TL;DR: Reflecting on the last 25 of Octave, it's been a great
experience. I would love to continue as the Octave BDFL but I also
need to find a way to pay the bills.
It's hard to believe that almost 25 years have passed since I started
the Octave project. It's been a great experience. I've met many
interesting and talented people along the way. I'm grateful for
everyone who has made Octave the successful project that it is
today. There is no way that the project would be as successful as it
is without their many contributions.
As I've said many times, I thought the project would last a year or
two. I never intended for it to be a career, but now it is hard to
imagine doing anything else. There are still many projects I would
like to tackle. I want to continue refactoring the interpreter so
that it is easier to understand, simpler to work with, and more
reliable. I want to improve the performance of the interpreter and
make the GUI more useful. I'd love to be able to devote my full
attention and energy to these projects for as long as I am able.
But I must also face the reality of my financial situation. For the
last 8 years I have been almost able to pay my expenses by offering
support contracts. Recently though, the balance has shifted in the
wrong direction so that I am using personal savings to maintain my
ability to contribute to Octave development.
There seems to be no way to avoid it any longer: I need to find a way
to generate significant funding for my work on Octave or find a
(non-Octave) job. So this is where you come in. If Octave is useful
to you, or if you believe that Octave is an important project, then I
need your help to keep going.
If you think Octave is worthy of a few (or many!) dollars, I would be
glad to make a fair trade of dollars for continued development,
improvements, and support. I would be grateful for any direct
donations, payments for support contracts, or for specific
improvements to Octave. Whatever works for you.
You can fund my work directly by following the link to PayPal on
or, if you are in the United States and a tax-deductible donation is
important to you, you can contribute to the Octave project through the
Free Software Foundation here:
or, if you have support needs that are not being met, then please
contact me and I would be glad to discuss options with you.
Alternatively, I would be grateful for any leads you might have for
 Almost 400 at last count:
On 02/08/2017 04:24 PM, [hidden email] wrote:
Octave friends, developers, and occasional users,
This is serious. We owe John a lot for starting this project so many years ago, and for being the Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL) that he is. If you have been to an Octave Conference, you will have heard him say that the median number of developers for a community-supported software project is 1. In other words, most projects never expand beyond the original author, and after a few months or years the updates stop and the project dies. That has not happened under John's watch. Instead, Octave has grown, attracted more coders, implemented a GUI, and is now holding conferences internationally.
Solving a problem by yourself is hard, but solving a problem together is easy. The Octave Community needs to work together to come up with something that allows John to continue doing what he does best: coding and leading Octave.
In addition to the suggestions he wrote, I think users should check with their employers to see if there is any IT budget for software maintenance. Octave is a ridiculously good value, even if they have to pay something for it.
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