Response to "Do you love your H/PC or not" by Clinton Fitch
A reply to "Do you love your H/PC or not?" by Clinton Fitch posted on ClintonFitch.com January 23, 2004 and a continuation of Chris Tilley HPC:Factor "motion seconded" posted January 24, 2004. A very interesting, courageous and unfortunately true topic that I would like to support also.

It is long now that it itch me to speak about this topic, not that I was not enough courageous to do it, but in my mind this should not start from me.
Why? Well... having written some shareware for j7xx machines, if I complain about the "non success" of the number of licences that I have sold, people may think that I am "upset" about this fact. And to be honnest, I am not upset but disappointed. I have written them for two reasons: the first one, thinking that the community may find them useful, the second one, to help me maintain my web site (which cost me). I have already exchange few messages in the past about this topic, so this is not something new. 

Effectively, SoftMaker have posted few months ago about continuing development on the Handheld PC. I may imagine what has been the result. The same with "PocketDraw" application or the really wanted "Fm201" driver to hear radio on a pda (between others). The result of the number of responses they received was a pitty and they decided to not support HPCs. Unfortunately they are right, because the difference between a commercial company and a developer like me is that they can't pay a developer for nothing.

Strange... it seems there is a need and that HPC community is not dead in term of number of users. My web site is well visited and I received a lot of emails. Some statistics show that certain software are mainly downloaded. But downloaded do not mean buyed.

Also, we see that there is a need. Because of the missing new HPC developments or support and maintenance, users try to hack or use fake PocketPC libraries in order to take benefit of the huge PocketPC applications that exist. In forums, we read about users asking for free licences or to received a full version. What is that... I do not want to make the morals, but all that is contributing to the death of HPCs and the only faulties are users, sorry to say that.

I have created my pages to help users and direct them with a huge amount of links to the authors pages. Again, the strangest thing is that I receive a huge amount of emails asking me to solve problems which in fact should be normally solved by the author itself. I answer with pleasure to all the emails, but don't you think that if the author receive the email for a problem or a suggestion, he will see an interest for its application and will be encouraged to continue?

Commercial, shareware, freeware? What ever is the type of the application, we have to play the rule or we have to stop complaining. But HPCs community is complaining but do not want to play the rule. As Chris writes in its "motion seconded" this situation may exists because of "GNU`s Not Unix! General Public License" (GNU GPL) that he call 'Linux Mentality'. We have also to consider another point of vue for the reason that push a developer to write a freeware instead of a shareware; making an application available brings a lot of problems: users list, maintenance, distribution, publicity, bugs, improvments (all that takes a lot of time). As freeware, the author has no obligation to take in account the above and he spare a lot of time.

I do not want to make comparisons, but I never have had this feeling with Psion community for example. It was (and certainly still is) very often that a developer offers to another developer a free licence as a share and users play the rule buying licences. The prove is that Psion machines are discontinued, but new applications and releases are issued every weeks. Why it should not be the same with HPCs under CE?

As conclusion I would say that will and passion are sometime not enough and time to time encouragements may help. Last year I have released five applications in three months, then I suddenly stop. Why do you think?
For the first anniversary of my pages I have received ten messages, this is a little bit discouraging. I am not complaining about myself; I have learned a lot using my machine and with my pages, so I am happy. But this certainly happend to a lot of developers who have had a different reaction and now the situation is the one we know.

And "yes" I am able to answer Clinton's four questions.