Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

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dak
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Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

dak

Hi,

we are nearing the end of the year, and, uh, it looks like I could make
use of some of the spirit of giving.

As you can see from the accompanying report, the current number of
people supporting my work on LilyPond financially is on the decline:
while there are a few large donors, many of them actually have done so
much for LilyPond in other ways that it is embarrassing I am dependent
on their continued _large_ contributions.

So taking some of the load off them will not just express your gratitude
towards the work I do myself on LilyPond but also towards them.  It
would be fabulous if I could get along well with mostly "small"
donations in the monthly €15-€25 range, but that requires quite a few
more who are willing to pitch in.

Think about it.  You can ask me for my SEPA bank account number (SEPA
order should be the cheapest variant within the Euro zone), this mail
address is registered at Paypal, and you can use the account number
1Kw7HZMd8L52BCL9vEjSxdPG4p3phRvtQF for Bitcoin transfers.

There is still a lot LilyPond is in need of doing, I am pretty positive
that 2.18 will be out before Christmas, and I am responsible for a large
part of the developments even though the majority of contributions and
of organizational tasks and efforts and translation work and user help
and so on is done by volunteers working in their spare time.

But one person who just works on LilyPond can make a difference.  Can we
keep this up?

Thanks for your help!

--
David Kastrup

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

janek.lilypond
Hi,

2013/11/29 David Kastrup <[hidden email]>:
> There is still a lot LilyPond is in need of doing, I am pretty positive
> that 2.18 will be out before Christmas, and I am responsible for a large
> part of the developments even though the majority of contributions and
> of organizational tasks and efforts and translation work and user help
> and so on is done by volunteers working in their spare time.
>
> But one person who just works on LilyPond can make a difference.  Can we
> keep this up?

To anyone who's not very familiar with the current situation and would
like to get an idea about how important David's work is for LilyPond:
i suggest to look at the list of fixed issues since last stable
release:
http://code.google.com/p/lilypond/issues/list?can=1&q=status%3AVerified&colspec=ID%20Type%20Status%20Stars%20Owner%20Patch%20Needs%20Summary&num=550&start=0
As you can see, it appears that David ([hidden email]) is doing abou
as much as the rest of the development team combined!

best,
Janek

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

Mike Solomon

On Nov 30, 2013, at 12:06 AM, Janek Warchoł <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> 2013/11/29 David Kastrup <[hidden email]>:
>>
>> But one person who just works on LilyPond can make a difference.  Can we
>> keep this up?
>
> As you can see, it appears that David ([hidden email]) is doing abou
> as much as the rest of the development team combined!
>

I would argue that the point that Janek brings up above is not a healthy sign for LilyPond development.  Several developers, including myself, have lowered their participation considerably over the past two years.

In my opinion, it would benefit LilyPond, and David too, if there were more skilled volunteer developers working on the project.

Cheers,
MS
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dak
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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

dak
Mike Solomon <[hidden email]> writes:

> On Nov 30, 2013, at 12:06 AM, Janek Warchoł <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> 2013/11/29 David Kastrup <[hidden email]>:
>>>
>>> But one person who just works on LilyPond can make a difference.  Can we
>>> keep this up?
>>
>> As you can see, it appears that David ([hidden email]) is doing abou
>> as much as the rest of the development team combined!

Going by commits, it's more like 30-40%, and I tend to break issues into
quite more commits than most contributors.  So while I'm unsurprisingly
the largest _single_ contributor (everybody else works mostly in his
spare time), "as much as the rest of the development team combined"
would be quite an exaggeration even if we talk just about committed
lines of code.  But that does not take into account a lot of other
important work that is going on for keeping LilyPond alive.

> I would argue that the point that Janek brings up above is not a
> healthy sign for LilyPond development.  Several developers, including
> myself, have lowered their participation considerably over the past
> two years.
>
> In my opinion, it would benefit LilyPond, and David too, if there were
> more skilled volunteer developers working on the project.

The main problem for letting skilled volunteers work effectively to the
benefit of the project is the state LilyPond's code base is in.  Then
there are the tools, and the work dynamics.

