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I'm not too happy about Sublime Text 3 (sloblog.io)
112 points by czottmann 1693 days ago | hide | past | web | 117 comments | favorite

I can't imagine a less rewarding product to build than a text editor for programmers. Selling programming tools is an ice-cubes-to-Inuits proposition to begin with. But new text editors demographically appeal to the most entitled, pickiest segment of the programmer market.

Software development has to be one of the only professions where we expect all our tools to be free. And on the off chance we do pay for something, we better get lifetime, monthly updates for free as well.

Seriously, imagine if our clients had the same expectations of the software we wrote.

It wasn't until quite recently in (PC land) that programming tools (namely compilers) were generally free, or even low cost.

In the past you made due with crippled 'Turbo' or 'Quick' versions of the Borland or Microsoft products. $79.99 vs $799.99 for the full-blown version. Some vendors sold C compilers for the price of a used car.

The PC C compiler market had a ton of players: Borland, Watcom, Symantec, Microsoft for 'real projects', while you had low-cost compilers from MIX and Mark Williams and some shareware products as well. You'll be paying extra for things like DOS Extenders, or sound and graphics libraries.

DJGPP came along and gave DOS guys not only a 32-bit DPMI environment but a free compiler!

By that time everyone was moving to Windows (except id software who gave us Quake as one last DOS classic). What did Visual C++ 6.0 cost? Anywhere from a couple hundred to a over a thousand USD depending on what version you got.

Apple makes Xcode freely available, Microsoft has Express editions of their products, and Google makes their Android tools available for download.

Plus, everything else can be had for free. Graphics library? Sound code? Physics engines? Go to Github.

> Apple makes Xcode freely available, Microsoft has Express editions of their products, and Google makes their Android tools available for download.

They do so because their engineers are paid with the money they get from another products.

Developers working on XCode are paid by Apple's margins. Android SDK developers by the licenses Google gets to have their applications on the handsets. Express developers get paid by the amount of Windows and Office installations out there.

Not so easy for the pour souls trying to live just on selling compiler tools.

> Plus, everything else can be had for free. Graphics library? Sound code? Physics engines? Go to Github.

And enjoy the pain of using rote code left behind by developers that lost interest.

I don't expect my tools to be free, but I do expect that if I pay for them, they do a better job than the free competition.

There are a plethora of free editors available. What does $70 get me for Sublime? Now compare to Vim,Emacs,textadept,notepad++,etc. Heck even Visual Studio 2012 Express is free to use all the editors.

  > I don't expect my tools to be free,
  > but I do expect that if I pay for
  > them, they do a better job than the
  > free competition.
That's an odd expectation. Does IIS better job than Apache or Nginx? Does VS do a better job than a standard Unix toolset, (or insert your favorite free developer platform). Does Cold Fusion do a better job than PHP, RoR, etc.? Did Visual Source Safe ever do anything better than anything else? Is Windows better than Linux/Unix?

History is full of commercial software that is not up to the bar set by free alternatives. You're not wxpected to buy any of it, but if you do, you should do some due diligence.

> Does IIS better job than Apache or Nginx?

Depends on the definition of the software's job. Nginx is better at serving web pages, IIS with an expensive support contract is better at shifting the blame away from me when it goes wrong :)

Put it in the cloud? Redhat? If thats the real reason youre using iis i'll eat my hat.

That works the other way too (Microsoft Office, Photoshop...) and people gladly pay for them.

> I don't expect my tools to be free, but I do expect that if I pay for them, they do a better job than the free competition.

Seems like an inverted way of thinking. The price of a products (software, hats, airplanes) is whatever the seller thinks people will be willing to pay. If the competition is free and is better, why are you even considering paying for something that is worse?

I paid $59 for ST2 in order to get ST2, not in order to fulfill some abstract notion of "better than the free competition". Of course, I already knew that the product worked for me, having tested it for several months, which the seller allows, no strings attached. If you buy ST2 based on the mistaken idea that it guarantees "better than the free competition", then you're making a philosophical mistake.

Now that I have paid, what should we expect? Some support, at least. The seller has a moral obligation to maintain and support the product. I think Jon Skinner has failed his customers in that respect; as the OP points out, ST2 development has been stalled for a very long time. I myself have reported a number (4, I think) of bugs that have received zero response.

That's your choice to make. Evaluate it yourself and decide if it's worth the money to you.

I personally think Vim is best for me but it comes with a huge cost of learning - probably into the thousands of dollars if you account for your productive time spent upfront.

Nobody forced you to spend $70 to test drive Sublime - so what's the problem?

> I personally think Vim is best for me but it comes with a huge cost of learning - probably into the thousands of dollars if you account for your productive time spent upfront.

Or free, if you find it de-stressing to unravel the beauty of all the features while sipping on some tea later in the night.

I use Sublime Text every day.

I have not paid for it. It only nags me with a small window about 1/10 of every file save operation. Right now I simply unconsciously close the small dialog box.

