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The present and the future of Window Maker

Dear John H. Robinson, IV,

I like to read your ambition schedule described here: http://lists.windowmaker.info/user/msg00055.html. Now let me tell what I think about the present and the future of Window Maker...

I follow Window Maker home page from time to time and I don't see any progress. Yes, I know. You answer to the questions about website that you don't edit it. But you get a roadmap. You could tell the guys handling web interface to put some information on the main page from time to time. The newest note on that page has over 14 months and says: ``windowmaker.info has been brought online as of early July, 2008. We are currently working on reimplementing the site in a more modern, safe fashion, while at the same time restoring all services required for development and communication''. Similar information is on Wikipedia page of Window Maker. It doesn't look like the project is alive. It isn't difficult to write every three months a short note describing the progress of the work on the project and to put it on the home page. Let the people know that the project still lives.

I follow developer list and I see the plans are ambitious. I see too new forks growing from the main CVS. I see everything but the end of these activities. The last version of Window Maker was released four years ago. In the world of computing it's the whole generation (or maybe three). I used for a few months Window Maker version 0.92.1pre. It worked flawlessly. The only bug I found was Info window announcing version 0.92.0. In my opinion version 0.92.1pre was a pretty good candidate to release it officially. It's good idea to release a new version of the program at least once a year. Let the people know that the project still lives.

Someone above complained about the lack of a file manager for Window Maker. In fact there were at least three such projects: FSViewer, WMfinder and GWorkspace. Now FSViewer is dead, WMfinder disappeared from the Internet and GWorkspace uses a strange installer. Old Window Maker users use Midnight Commander and don't need any graphical file manager. But the new breed of users considers Midnight Commander strange and uncomfortable. They need GUI. File manager isn't very urgent project but I think you could add it at the end of your schedule.

As I said at the beginning your schedule is ambitious. Schedule described on windowmaker.info is ambitious too. It seems to me you are too ambitious. If you can't release full new version every year, release instead of it 0.92.1pre1, 0.92.1pre2, 0.92.1pre3 etc. And put a few sentences on the home page every three months. Fixing bugs and coding new features are great fun. But you don't do it just for fun but also for users. The project without users hasn't sense.

I'm LinuxQuestions.org member. Reading and writing posts there I met only two or three Window Maker users except me. The new breed of power users uses Xfce or Fluxbox but not Window Maker. Almost nobody uses it because from users' point of view that project is dead. From your point of view it's alive but you don't manage that project for yourself only so you should take into consideration users' opinions. The project is strong when it has a lot of users. It has a lot of users when it's alive. What to do to make Window Maker alive I described above.

I wrote these bitter words because I'm worry about the future of Window Maker. As yet people and things disappear. First disappeared Window Maker users. Next the entire http://dockapps.org/. Dockable applications are an essence of Window Maker. They make it unique. Users love them. I hope you'll help in make them accessible soon by encouraging maintainers of dockapps.org or by taking control over these tiny programs.

Your sincerely,

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