If you take a look at

commit 7d3d28de0ce6e2f018aff599cecd944d1754fe3c
Author: Mike Solomon <[hidden email]>
Date:   Thu Jan 10 08:54:12 2013 +0100

    Makes all side-positioning based on skylines instead of boxes.

via the tracker
<URL:http://code.google.com/p/lilypond/issues/list?can=1&q=7d3d28de0ce6e2f018aff599cecd944d1754fe3c>
then you'll find its core issue in 2.17.10, and followup problems in
2.17.15, 2.17.25, 2.17.26, 2.19.0.

For one thing it means our reviews and the underlying infrastructure
don't work out well when people apply them as they understand them.

For another, it means that LilyPond's architecture is becoming
increasingly fragile: improve one corner, and four distant corners
crumble under unforeseen consequences.  At some point of time we are
running into an equilibrium where any change will cause a chain of
repercussions that does not really die down in a sane amount of time.

When we arrive there, more skilled volunteer developers working on the
project don't really achieve more.

The backend is a mess, with simple-closures, pure-unpure containers,
cross-staff flags and other cryptic stuff with strange interactions that
only few people can tamper with while causing only moderate damage to
existing functionality.

There are some subsystems which are surprisingly independently
maintainable, like the MIDI system.  But that partly also means that
they are not actually well-integrated with LilyPond's data structures
and concepts.  The various output format backends don't make a whole lot
of sense to me, but they are also somewhat independent.

So there would be some room for people specializing on some things, and
there is a lot that could be done even without messing with a whole lot
of other things.

A Cairo backend would be a mostly independent endeavor.  Fast rendering
interfaces would be mostly independent.  Work on Emacs modes would be
completely independent (Frescobaldi is a whole independent UI project).

GUILEv2 migration is sorely needed, and would be a mostly independent
project even though it touches quite a bit of code all over the place.

It is clear that our development cycles have not worked out well.  It's
taken probably 9 months at least from the time we wanted to go for
releasing 2.18 to now, and it has been frustrating to people.

If we take a look at Linux development for comparison, the "merge
window" for a new version is open two weeks, then it takes months to get
to release quality.  That's a linear development model at the core, but
widely distributed code tested and merged in different combinations in a
host of repositories.  Nonlinear is, for example, GCC, where work
commences on several branches but done mostly centralized.

LilyPond is not modular enough to work well with the Linux methods where
Linus Torvalds merges patches at an insane rate (he probably merges more
patches on a hard work day than I produce in the whole year).

Work in the GCC style where work is done on unstable branches only makes
sense when people see their changes through to a state where they don't
cause lots of problems, both as genuine bugs and more importantly as
impediments to further development.

We have basically the situation that a month of initial work comes with
followup costs before a stable release is reached.  That's more or less:

month of documentation -> half a month of translation
month of frontend work -> month of bug fixes
month of backend work -> four months of bug fixes

and so on, for different parts there is a different amount of followup
work that is necessary.  Working on several parallel branches without
taking this into account will get us in the situation where the
unstability just runs off and does not get back into releasability.

Now the frontend ratio is where it is not really because of the fabulous
state of it (though it is slowly improving) but rather because of a
continually available expert with the tools and mechanisms used for it.

The backend is much less coherent, so expertise is harder to acquire,
people tend to work with partial knowledge, and progress is a lot more
fragile.  We need to get those four months down, and yes, a shouting
match is not going to help.  What will help is refactoring and
rearchitecturing, and that needs people with a thorough programming
background.

--
David Kastrup

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

janek.lilypond
In reply to this post by Mike Solomon
2013/11/30 Mike Solomon <[hidden email]>:

>
> On Nov 30, 2013, at 12:06 AM, Janek Warchoł <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>>
>> 2013/11/29 David Kastrup <[hidden email]>:
>>>
>>> But one person who just works on LilyPond can make a difference.  Can we
>>> keep this up?
>>
>> As you can see, it appears that David ([hidden email]) is doing abou
>> as much as the rest of the development team combined!
>>
>
> I would argue that the point that Janek brings up above is not a healthy sign for LilyPond development.  Several developers, including myself, have lowered their participation considerably over the past two years.