Honestly, I prefer it to every one of the others you have mentioned. I used Emacs to program Lisp (and I would not program Lisp in any other way, both are made for each other). I still use vim to edit remote files. I used EditPlus and Notepad++ before.

And I think it still does a better job than the competition, given that to me Sublime Text is also free.

Case in point: try Zen Coding (now renamed to some shit name) in any of the editors. It works, but only Sublime Text gives me a nice live preview of the resulting html/css.

"Software development has to be one of the only professions where we expect all our tools to be free."

I don't expect my tools to be free, but I do expect them to be available. I own Sublime Text 2 but abandoned it as a user and have no plans to upgrade to 3 because I am increasingly doing my programming on platforms (like ARM/Linux) that Sublime Text has no support for.

So I've gone back to using old standby open source editors, not because they are free-as-in-beer but because they are available (even if it means I have to compile them for the target platform myself). And because it is way easy to use the same tool on all platforms rather than constantly mentally mode-switching, I'm using the open source editors even when working on platforms where Sublime Text does work.

Damn straight foo'. And dont you forget it!

More seriously yea I know - ill pay 6bucks for bottled tap water but make me pay 30 for something I use 6+ hours every day, no way!

Hmm somebody took that seriously.. I use ST2 and paid for the license upgrade for ST3 already :|

Specially those that like to use tools developed in the 70's.

Logical conclusion: sell an editor-building kit instead! (emacs)

I recall you saying something similar last time people were hating TextMate because of the version development schedule (or the fact that TM2 was going to be free I think). This is just going to go on forever.

Dear my development comrades, bookmark tptacek's comment and think nice thoughts before complaining about the wonderful text editor that you use day and night (whichever it happens to be).

To boil this down to its salient points: tough it up, get over it?

I would say this is more of the gist: creator of sublime has got his work cut out for him, give him a break.

How many millions of dollars has the developer of Sublime Text made? Less rewarding, yeah right.

Surprising how your nonsensical comments are always voted up. The dumbass herd mind is alive and well at HN.

The "least rewarding" phrase was somewhat hyperbolic, but read the other comments to see how cheap, near-sighted and self-entitled target demographic can be. "I am not paying $70 for the goddamn editor. How is it even better than vim??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!"

Also, ad hominem. Very classy.

True, instead of editors, we could be talking about video games targeted at software developers.


I disagree, a more appropriate retort would be 'baa' in this case :-)

HOW DARE YOU, you statist thug.

Sublime Text 2 doesn't seem any more buggy or any less finished than other software I use. I don't feel like I'm "owed" any updates to it.

EDIT: I haven't followed this ST3 drama at all. If ST3 is better than ST2 then I will upgrade. If it doesn't appear to offer me anything of value, I'll probably stick to ST2 for now. It works quite well for me and since I'm not waiting on any bugfixes or feature requests, I don't really care how often it's updated.

Agreed, I rarely have any problems with it. I'd be curious to know what people think the rough edges are with Sublime 2. Maybe I'm not using all its features, but seems stable enough for my (heavy) use.

That's hardly the point of the post.

Seems to me like that's entirely the point of the post.

I bought a piece of software that I expected to at least receive bug fixes, maybe even some minor improvements here and there, and it is now becoming clear that this isn’t going to happen.

If ST2 is stable and feature complete (and honestly, I use it and believe that it is) then there's nothing to complain about. The author's complaint is that it's being abandoned for version 3 too early.

That's quite exactly the point of the post: "Some people will say that the developer doesn’t owe us anything. In this case, I disagree."

OP doesn't understand that when you buy software (read: "pay to download a stripped binary") without signing a support contract, you're entitled to nothing. If you don't have source, the only thing you can expect is that the binary you have will continue to behave as it did previously, which is "in a manner you don't fully understand" since you haven't read the source code.

I don't understand why people who insist on using non-gratis software think they magically dodged the bullet of the problems inherent in non-libre/non-open-source software, just because some money left their pocket. Accountability doesn't come from some misguided mechanism of "sponsoring development guarantees me fair treatment"; it comes from a community commitment to helping users, or from business contracts which legally require such treatment.

HN has a tendency (related to some cognitive dissonance in the startup scene perhaps?) toward a Randian "good people make money by doing good things" mindset, but what must be understood is that capitalism is a completely amoral system. Buying someone's product does not make you their friend, their ally, or their responsibility. It makes you their customer, and places you in a strictly economic relationship, not one of "trust" or implicit "entitlement". Libre software takes the stance that users should not be screwed over like this and empowers them to avoid such mishaps by giving them the tools to modify the software itself.

So in your opinion open-source is based on a completely cynic view of society and work relationships? I think you hopped on the wrong train of thought.

If I buy an orange from a street vendor, there is implicit trust (it's not bad/poisoned, hasn't been rubbed onto his hairy ass) and entitlement (it must taste good and keep for few couple days); money exchange is the contract.

