Why I develop software

A few days ago I received a message which started like this:

Hello Nuno,

First of all THANK YOU for the Ninja!

In this email I'd like to report a bug and make few suggestions. I hope you don't mind that I'm writing directly to you instead of posting my comments and suggestions on the forum, but I do not have any direct access to internet (see the explanation at the end of this email).


And the message was very complete regarding the reported bug and proposed features, ending with the explanation of why he had no direct access to the internet:

I do not have any direct access to internet. I'm living in Himalayan Heights (23000 feet. altitude) in Northern India at an ashram. To send/receive emails or to get some files/webpages downloaded from the nearest internet cafe a courier from the ashram has to travel 2 hours (1 hour by foot and 1 hour by car).
Here in India at the internet cafes viruses abound - people do not take care of virus prevention, so proper antivirus and programmes like Ninja are a must.

Please let me know when you'll fix the bug I've mentioned and/or implement the above suggestions.

With best wishes,

Marek

This message hit me like a slap in the face for several reasons. Can you imagine how life is for someone living at 23 000 feet (~7000 meters) of altitude and need to worry about viruses that run around on pendisks?

Or using a collective email box to where all messages need to have the name of the person at the title so that someone can collect and deliver them by hand just like paper mail?

These and many other questions filled my mind and sparkled a deep introspective questioning of the reasons why I first began developing software.

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When I was young, internet was no option. To solve some trouble with a program you would have to think hard about a programming solution if none was available. Things were not easy but they were "doable" and I always succeeded in finding a way sooner or later (while learning a lot).

Nowadays, one takes everything for granted. It became too easy to google and find whatever someone might have done.

This way you save your time and intelectual effort. Marek is against all odds making an effort to improve the tools at his reach and made an effort to contact the author with very valuable feedback instead of resignating to these limitations like many others do.

Funny, but reading the whole context of his message I somehow remembered a bit like I was some years ago. Working in really difficult conditions to get online using dial up modems connected on top of other VPN's just to see the internet page working.

And I was happy this way.

So happy that I finally had a chance to publish my software in the open field, so happy that my goal wasn't money nor personal recognition. It was all about giving back a little of so much knowledge that had been given to me for free by a multitude of other folks in the internet.

Grattitude was the reason why I began developing software for the internet audience.

And the idea of making available a software title, carried with me the notion that I should be responsible to improve and make it as adjusted as possible to real life usage.

Deeply commited to the intention of making software that would somehow help other people without expecting anything in return.

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These last few years made me proud. Many projects with success, many happy users, many new developments, but, along this way I somehow forgot my own roots and removed from memory the reasons that made me choose this path in the first place.

This "proud" feeling turned me into a person who barely listens with attention what others have to say (like jaclaz's opinion about the boot land's visual or PSC's request of a forum for NativeEx) and quickly forgets things like working on the new site for Kare. Or even letting the Ninja users stuck with a 1.5 version that isn't updated over a year now along many other things.

I'm nowhere proud of this.

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When I was a kid one of my innocent dreams would be creating something capable of changing the world a little bit. This message from India is a wake up call reminding me of how far this dream has reached reality in the present days.

Let there be Ninja 2.0!

:)