That's true.  However, i think this is mostly independent from David
and funding his work: it's not like he's taking work away from us.  He
specializes in a very particular area (syntax, parser, user
interfaces, removing exceptions and weird stuff) whille other people
usually worked on formatting code (like skylines, guitar bends, slurs,
etc).

As for the money, for me personally the fact that David is getting
paid doesn't make any difference with regard to my motivation to work
as a volunteer.  But maybe for someone this makes a difference.

The only way that i see in which David influences development is that
he doesn't allow bad code during reviews, and it's hard to write good
code when there's a lot of bad code and architectural problems already
in the codebase (at least that's how the situation looks for me).

> In my opinion, it would benefit LilyPond, and David too, if there were more skilled volunteer developers working on the project.

Well, that's obvious.  I was thinking about this myself, and i'm doing
the only thing that i can do: becoming skilled myself...

I was trying to get some students do LilyPond work as undergraduate
project, and there was a bit of interest, but not enough.

best,
Janek

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

janek.lilypond
2013/11/30 Mike Solomon <[hidden email]>:
> I would argue that the point that Janek brings up above is not a healthy sign for LilyPond development.
> Several developers, including myself, have lowered their participation considerably over the past two years.

Maybe i should ask the question "why are you less active?".  But i
don't want to be overly inquiring; i assume that your job and family
simply takes so much time that you cannot do LilyPond work.

Janek

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

janek.lilypond
In reply to this post by dak
2013/11/30 David Kastrup <[hidden email]>:

> Mike Solomon <[hidden email]> writes:
>> I would argue that the point that Janek brings up above is not a
>> healthy sign for LilyPond development.  Several developers, including
>> myself, have lowered their participation considerably over the past
>> two years.
>>
>> In my opinion, it would benefit LilyPond, and David too, if there were
>> more skilled volunteer developers working on the project.
>
> The main problem for letting skilled volunteers work effectively to the
> benefit of the project is the state LilyPond's code base is in.  Then
> there are the tools, and the work dynamics.
>
> If you take a look at
>
> commit 7d3d28de0ce6e2f018aff599cecd944d1754fe3c
> Author: Mike Solomon <[hidden email]>
> Date:   Thu Jan 10 08:54:12 2013 +0100
>
>     Makes all side-positioning based on skylines instead of boxes.
>
> via the tracker
> <URL:http://code.google.com/p/lilypond/issues/list?can=1&q=7d3d28de0ce6e2f018aff599cecd944d1754fe3c>
> then you'll find its core issue in 2.17.10, and followup problems in
> 2.17.15, 2.17.25, 2.17.26, 2.19.0.
>
> For one thing it means our reviews and the underlying infrastructure
> don't work out well when people apply them as they understand them.
>
> For another, it means that LilyPond's architecture is becoming
> increasingly fragile: improve one corner, and four distant corners
> crumble under unforeseen consequences.  At some point of time we are
> running into an equilibrium where any change will cause a chain of
> repercussions that does not really die down in a sane amount of time.
>
> When we arrive there, more skilled volunteer developers working on the
> project don't really achieve more.

Well, it would be good to do a Great Code Cleanup, but can we manage
such a task?  As you wrote, we need skilled devs for that.

> [....]
> It is clear that our development cycles have not worked out well.  It's
> taken probably 9 months at least from the time we wanted to go for
> releasing 2.18 to now, and it has been frustrating to people. [....]

Well, i was intending to start a discussion about this, but i thought
it would be best to wait until 2.18 is out.  Is it a good idea to
start it now?

best,
Janek

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

dak
In reply to this post by janek.lilypond
Janek Warchoł <[hidden email]> writes:

> The only way that i see in which David influences development is that
> he doesn't allow bad code during reviews, and it's hard to write good
> code when there's a lot of bad code and architectural problems already
> in the codebase (at least that's how the situation looks for me).

More favorable to me than it looks to me.  I don't really have the time
and energy for thorough reviews.  And there is a dearth of reviews going
on, and there is a dearth of expertise.  When we want to get a stable
release out, there is some code that reeks of being a troublemaker, so
my reviews end up more similar to an allergic reaction than a
well-reasoned analysis.

I cannot always prove that some code is going to cause problems.  But
that's not the point.  Inscrutable code is a vector for bugs to get in
under cover.  And it is a problem in itself.  And it does not
particularly help that LilyPond is already full of it.