If it's "based" on anything, the idea behind releasing the source code for software is that you can avoid screwing over your users with binary releases. In the worst case they'll be able to maintain the software themselves if you keel over or cop out.

Money exchange is not a support contract, and street vendors are not legally required to give refunds if you aren't satisfied, as long as they did accurately advertise the product they're selling (an edible orange, or a runnable binary). Many do, since it's arguably in their best interest to have a good reputation, but it isn't out of the goodness of their hearts. That's simply not how a for-profit business works. And if the street vendor decides (like this article's focus) to not provide long-term support for his oranges, that's well within his rights and you'd be a fool to depend on such support if the oranges mean a lot to you.

I was only pointing out the cynism in that last paragraph, not making analogies to the OP/ST. Capitalism in practice is not amoral, it is a system completely intertwined with society. The justice system routinely intervenes in economic transactions and disputes based solely on ethics, morality and intent.


Except for when you buy software with a license. Then that's the contract.

"disclaims any warranty" ... "provided 'as-is'" ...

Doesn't exactly sound like the EULA is promising a point version release schedule.

You are technically correct, and capitalism may be amoral, but people are moral beings, and using amoral systems does not excuse amoral (or immoral) behaviour.

Capitalism allows you to be an asshole, or worse; but it's a moral choice. Bankers cynically spending away people's savings, debt traders cynically betting people's mortgages, insurance companies cynically avoiding payouts because of technicalities, corporations cynically firing workers to optimize profits -- capitalism operates on a playing field where many morally questionable or indefensible actions are perfectly legal.

(I don't know if what you are reacting against is Randian thinking; I'm not an expert on Rand, but if anything, Rand is on the capitalism side, and seems to assume that morality takes care of itself through some Smithian invisible hand combined with an irrational faith in all-powerful people doing the right thing. The OP does not seem like a classic "tech libertarian" to me. Rather, the notion that there must be a humanistic control mechanism to oppose capitalism's inherent unfairness is probably more correctly social liberalism.)

My point: The author of Sublime Text has no legal obligation to support his customers, but there is certainly a moral obligation.

It seems like the author's beef is with the fact that ST2 hasn't really seen any incremental updates, not that ST3 will be a paid upgrade. Honestly, I haven't really had anything to complain about with ST2, but I do understand those hoping for some small updates over time. The biggest concern I have with ST3 is the breaking api changes. These changes will lead to one or more of the following:

1. packages won't be upgraded and will go stale

2. packages will be upgraded and users will be forced to buy ST3

3. package devs will have to maintain separate versions for ST2 and ST3

None of these are very attractive results of the breaking changes coming.

I share your concerns. I'm glad to see ST3 is making the leap to Python 3, though, and that's probably as good a time as any to make other backward-incompatible API changes. I would hope that it should be more stable afterward and that the jump to a hypothetical ST4 would be incremental.

Yeah, this is what worries me, too. I really like the direction ST3 is heading but many of my packages don't yet work for ST3. I'm not sure how this has a "happy" resolution. It's gonna suck for a while.

On the other hand, a clean-up of package control's directory is welcome.

Whew, I thought there was something bad about the product itself.

Licensing? Legacy support? Backward compatibility? You're arguing over the color of the grapes in the desert. Who cares? As long as ST2 keeps working, and ST3 keeps getting better, pay up and stop complaining.

Agreed i recently paid the full 70 (100 own currency). Was happy to see this post was just an empty whinge. Has st2 for 6+ months and complains he has to pay for an upgrade to st3yet is happy to pay a yearly fee. I dont understand at all.

Text editors are complex projects, especially when they're very extensible. As a result code cruft builds up and minor design mistakes become increasingly more painful to work around. So once the creators realize they want to take the editor in a specific direction (e.g. better syntax highlighting, better API hooks, better code completion, whatever) the only realistic route is to make a clean break from the previous version, refactor the architecture as needed and go from there.

This seems to be exactly what's happening with Sublime Text 3. So I'm sticking to ST2 until 3 reaches the point where all my packages work reliably. If that means I have to wait half a year or so that's fine with me. And if this clean break with ST2 paves the road for great versions 4, 5, 6 down the road then all the better.

For me the bottom line is that switching editors really sucks, so I'm far more concerned with the long term future of ST than I am with any individual release or package.

Sheesh, you'd think ST2 was a clunky, worthless mess from all these comments. Amazing how after the announcement of ST3 the previous version is retroactively seen as broken and needing all these updates. I remember when ST2 was HN's golden child. I honestly don't remember any comments along the lines of "well, it _will_ be good someday" but rather "multicursors, minimap, it's awesome you should use it now!"

I've had a license to ST2 for a long time and was impressed with the constant updates. I remember thinking at one point, "Huh, just realized haven't seen an update for a while", but it was more idle curiosity than anything since the editor worked fine for me.

