My recent blog entry regarding BBEdit and TextMate was the cause of much correspondence with users of both applications. While I had posted this little piece in a desire to appease a “battle of the editors” that seemed to me of little interest, I have been most surprised to find both my personal inbox and the blog’s comments filled with replies, both positive and negative. In fact, I expected so little reaction from this article that I posted it at the end of a day in France, unlike some that I know need to be written early so as to “get ready” for the comments - yes, I still do make it a point to read everything and, if at all possible, reply to everything my esteemed readers send me.
I always appreciate criticism and admit to a fair share of torts. I do not have the pretension to write masterful blog entries, in Shakespearian language. I do know however that I strive to represent my opinions accurately, in a language I enjoy playing with, and, above all, that I have a passion for recognizing the great work of the many, many developers and thinkers our community accounts. Those who know me and have read my modest articles through the years are, I believe, aware of my distaste for starting battles, for useless rants and politically backed attacks on someone or something.
Yet, it seems discussing text editors is a taboo topic. I did take the liberty to express a preference for BBEdit over TextMate but strived to clearly outline the quality of TextMate as well — hence words such as “brilliant”. I did use the word “joke” as a way to put emphasis on the respective sizes and feature sets of both programs, which many misunderstood as a pointless attack against an application I was “only trying to complain about”. Suddenly, my modest blog entry was an “article”, meant to generate ad impressions or start flame wars. Anybody working on the Internet is, I believe, used to receive hate mail (and I am not talking about the public comments here, but some things I received privately) but I never expected to receive some about a text editor.
I always enjoy and appreciate open discourse with those who agree and disagree with me. I have been proven wrong about many things and my readers have opened doors for me I had not noticed. For that, I am immensely grateful. I do wish however those who see every piece posted as an attempt to “do something” could reconsider the reason for which I, we, the authors of the Mac community, are writing. Writing is a joy, a pleasure, a source for interaction. Words come out of the mouths and the minds of people, each doing their best to express personal feelings in blog entries and present the conclusions of research in articles — which, as you will notice, are kept separate on all sites, including the O’Reilly Network.
Contrary to what some may think, writing about computing is not a career you choose to make money or start wars. It is above all a career you choose because you have a passion for people, for technology and for discovering ways to improve the life of others.
So let’s talk. Let’s talk about our likes and dislikes, editors of choice, positions on Google, Microsoft and Vista backdoors. Let’s talk about privacy invasions, emacs and vim. But let’s really talk about it. Let’s admit words have many meanings, let’s agree on disagreeing and let’s learn to clarify respective positions. After all these years, and a sea of SPAM attempts, the O’Reilly Network still provides (almost) unmoderated commenting possibilities to all its readers, which I find admirable.
To all of you who used them to express your opinion, positive or negative, thank you.