>> In my opinion, it would benefit LilyPond, and David too, if there
>> were more skilled volunteer developers working on the project.
>
> Well, that's obvious.  I was thinking about this myself, and i'm doing
> the only thing that i can do: becoming skilled myself...

Which we need to become easier...

--
David Kastrup

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

dak
In reply to this post by janek.lilypond
Janek Warchoł <[hidden email]> writes:

>> [....]  It is clear that our development cycles have not worked out
>> well.  It's taken probably 9 months at least from the time we wanted
>> to go for releasing 2.18 to now, and it has been frustrating to
>> people. [....]
>
> Well, i was intending to start a discussion about this, but i thought
> it would be best to wait until 2.18 is out.  Is it a good idea to
> start it now?

Would it be better not to have a plan how to do better?

--
David Kastrup

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

janek.lilypond
2013/11/30 David Kastrup <[hidden email]>:

> Janek Warchoł <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>>> [....]  It is clear that our development cycles have not worked out
>>> well.  It's taken probably 9 months at least from the time we wanted
>>> to go for releasing 2.18 to now, and it has been frustrating to
>>> people. [....]
>>
>> Well, i was intending to start a discussion about this, but i thought
>> it would be best to wait until 2.18 is out.  Is it a good idea to
>> start it now?
>
> Would it be better not to have a plan how to do better?

I meant that discussing this right now may introduce a bit of
disorganization, and it shouldn't make a difference to discuss it in a
month, after 2.18 release (assuming it will be as planned).

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Communication style on the devel list

Mike Solomon
In reply to this post by janek.lilypond
On Nov 30, 2013, at 10:58 PM, Janek Warchoł <[hidden email]> wrote:

2013/11/30 Mike Solomon <[hidden email]>:
I would argue that the point that Janek brings up above is not a healthy sign for LilyPond development.
Several developers, including myself, have lowered their participation considerably over the past two years.

Maybe i should ask the question "why are you less active?".  But i
don't want to be overly inquiring; i assume that your job and family
simply takes so much time that you cannot do LilyPond work.

Janek

Nothing to do with either of those - after a series of difficult conversations on the developer list, I informed the community that I’d be taking time off the project:


This was about a patch that ultimately made its way into the code base (a6efcfa82dae01859f0d6d3bbfbaaa6f2eeb8a9c, modified and pushed by Keith O’Hara).  I made this decision after having asked several times to keep the communication between developers cordial and collegial.

Insofar as I do not believe I am the only person who has run into this issue, I think this is a hindrance to LilyPond development that needs to be addressed by the community.

Cheers,
MS

P.S. I changed the subject of this thread because I am now addressing a different issue.  I do not want this message to be construed in any way as an advisement against supporting David being paid for his valuable and essential contributions to LilyPond.

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Re: Communication style on the devel list

janek.lilypond
2013/11/30 Mike Solomon <[hidden email]>:

> On Nov 30, 2013, at 10:58 PM, Janek Warchoł <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>> 2013/11/30 Mike Solomon <[hidden email]>:
>>> I would argue that the point that Janek brings up above is not a healthy
>>> sign for LilyPond development.
>>> Several developers, including myself, have lowered their participation
>>> considerably over the past two years.
>>
>> Maybe i should ask the question "why are you less active?".  But i
>> don't want to be overly inquiring; i assume that your job and family
>> simply takes so much time that you cannot do LilyPond work.
>
> Nothing to do with either of those - after a series of difficult
> conversations on the developer list, I informed the community that I’d be
> taking time off the project:
>
> http://lilypond.1069038.n5.nabble.com/Re-stencil-integral-use-box-extents-specified-in-markup-issue-3255-issue-9295044-td149952.html

!!