I'm trying out ST3 and am happy enough with it. Not sure if I'll upgrade when it comes time to pay, but I don't feel like a bait and switch was pulled on me.

I use OS X, so maybe the Windows or Linux versions are buggy? I can't just chalk up all the complaints to entitlement, but at the same time my experience with the editor has been so smooth I don't understand the issues others have been having.

I am not an opensource zealot, but there are several kinds of non-opensource software that I try to avoid using for my work (for entertainment is different):

1. My production OS. 2. My language of choice (runtime environment, compiler etc.) 3. My development environment - editor, debugger etc.

Not sticking to this rule is asking for trouble. Anyone ever seen a whole team switch from Visual Studio 2008 to 2010? Enjoy the show and don't forget to bring beer and popcorn...

Good rules to live by, though it is possible to be overly cautious. You may (or may not) find that the improvements that Sublime Text brings to your productivity are worth handing over a little bit of control.

In reality though, whether it's closed-source or not tends to be irrelevant - the Gnome (3) project is a good example of what can happen when an entire project changes its mind on how things can be done, to the dismay of its users.

Yeah, but the source of GNOME 2 is there, and the people who are not happy with ver.3 created several forks. They may or may not be of better quality, but they are there and if on wants to continue living in GNOME 2, (s)he can do so. The situation is not exactly the same with Sublime Text... it is completely at the mercy of its creator...

Changing IDEs might be a big thing, but changing editors is something that many of us do several times a day (quick fix before commiting on Vim, prefer Emacs for Latex, ST for Python, etc).

So basically you want to earn money without paying anything back to the people that allowed to you to buy food?!

Good decision!

I never said "won't give money". I just said "won't use non-opensource". These are two different things, just FYI.

I have paid for opensource software - Red Hat Linux. And would pay again if the paid offer is better than the free one.

Also, I can't help if you feel hurt that I don't pay for emacs and GCC. It's called "collaborative effort for the good of humanity". I respect that and I also try to give something back. I can't always measure exactly "what have I gained" vs. "what have I given in return" and that's fine with me. And I am sure it's also fine with the people who developed my tools. Even if I use them to earn money. Especially if I do so.

If it's not fine with you, go pay for your tools and spend your life measuring guilt. I'm fine with that too.

The main reason I only participate in GPL projects (no LGPL) is exactly because I don't want my code to be used in commercial situations.

I agree with "collaborative effort for the good of humanity" as long as it is not done by getting money with the free work of others.

That is why I always donate for the projects I make use of, taking into consideration that in no other profession people get their tools for free.

I don't think it's possible to measure and avoid the "as long as it is not done by getting money with the free work of others". To get our tools for free is a result of the very nature of the computer and the Internet (copying costs practically nothing).

I think it's absolutely moral to write commercial software by using Emacs. All the people who have collaborated (at least enough to have any impact) have gained commercial rewards for it. For example their work on Emacs has improved their skills, was used on a CV to find work etc. By only using it (making it more popular) I contribute to their commercial success (if they at all try to achieve it). By having donated to the FSF, I contribute even more. Heck, even by having donated to Wikipedia I may have contributed to their commercial success. So no, I absolutely don't have any moral problems with using emacs to write commercial software.

I was unpleasantly surprised by this news as well. I had noticed the relative inactivity of updates on st2 for a while. I probably won't buy 3 because I have zero confidence that the same thing won't happen in a year with st3. Maybe if the plugin ecosystem was close to parity with either a full featured ide or emacs. But neither of those are true :(

> Just give us incremental updates and charge a yearly fee.

Hahahahaha... why do I get a feeling that this guy would've called this a "dick move" too if ST dev did in fact do as he suggested? After all, he paid for the damn software, why should he be paying again some ridiculous annual fee to have this PoS collection of bits fixed over and over again. By the way, isn't it suspicious that fixes never stop. It must be to keep everyone hooked up on the maintenance licensing. Just give us our incremental updates, period.

You get the picture. Once a whiner, always a whiner.

Have you ever heard the term "straw man argument?"

Have you heard of any non-enterprise software that charges annual fee for an access to the updates?

All of the JetBrains products.

Right. Any others?

Point being that this is an unconventional fee model with very little real-world adoption, except for the enterprise market, where it's a norm. So trying to use it outside of that niche is risky. For every person who says that they would pay for the maintenance, there will be a dozen who will be completely pissed by it and won't hesitate to trash the product.

I know him personally, and I can assure you, you are dead wrong.

Thanks for playing, tho.

The big changes in ST3 aren't primarily user facing. Yes, there are some useful new features, but the reason that this is ST3 versus ST2.1 is because of the API changes.

Sublime Text X, which became ST2, started almost 3 years ago. Back then the API used Python 2.6, I imagine largely because that was the stable 2.x branch. 3.x was still bleeding edge, and not built into OS X.

Over time as more developers learned about Sublime Text, the plugin community exploded. Now there were some warts from the very beginning. On Windows, Python 2.x can't import from paths that contain non-ASCII characters. To get around this, Jon had to implement some hacks to get it all to work consistently.

