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In the case of the budding author, many times the applications are sent out as
freeware because the author is new to programming and may be a bit shy about charging
for his work. Maybe it is a bit of insecurity when it comes to placing a dollar
value on it so he just lets it out as freeware. Another reason may be the authors
fundamental belief that software should always be free.
As the budding authors gained experience many have stayed the course and others
may have decided that they can move into the coding for pay arena. These are both
laudable goals but I am here today to remind us all of the value these people have
brought to our tables.
If you look around, you'll find that there are some very experienced authors
that have served us also. They have provided some extremely well done programs and
yet they ask nothing in return. Why you ask? Let's look at one of the better known
examples of an indispensable author for OS/2 software that distributes some very
important tools to us for free. Henk Kelder is our shining example.
When version 2.0 came out, Henk started hacking the INI's because, he says, "they
became so very large on my machine." That was how CHECKINI was born. How did
he decide to release it as freeware? He really didn't. A colleague of Henk's released
it (more or less without his knowledge) via fidonet to the public and a star was
Was this a problem? Did Henk really want to market CheckIni? As it turns out,
that was fine with Henk. "I didn't want to get any obligations with my software.
It's a hobby and it should stay that. I always felt that when I asked money for
it, I would be obliged to maintain the software and respond to any question."
This sounds like someone who doesn't want to keep it all up to date and have
to answer all the email but that is not the way it is with Henk. Even though he
didn't want to have the obligation, he treats it like it is. It is still updated
quite often along with his other tools and Henk still tries to answer questions
too although he says that it is, "Sometimes too much for me to handle properly."
So why does he do it? Why do all the work, answer all the emails and do it all
for free? In the end he says, "Of course it gives a good feeling to know my
software is helping people. It is probably my main motivation.... It doesn't differ
much from the 'professional' software I write for the company I work for (Cap Gemini
in the Netherlands). I find it very satisfying to write something I see that adds
something for users..."
We see the result of his work but have we ever stopped to think about how amazing
it is that someone like Henk has spent untold hours figuring this all out, automating
the process and then offering it up to us?
Take a minute to look at your desktop and count the freeware apps you are using.
Look at the lineup of programming talent that has come together under the banner
of OS/2 Netlabs <http://www.netlabs.org>?
There are many authors like this and they all contribute to the well being of our
We owe each of these people, at the very least, a well deserved "Thank you"
note and to let them know how much we appreciate their work. It is a feather in
their hat to have someone tell them how valuable "xxx" application has
been to us and how much we appreciate it. This helps you too... It inspires the
author to be at the top of his game because he knows he has people appreciative
and perhaps even depending on his work.
Why do they do it? My guess is that they all have a common affinity for OS/2
and better yet... they are willing to do something to make it better for all of
us. Let's not forget to thank them...
Henk's Homepage can be found at http://www.os2ss.com/information/kelder/index.html.