It's very bad that i had missed that email (i'm not able to read all
traffic on the lists and that one didn't seem as if there was
something important going on...).
I have to think about this.  Mike, could we Skype tomorrow (8-13 UTC)?

best,
Janek

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

Noeck
In reply to this post by dak


Am 30.11.2013 22:10, schrieb David Kastrup:

> Janek Warchoł <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>> The only way that i see in which David influences development is that
>> he doesn't allow bad code during reviews, and it's hard to write good
>> code when there's a lot of bad code and architectural problems already
>> in the codebase (at least that's how the situation looks for me).
>
> More favorable to me than it looks to me.  I don't really have the time
> and energy for thorough reviews.  And there is a dearth of reviews going
> on, and there is a dearth of expertise.  When we want to get a stable
> release out, there is some code that reeks of being a troublemaker, so
> my reviews end up more similar to an allergic reaction than a
> well-reasoned analysis.

But: »Der Ton macht die Musik« (for non German speakers: it's not what
you say but the way you say it). From my outside perspective it looks to
me as if a lot could be gained in appreciating other people’s work and
putting things as friendly as possible also in cases of disagreement.

Having a clear and agreed procedure of code style, code review,
positions in the team, timelines and strategies for release versions
might help to improve the atmosphere.

I will be quiet now, because I don't want to stir up things that aren't
truly my business on a public list. I appreciate very much all of your
work and I hope very much that the atmosphere in the community can get a
biotope for all developers to work in.

Joram

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

Noeck
In reply to this post by janek.lilypond
Hi,

I was thinking about fund raising for some days now. I see several
possible sources for supporting LP financially:

1) Private donations from developers:
This seems to be partly the case and you have my deep respect that you
both work for and spend money on LP. This group probably stays
relatively small.

2) Private donations from hobby users:
Probably most users are not paid for their music engraving. If LP would
not exist (nor some other free (as in free beer) software), they might
have to pay for Finale (600$) or Sibelius (550€). But probably they
would go with a light version of these programs (50$ - 120€). Just to
have an idea what would be to spend otherwise (without LP).
I write this to both sides: Spending about 100€ in 2 years is quite a
lot if you use LP just for fun, not spending anything is quite cheap for
such a great program.

Here I would really encourage people using LP to think about this and
help financially with a realistic amount of money, because there is need
for it. Even if it is not much, the sheer number of users can contribute
significantly.

3) Private donations from professionals:
If professionals could be convinced that spending the money on LP
development rather than on commercial products is beneficial also for
them that would be great. How? Does someone have a closer relation to
this occupational group than I do and has any ideas how to promote LP?

4) Donations/payments from institutions:
I can not guess the user base, but I assume that institutional support
is needed for sustainability and long term support. So far I have only
heard about musicians in the LP community who are very tech-savvy and/or
use linux anyway.
Somehow the benefits of LP should be made clearer for music/composing
professors the fact that many things can be made doable which are not up
to now with any program. If his/her chair is supporting LP, this program
could be a showpiece project (high quality engraving, open and free
software, international project, huge amount of work already done and
therefore a lot to show at low cost). Students in a paid assistant job
could work on LP, this particularly in the computer science departments.
Universities should be a place where new ways are chosen and new ideas
pushed forward.
And music teachers/schools could support it as licences for engraving
software are mostly unaffordable for schools, but if everything is set
up, pupils can write { a4 g f } and learn a program that everyone can
use at home. So schools could teach this and offer a free software and
support LP also financially. For music teachers OOoLy is so convenient
to produce worksheets.
So, in my opinion, universities and schools should be convinced of LP,
because 100€ for a single person is quite something, but a remarkably
good project which can bring some good publicity could be worth much
more for such institutions. I personally don't understand why LP is not
common at music universities but that's probably a chicken-or-the-egg
thing and the lack of large scale marketing. But this would also need
official contacts in the LP team who are responsible and can represent
LP towards these institutions.


tl;dr
My summary: LP would need either a large user base with small donations
(like wikipedia partly) or institutions behind it (I'm thinking about
the Document Foundation or Linux, in this case more about universities).

Cheers,
Joram

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

Martin Tarenskeen-2
In reply to this post by Noeck


On Sun, 1 Dec 2013, Noeck wrote:

> But: »Der Ton macht die Musik« (for non German speakers: it's not what
> you say but the way you say it).