As the plugin community has grown so much, we've found lots of edge cases and run into issues with developing against an aging version of Python. At this point, Python 2.6 is EOL in 7 months. It strikes me that it is a hard, but important choice to break backwards compatibility to fix a number of core issues in ST, but also to jump to a modern version of Python.

Python 3.3 came out just 5 months ago. Jon has rewritten the python bindings and restructured the way packages are imported to allow for importing across plugins. Luckily it isn't that hard to write Python that runs on 2.6 and 3.3, especially with 3.3 adding back in support for u"" strings.

So yes, it is going to continue to be a little while before the plugin community has finished all of the work porting plugins to ST3. There is a list of what already works at https://github.com/wbond/sublime_package_control/wiki/Sublim.... Also, Package Control is fully functional with ST3 now. The last remaining piece before the PC 2.0 release is taking this opportunity to fix some issues with the channel/repo/package structure of Package Control.

That said, this break is positioning Jon and the community to continue to build great stuff that is really useful. So yeah, it kinda sucks, but I have a strong sense users of ST will be much better off in the near future.

Been developing Sublime Text (1 through 2) for about 4, 5 years. In all the time, free updates. After 5 years, switches to a paid upgrade. Is met with this sentiment.

Am I the only one who thinks this is crazy?

By the way, most people are saying that he didn't add all that much functionality to ST3 (and complained about it), now the OP is complaining because he "disappeared for half a year to work on the new version". So some people are angry that he didn't add functionality and charged money, some that he added functionality, but charged for it, but everyone is sure to point out that it's not about the money.

I looked at the 3 feature set, and concluded I don't need it. I'm very happy with ST2 and all the plugins that work with it today.

I have to get s$&#t done every day. I don't need to be upgrading alpha/beta stuff and then waste all day trying to fix broken stuff that used to work. I'm not sure why upgrading to ST3 makes any sense today, unless you a) don't have to get s#*%t done b) are a plugin developer and want to port over to the new editor

Sysadmins get this. You want a service to remain exactly the same for your 4 year deployment and work the whole time. You don't want updates.

I feel the same for my day-to-day work. It better work, it better not change much, and I better like it. ST2 fulfills all those needs, and I expect no updates. The OP may not understand that philosophy, but he should respect it.

It's interesting that this is the same mindset as non-technical consumers. They don't want anything to change, ever, because it breaks their workflow.

I suppose there's a tendency for some to be on the bleeding edge. I suspect everyone has to find their own middle ground. There are areas where we prefer the latest and greatest, and then there are areas where we want stability.

I find that I'm fond of the bleeding edge until it starts to interfere with my work-- though it could probably be argued that it interferes with my work all the time and that I fail to notice because it's routine somehow.

> They don't want anything to change, ever, because it breaks their workflow.

I'm like that. I'm willing to change, but there needs to be a compelling reason.

I think of 'my computer' the same way I do my work area.

If my phone is over -there- one day and the next day it's over _here_ .. it's distracting. I spend all day reaching out with the wrong hand when the phone rings.

Interesting parallel. I think the motivations are actually similar: for both sysadmins and non-tech end users, change is a disruptive thing rather than a desire; what they desire is a stable working product as a means to an end.

It's only high-tech early adopters who see change as a benefit for its own sake.

Has anyone actually encountered an issue with version 2 that would really piss them off that it's not fixed? I rarely encounter problems, and when I do, a quick restart get's everything back to normal. I find myself doing this far less than with other systems (vim, TextMate). Maybe I'm just not a massive plugin user.

My sense is that this writer is just really picky, and somehow equates constant updates with quality.

ST2's first public alpha release was in January 2011 and there was an update about every two weeks.

Six months later, July 2011, the first Beta was released and Jon Skinner said there would be monthly updates now that ST2 was in beta.

True to his word, there's been about an update a month and then in June 2012 the Beta label was dropped. After that, there were a few ST2 updates, mostly fixes, until September 2012. So by no means is ST2 an "unfinished" piece of software. And while I'm sure it has many bugs, that's practically a truism for any piece of complicated software. I personally have not actually noticed any. I wonder if the author has.

My takeaway from all this is that Jon Skinner delivers.

If you want a yearly subscription, well, that's really no different than what Jon Skinner is providing, except that instead of paying once a year, you're paying once every TWO years, if the past is any indication of the future.

Finally, complaining about plugins breaking is like complaining about the Lightning connector on new iPhones. There's a strong list of good reasons to make backward-incompatible changes to the plugin system.

I was expecting to read a criticism of the new version. (I haven't used it myself yet, and I haven't bought ST2 either—I keep using the trial version.)

Instead what I got from this post is that the bugs are being rapidly fixed, and it is a major update for a reason, because of the breaking changes. Well, that's cool.

