this is new but can only be done for simple calculations
- table as a unit of work
Saying that "we can de better than files" is true. In fact in my IDE i just dragndrop methods around, navigate the class hierarchy, etc. Its just coincidence that every class is represented as a file. But i do not care. The point is that i write code against the AST and not against "plain text". The IDE parses the code on the spot. This is nothing new.
So all in all i dont see a lot of new concepts.
For a dynamic language, where a REPL will no doubt be part of your workflow, an IDE that aims to merge the process of editing and interacting is probably quite valuable. Like emacs with slime but less daunting to the unfamiliar.
Do you anticipate using the SLIME/SWANK style backends? Reason why I ask is because I do a lot of Common Lisp coding and this would be an interesting project to give a spin.
But making money from open source projects is hard enough, and varied enough, that it makes sense to spend a lot of time thinking about and experimenting with this one before committing to anything. It looks like that's what they're doing. So I don't think there will be a firm answer to this until they're much closer to launch -- or that it would be a good idea to offer one.
Mass adoption, patches, test cases, design, feedback and money comes only when it reaches crazy adoption and a lot of people hack on it.
That is why it is important for LightTable to release a minimal usable version ASAP and then improve it in further releases.
All this needs a open source set up. A Cathedral set up earlier but a bazaar set up later.
Going for YC is clearly a great starting point for building a scalable business, so I wonder what the business logic will look like. As in genuinely, positively interested to know. :-)
Alternatively, will you be releasing under a commercial license?
For a project like this, the GPL makes the most sense: an IDE needs people who use it and people who contribute to the core project much more than it needs people who use its code in proprietary projects of their own.
As soon as IDE provides extensibility one starts having problems with GPL and it's viral nature with linking.
GPL is forcing IDE into a "sandbox" where the whole distro must be GPL-compatible at the point of distribution. The workaround is often with the expense of user experience where one has to separately install extensions just because of licesnsing.
If I were doing Light Table, I'd use GPL too - It also does not preclude someone from writing their own plugins and selling them as an add-on. I would assume there will be a way for easy/seamless plugin installation into the main program.
No one is taking it as one, but poe's law aside I'm convinced they are wrong.
I don't get it... is your added value simply an illusion?
If they can see what you've changed the code, they should be able to see why and how you added value.
It will be harder to convince customers you've added value if they can see exactly what you've changed.
Sprinkling the GPL on top of a project no one wants anyway does nothing (I say this from experience), and applying it to a popular program just holds it back (by keeping it from getting the cash that people would otherwise pay).
As an end-user, I want to see Light Table take off, and to continue innovating, not to continually engage in campaigns for donations.
I'm keeping my pledge in, though. :-)
When the demo is awesome (but not open to the public) and also the market can be assessed based on early support, someone (who saw the latest demo and the early support) pays for the rest, but what they get is a cut from any potential future cash flows. Now, this, is, neat!!!
Incidentally, this is the problem with Kickstarter - if you want money, don't give me a t-shirt, give me a part of your future profit. Then people who back bad ideas suffer and people who back good ideas profit. As opposed to the current model, where everyone gets a cheap shitty t-shirt and the world gets another worthless r&b record that nobody wants.
(If you're an Android developer who misses some of the features of LightTable, you should look for some tutorials at www.eclipse.org, you'll learn eclipse can already do those and much more)
The GP is likely referring to this sentiment: "I started to realize that Sublime Text seemed to be everything many of us had hoped for in Textmate 2, but in software that was available today in a polished, fully functional version, not a just a rather buggy alpha preview."