I can understand both German and English. But I have always thought the
original is in French: "C'est le ton qui fait la musique". Sounds good to
me :-)

--

MT
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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

dak
In reply to this post by Noeck
Noeck <[hidden email]> writes:

> 2) Private donations from hobby users:
> Probably most users are not paid for their music engraving. If LP would
> not exist (nor some other free (as in free beer) software), they might
> have to pay for Finale (600$) or Sibelius (550€). But probably they
> would go with a light version of these programs (50$ - 120€). Just to
> have an idea what would be to spend otherwise (without LP).
> I write this to both sides: Spending about 100€ in 2 years is quite a
> lot if you use LP just for fun,

€1 per week...  It does add up.  In my experience, the smallest regular
donation that does work is about €10.  Smaller monthly donations tend to
cease after few months, probably because the donor thinks his
contribution would not be noticed.  Of course, the best scheme is making
an automatic payment scheme which the bank continues on its own, with an
amount that is small enough that one is too lazy to cancel it.  In the
long run, this makes quite a difference.

> not spending anything is quite cheap for such a great program.

To be clear: the €50 per year number alone would require several hundred
participants to keep one developer active.  You don't get that from a
mailing list: you need to reach the end user masses for that.

Ardour does it in that manner while remaining under the GPL, but it's
somewhat on the obnoxious side (downloading binaries requires a
donation, they sell proprietary add-ons).  That software is basically
owned by its core developer and so he gets to make the calls.  It's not
really an option for LilyPond, both because it is a community project
and because it is a GNU project.

> 3) Private donations from professionals:
> If professionals could be convinced that spending the money on LP
> development rather than on commercial products is beneficial also for
> them that would be great. How? Does someone have a closer relation to
> this occupational group than I do and has any ideas how to promote LP?

Probably half of the large donors are one-person music publishers.  If
you take a look at music publisher registers, you'll find that in
Germany alone there are several hundreds, and you'll find a few
long-term contributors to LilyPond among them.

I have no idea for a good sales pitch here: many of the small and
actually also large publishers will be wed to a particular workflow.

> 4) Donations/payments from institutions:
> I can not guess the user base, but I assume that institutional support
> is needed for sustainability and long term support. So far I have only
> heard about musicians in the LP community who are very tech-savvy and/or
> use linux anyway.

No, I think we have a fair amount of Windows users (probably more than
GNU/Linux).

> Somehow the benefits of LP should be made clearer for music/composing
> professors the fact that many things can be made doable which are not
> up to now with any program.

Those things in general are hard to to in LilyPond, and they are
generally hard to do, period.  Our main selling point should be things
that are easy to do.  LilyPond should be the first, not the last resort.

> And music teachers/schools could support it as licences for engraving
> software are mostly unaffordable for schools, but if everything is set
> up, pupils can write { a4 g f } and learn a program that everyone can
> use at home.

Sound-proof practice rooms are way more expensive than most software,
and most software offers student licensing schemes.

> So, in my opinion, universities and schools should be convinced of LP,
> because 100€ for a single person is quite something, but a remarkably
> good project which can bring some good publicity could be worth much
> more for such institutions.

Here €100 a year is about the tuition to expect for a public music
school for one pupil.

> I personally don't understand why LP is not common at music
> universities but that's probably a chicken-or-the-egg thing and the
> lack of large scale marketing. But this would also need official
> contacts in the LP team who are responsible and can represent LP
> towards these institutions.

Institutions mean projects, projects mean support, support means a
reliable base of available professionals.

Convert three musicians you know to using LilyPond.  If you go
"I couldn't get _him_ or _her_ to use it", then how to pitch LilyPond to
someone you don't even have contact with?  Think about _why_ you could
not get a friend of yours to use it.  What would need to happen so that
you could?  Have you tried?  What did you learn when doing so?

> My summary: LP would need either a large user base with small
> donations (like wikipedia partly) or institutions behind it (I'm
> thinking about the Document Foundation or Linux, in this case more
> about universities).

"LilyPond" as such would need public projects like EU projects.  But to
tap those, we need a reliable way to turn money into code and music, and
that means extending programmer accessibility and user accessibility,
and infrastructure availability.  Mutopia is barely breathing.