It reminds me of people bitching that iOS 6 runs slow on iPhone 3Gs. I don't see how abandoning an old version to make something awesome and charge for it is a “dick move”. You paid for it, and you decide whether to pay for the update.

I wouldn't be suprised to learn it was hard to backport some fixes because of the breaking changes, and I don't see anything immoral in deciding it just isn't worth the effort.

I think the point is that the bugs are being fixed in a new paid release, and not in the release many people paid for.

The only thing, imo, that this does is harm the relationship between people developing software who would like to be paid for it and their customers. If you charge people money for something it behooves you to keep releasing fixes and point releases for it regularly, not to disappear and release a paid upgrade with the things fixed that should be part of the current release. I don't know of any legal or moral obligation to do it, but it certainly is a good business move for the ecosystem.

> It reminds me of people bitching that iOS 6 runs slow on iPhone 3Gs.

Yeah, because last release of iPhone was iPhone 3G. And because there were only one bug fixed release of iOS on iPhone 4 and 4S. Oh, wait, that's not true.

if the economics of building tools for developers improves, we will see better tools - that means some way of coming up with recurring revenues that is fair to both the developer and the users. Some previous discussion about this here - http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5266034

100% ACK. Software costs money, I have no problems with that, but the "switch" from ST2 to ST3 was less than graceful.

Did you expect Sublime Text X to work perfectly when it was first released, too?

No, and again, that's not the point the author made.

> I’m more than happy to pay good money for good tools. For something as important as my code editor, I’d even pay a yearly subscription fee if it means the developer can keep churning out updates.


> I can totally live with an unfinished and slightly buggy piece of software being labelled as “final” and released as Sublime Text 2.0, but going off the grid for almost half a year and then completely abandoning that version branch, putting all efforts into 3.0 – a paid update – instead, is simply a dick move.

Key points here: "I’d even pay a yearly subscription fee", "going off the grid".

I totally agree with this:

> Seriously – I don’t care about “2.0” or “3.0”. Just give us incremental updates and charge a yearly fee. Everybody wins.

I've built a web-based text editor which I sell for a yearly subscription. What I like about this pricing is that the contract is clear:

1. The user pays a fee and expects 1 year of support

2. Developer gets paid and must support the software for 1 year

If I get bored, I can stop taking orders and shut down after 1 year.

I'm happy with Sublime Text 2.

Totally. Works without breaking, packages do all I need to.

I see no reason to upgrade to ST3 for the time being, 2 seems to do all I need, and I've never been an early adopter, mainly to avoid compatibility issues.

I felt the same way with the author.

When Sublime Text 2 was in development, the developer gets to keep working on then somewhat buggy editor because of early adopters. It was the first editor I bought because I truly believe its potential. At the time the developer made update and bug fix almost every month.

Then once it was released, only one bug fix released was made and then no update or news were made until Sublime Text 3 was announced. And don't tell me there's absolutely nothing that can be updated/fixed in Sublime Text 2.

Basically the developer of Sublime Text is telling me I'm a sucker for supporting him during development, the time others software developer would still have to eat on their own budget.

May be I'll buy Sublime Text 3 in the future if it still has all the key feature I love. But this time I'm not gonna be an early adopter because that's how the developer has shown me how I should treat him.

The only thing that bothers me about ST development is that Jon doesn't give much feedback to the community about his plans for ST, or about "ST philosophy", etc. In that sense I miss feeling "he hears" us.

But that works for him: he probably wants to avoid making any promises.

I get that once you buy a product you have to have a reasonable expectation of use out of it, but what you're paying for is that tool on that day. You're not paying for ensured long term updates, and we don't own the developers time. If he wants to move his focus onto a new major release with an upgrade cost then so be it, if you've gotten a year of use out of Sublime for $50 or however much it is you've had an exceedingly good product for exceedingly cheap. ST3 is in ridiculously early beta, if it's not working right right now then don't use it, it's not like ST2 has died or has had features removed.

> but what you're paying for is that tool on that day.

Well, not exactly with Kick Starter project. And, I believe, most people bought Sublime Text 2 when it was in beta, giving funds to develop the tool to what it was today.

> ST3 is in ridiculously early beta, if it's not working right right now then don't use it

Yep, I was a sucker once for buying ST2 when it was in beta, helping the developer to make a living developing it full-time. This time I'll just treat him how he wanted to be treated, like other software product, let him deal with his financial problem himself until he release the software.

Actually you weren't, you were actively supporting the development and helping ST2 get to where it is. Kudos to you. However, it's beta software and if it doesn't work it's beta software, you've got the opportunity to say things aren't working or features aren't right. You're not only investing in the development of the product, you're also getting the chance to be involved in making it the product you want.

Needing money to pay bills is a financial problem we all have as well. He's not doing this to be the popular guy, he's doing it to make a product he loves and keep the lights on.

I came in here to say just use Vim, the fact that the author thinks it might not be productive shows he didn't really put too much effort into learning it.