--
David Kastrup

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

Carl Peterson


On Dec 1, 2013 1:47 AM, "David Kastrup" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Noeck <[hidden email]> writes:

> > I personally don't understand why LP is not common at music
> > universities but that's probably a chicken-or-the-egg thing and the
> > lack of large scale marketing. But this would also need official
> > contacts in the LP team who are responsible and can represent LP
> > towards these institutions.

> Convert three musicians you know to using LilyPond.  If you go
> "I couldn't get _him_ or _her_ to use it", then how to pitch LilyPond to
> someone you don't even have contact with?  Think about _why_ you could
> not get a friend of yours to use it.  What would need to happen so that
> you could?  Have you tried?  What did you learn when doing so?
>

Here are the problems I run into: (1) most musicians/composers/institutions are already using something. This means that the first hurdle is overcoming the inertia of "I already have x, why should I switch? Which leads to (2) even if I can demonstrate that LP overcomes the technical difficulties of another notation program, people are going to be reluctant to switch because of the perceived difficulty of learning LP syntax or working without the UI bells and whistles of Finale, etc. They will also say, "Well, it's not *that* bad of a problem."

I frequently advocate the simplicity of setting SATB hymns in LP to the hymn writers and composers of my personal acquaintance (using the template I've mentioned on other threads). My standard response whenever they talk about a workaround for a provlem in Finale is, "Or you could just use Lilypond." They acknowledge that LP would probably make their work much easier, but too many are too invested in Finale at this point to make the switch.

The major hurdle LP faces is that others were there first. History generally bears this out. 20+ years ago, WordPerfect was *the* word processor for MS-DOS, and with good reason. It could run circles around Microsoft Word. What led to its downfall was that as programs started to migrate to Windows, MS Word launched a Windows version several months before WordPerfect could. By the time WP for Windows came out, people had already gone to Word. The sad part of this example is that WP was, even as late as the mid-00s, a superior product, particularly for business use. LP came out in the midst of other packages that already existed. As a result, it is fighting for marketshare in a relatively mature market. Granted, it is possible to overcome this hurdle, as Google Chrome seems to be doing in the Browser Wars, but it takes something special for that to happen. In the case of Firefox and Chrome, that something was IE's truly abysmal performance in the IE 6-8 years. Finale and Sibelius may have issues, but I don't think they've reached that level for the average user.

Carl P.


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dak
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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

dak
Carl Peterson <[hidden email]> writes:

> On Dec 1, 2013 1:47 AM, "David Kastrup" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Noeck <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>> > I personally don't understand why LP is not common at music
>> > universities but that's probably a chicken-or-the-egg thing and the
>> > lack of large scale marketing. But this would also need official
>> > contacts in the LP team who are responsible and can represent LP
>> > towards these institutions.
>
>> Convert three musicians you know to using LilyPond.  If you go
>> "I couldn't get _him_ or _her_ to use it", then how to pitch LilyPond to
>> someone you don't even have contact with?  Think about _why_ you could
>> not get a friend of yours to use it.  What would need to happen so that
>> you could?  Have you tried?  What did you learn when doing so?
>>
>
> Here are the problems I run into: (1) most musicians/composers/institutions
> are already using something.

So we need to catch them before they do.  Janek got a number of his
choir colleagues to enter "Stabat Mater" (don't remember whose,
Pergolesi?) into LilyPond.  If they had no previous need to music
typesetting, the first idea they'll have _when_ they do is to take a
look at LilyPond.  After all, they know its basic note entry already.

The crucial question here is whether LilyPond will survive that first
look even given their previous exposure.  But that's already better than
starting from scratch.

Then we need to get and think about feedback like "I could not for the
life of me figure out how to do x" and its followup feedback "I now know
how to do x, but that's far too complicated a trick to pull whenever
I need x".

> This means that the first hurdle is overcoming the inertia of "I
> already have x, why should I switch? Which leads to (2) even if I can
> demonstrate that LP overcomes the technical difficulties of another
> notation program, people are going to be reluctant to switch because
> of the perceived difficulty of learning LP syntax or working without
> the UI bells and whistles of Finale, etc.

Which is a reason to teach them working with Frescobaldi, "not"
LilyPond.  Teaching LilyPond is like teaching blueprints to carpenters.
In the end, they know exactly what the blueprint means and where each
cut has to be placed, but they never got to touch a saw.

When that fails, try getting them hooked on Denemo first as an
entry-level drug potentially leaving to raw LilyPond use at a later
stage.

> They will also say, "Well, it's not *that* bad of a problem."
>
> I frequently advocate the simplicity of setting SATB hymns in LP to
> the hymn writers and composers of my personal acquaintance (using the
> template I've mentioned on other threads). My standard response
> whenever they talk about a workaround for a provlem in Finale is, "Or
> you could just use Lilypond." They acknowledge that LP would probably
> make their work much easier, but too many are too invested in Finale
> at this point to make the switch.

Well, what's the investment they'll lose?  It's either an imaginary or a
real loss, and if it's the latter, how can we address this?


> LP came out in the midst of other packages that already existed. As a
> result, it is fighting for marketshare in a relatively mature
> market.

Finale output is ugly to the degree where it is distracting readability,
particularly for instrumentalists.  Sibelius' corporate parent has fired
its core developer team in the UK, including its original authors.
Steinberg does not yet have a finished product on market.  Most other
players are fringe players.

The situation is not really all that unfavorable for LilyPond.

--
David Kastrup

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

Urs Liska
Am 01.12.2013 09:45, schrieb David Kastrup:

>> This means that the first hurdle is overcoming the inertia of "I
>> > already have x, why should I switch? Which leads to (2) even if I can
>> > demonstrate that LP overcomes the technical difficulties of another
>> > notation program, people are going to be reluctant to switch because
>> > of the perceived difficulty of learning LP syntax or working without
>> > the UI bells and whistles of Finale, etc.
> Which is a reason to teach them working with Frescobaldi, "not"
> LilyPond.  Teaching LilyPond is like teaching blueprints to carpenters.
> In the end, they know exactly what the blueprint means and where each
> cut has to be placed, but they never got to touch a saw.
>
> When that fails, try getting them hooked on Denemo first as an
> entry-level drug potentially leaving to raw LilyPond use at a later
> stage.
>

Lacking spare time today I can only hook in sporadically into this
important discussion.

I think it hasn't been stressed enough yet that the text input by itself
is a huge hurdle. I mean, not the syntax but the plain fact.
If you're looking at a real-world score's input file it's overwhelmingly
daunting. And if you look at { c d e f g } like examples they aren't at
all overwhelming.
Most people I tried to persuade simply said "this isn't my cup of tea,
I'm not a programmer".

So while I can imagine it _should_ be possible to convince people on the
professional side of the spectrum, e.g. people responsible for scholarly
editions that LilyPond _can_ produce professional results while giving
huge surplus for the quality of the workflow through versioning there
should be more (tutorial and presentational) material to show that you
can initially get usable and useful results with rather small investment.
I'm thinking of stuff like integrated sheets for educational purposes.
(OK, that's just one little drop, but:) If someone would write a
beginner's tutorial how to create such sheets with OOolilypond that
would be a great resource. I think this approach is particularly nice
because (IIRC) you can achieve first _useful_ results without even
bothering about such things as input file structure.

This isn't to say that making LilyPond easier to use wouldn't be a great
achievement, but people first have to reach the point where they have
the need to tweak things.

Urs

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Re: Supporting my work on LilyPond financially

Kieren MacMillan
> I think it hasn't been stressed enough yet that the text input by itself is a huge hurdle. I mean, not the syntax but the plain fact.

Amen.

> If you're looking at a real-world score's input file it's overwhelmingly daunting.

…even for me, and I’m one of Lily’s biggest users in terms of number and size and “real-ness” of scores.

Here’s my experience:
1. I've tried to convince at least a dozen people — all of whom are of high intelligence (though none “programmers”) — to try Lilypond.
2. Every single one has preferred (or at least claimed to prefer) Lilypond's output to that of the engraving software they use — most are on Sibelius; a few use Finale.
3. About half took the time to install Lilypond and compile a simple example file.
4. To my knowledge, exactly one tried a second example.

Result? Not a single successful convert to date.

> Most people I tried to persuade simply said "this isn't my cup of tea, I'm not a programmer”.

THAT is the main problem right there — one we are likely never to overcome, as much as I hate to admit it.

Cheers,
Kieren.
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