Then I read the footer about the note to vim suggesters, and I'm just saying this anyway.

Very few editors have impressed me as much as ST2 has. I have no issue in him bringing out a new version and as far as I can tell ST2 has been feature complete, never causing me any issues. I don't begrudge the guy wanting hold off fixing non-critical 'bugs' that are not present in the next version of a product due to the new implementation. There just is no point.

The only issue I have had is with a certain plugins, but most of the plugins can be forked, fixed and pulled.

My only concern is the move to Python 3.3 which will break a lot of plugins. Again fork and fix if you can or stick with ST2 until the plugin is fixed.

> Just give us incremental updates

Incremental change tends to suck all the joy of developing when you know something could be done better by a refactor but you still have to work incrementally to not have any breaks and delays and keep the customers satisfied. If you really do something because you love doing it and not just for the money, you must say "fuck the customers" once in a while - I'd prefer such a guy working on the software I use because in the end it just means he cares about that piece of software, so regardless of the bumpy ride, things will be for the better further on...

Curious, so now it's Sublime's turn to take a battering over version development?


Eh, it's the old "I paid for your product X and I implicitly expected to get Y as well" problem again.

We've had those before, you see, and the point is - unless something's explicitly promised, calling it a dick move when you don't get it is funny. I've been funny like that myself a few times before, but in the end I learned the lesson:

You only get what you are explicitly promised, and if you don't want to be treated like that, then don't pay for the product and use free alternatives.

Also, stop disparaging tools you don't use.

Interesting post. ST2 has a lot of good ideas but need to be a lot more polished. When you compare ST2 to Textmate, you really feel the difference in features but also unfortunately in global feeling about the app. The devil is in the details.

I agree ST3 breaking retro compatibility won't help. It seems more a personal development preference than real features/stability improvement. The only major diff is the shift to python 3 and it's still controversial in the python community.

Why is this front page news? And what is the "stunt," exactly?

I am truly enjoying ST3. I have been using ST2 or ST3 for about 60-70 hours per week for eight-ish months. I find ST3 significantly faster than ST2, and I have been surprised at how few bugs I've encountered. The new features, such as the global symbol and definition finders, work very well.

The program is not that expensive. The upgrade is not that expensive. And no one can expect endless support for a particular version of a product.

I've used ST2 for a year now and have never experienced a single bug. He's fixed any major bugs within a few days and the initial release he was pretty much working 24/7 to get minor fixes out the door (just look at the release log for 2.x).

This post just sounds like someone is cranky they are being forced to pay for the newest and greatest software. Just look at VS, every single new release costs more money.

And when did he say he wasn't supporting ST2 anymore? lol

What about Textmate? I really havent heard a lot about it after releasing the source. Looking at the repository it seems there is active development but I kind of expected a bit more. The last blog post for example is from october. Its a very good foundation for building one of the most important tools for developers yet no big and active community gathered around it.

Come on, not everything is for free.

A lot of you prefer ST over all the free or cheaper alternatives out there. At least I do, and that's why I can live with the fact of paying somebody 30 bucks to continue the development (for another year, or two?) of an awesome piece of software that I use daily.

I always thought plugin incompatibility was really more about moving from python 2.7.x to 3.x. This is a fairly huge problem that the python community is just starting to get traction on and I am glad to see ST taking the more difficult but ultimately correct upgrade path.

I've never been a fan of Sublime Text because it doesn't feel like a native Mac app. They lost me when they made the preferences command open a window to edit a settings file. Both BBEdit (still my favorite) and TextMate feel much more native & user friendly.

> (Dear “just use vim lol” trolls – and I know you’re reading this: I’ll switch to vim the very second I truly believe it will make me more productive. Promise!)

I'd be interested in why he believes this isn't currently the case.

I'm not the author, but for me, I don't like keyboard shortcuts outside of the obvious (cut, paste, and the like - the stuff that's the same on every app). And I do like to use a mouse (I know - the horror), so I find vim's UI distracting.

This is my main issue with ST2. It's missing various features that I consider to be almost key for my workflow.

I'm stuck running code from the terminal because of the limitations of build systems in ST2. There's a nasty and supposedly un-fixable bug on Linux where the menu bar is always visible. When I install on any distro that isn't using a popular desktop environment, anything meant to open in browser doesn't work until I make some changes. The folder names in config are all uppercase and include spaces.

I'd love to fix these things. I can't, so I expect to find myself on vim in the near future.

Jetbrains is doing the yearly fee model. It works pretty well.

I've started a migration to vim and although I still use ST2 for work, it's just a matter of weeks before I completely switch over.

ST2 works just fine. I have not hit any major bugs since latest betas. It's worth the money, still functional. What is the problem?

I have switched to ST3 from ST2 and all of the plugins that I use work fine.

this blog post feels contradicting to me. if you paid for sublime 2 - you get your incremental updates as sublime 3. if you haven't paid for sublime 2 you don't have any right to demand updates for it.

Blog posts like these are interesting but do they really belong on Hacker News? The author's complaints are half-hearted and even contradictory (beta software doesn't have proper upgrade path for prior stable versions? how is that surprising?).

Furthermore the sense of entitlement is a little obscene, especially since it's clear the author knows that he paid for a license but he doesn't acknowledge that there is no SLA or any guarantee of software maintenance.

"Furthermore the sense of entitlement is a little obscene"

Really? The author's criticism is constructive says he's perfectly willing to pay a yearly subscription fee as opposed to Sublime Text's current revenue model, which is to whack you over the head for money at arbitrary intervals if you wish to stay current.

In fact, since Sublime Text's major point releases have been more than 12 months apart, he's actually stating that he's willing to give Sublime Text's author money more frequently than he does today. If that's "entitlement" then I need some more "entitled" clients.

"especially since it's clear the author knows that he paid for a license but he doesn't acknowledge that there is no SLA or any guarantee of software updates whatsoever."

This is awfully disingenuous, especially on a tech-oriented site like HN.

When programmers choose a development tool (particularly a text editor) they're investing time and/or money in not just the editor itself but the ecosystem around the editor - the plugin community, frequency of updates to the editor itself, etc.

"When programmers choose a development tool (particularly a text editor) they're investing time and/or money in not just the editor itself but the ecosystem around the editor - the plugin community, frequency of updates to the editor itself, etc."

One year after ST2 stop development, or even more years afterward, I will probably still be using it. It's stable and since the API is documented and likely not to change then the community will likely continue to persist. It is extraordinarily stable.

That's not to say I don't care for new versions and I will definitely use ST3 and above well into the future as well, but I don't forsee the ways we program (or the tools we use) changing for some time and I think it's amazing that ST2 will probably stand the test of time as one of the better alternatives to other closed-source editors.

ST2 is definitely really stable.

What do you use ST2 for? I use it for coding, primarily for the web, so in a large sense ST2's value for me depends on package creators keeping the various packages updated for the ever-evolving world of web standards and frameworks.

It seems unrealistic to me to think that a significant number of package creators will continue to support ST2 after ST3 is released.

Of course, not everybody uses ST2 in ways that depend on it being kept up-to-date with changing tools and standards. For those people, no real loss when a lot of the package creators move on to ST3 or something else.

says he's perfectly willing to pay a yearly subscription fee

I don't know the author at all, but such claims generally deserve skepticism: It's easy to proclaim how grandly generous one would be if only another party did x, y and z.. We see that here, just as the same dubious claim appears in every single piracy discussion.

I don't know him and he doesn't explicitly say so in his post, but it sure sounds like he paid for ST2, which costs $70.

Rings a little truer to me than some kid in a college dorm with a cell phone full of pirated mp3s.

I do know him personally, and he usually puts his money where his mouth is. (We both paid for ST2.)

I'm kinda baffled that in every discussion that mentions ST3 upgrade and lack of bug fixes for ST2 words like "entitlement" are showing in the discussion. There has always been an implicit agreement between software developers and customers that they are at least put effort into fixing bugs and releasing those fixes as non-paid point releases. If the rules are changing (I'm not saying that they are, but comments like this seem to suggest that) then maybe software developers should state clearly on their page that they are not planning on releasing free bug-fix updates. It seems like something I'd like to know before I actually pay for software.

Some people are commenting that ST2 works great for them, and they don't see any bugs, but AFAIR in the ST3 announcement comment thread on HN someone has been writing on how he had to work around crasher in ST2 that has not been fixed after ST2 stable release.

Before I go off on this tangent: I own a license to ST2 but use VIM. I have no intention of buying ST3 and thus have no skin in the game.

  Blog posts like these are interesting but do they really belong on Hacker News?
Why wouldn't they belong on Hacker News?

First, the ecosystem is designed in such a way that "popular" or "interesting" content (disclaimer: this may not include things you find interesting) get bubbled up so others can discover it. If it truly didn't belong on the site, it would just get buried.

Second, I'd wager that a decent percentage of the reader-base either use or have considered using Sublime Text. This information is thus relevant to them.

Third, it's about a startup (makers of ST), a business decision, and a customer's response to that decision. That basically reads "hacker news" moreso than a lot of the content I see get bubbled up.

  Furthermore the sense of entitlement is a little obscene...
The author prefaced this by declaring that he doesn't mind having to pay for an upgrade. He even advocated for a subscription plan. His issue is with the way they handled the whole process.

Unlike anything else, when you buy software it contains issues and bugs. You do so knowingly with the caveat that the vendor will continue to address those problems. This agreement, whether in SLA form or unspoken, is what enables software companies to actually ship products.

If a company chooses to cease support before an expected time frame is up in favor of building a new, isolated version without backwards compatibility then there will undoubtedly be upset customers. This is especially true for products that have an ecosystem built around them.

> Blog posts like these are interesting

They are?

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