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Archiver > GENBOX > 2011-05 > 1305065169


From: Richard <>
Subject: Re: [GENBOX] Last rites -- premature?
Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 23:06:09 +0100
References: <20110510024602.DLBA9591.nschwotgx01p.mx.bigpond.com@rodimac>
In-Reply-To: <20110510024602.DLBA9591.nschwotgx01p.mx.bigpond.com@rodimac>


I'm a long time Genbox user and I like it. But nearly all these
comments and views are true and have been presented many time over the
last few years, and as has been pointed out have been largely ignored by
Bill who does seem to be - at least now - more of a hobbyist than a
serious IT/genealogy proposition. Because of the reasons stated
eloquently by Rod, Mike and others, Bill will find it very hard to
effectively monetise his new version unless it really offers something
special. And even then it will require a level of support which clearly
will not be forthcoming. Compare to idimager (a digital image asset
management program) as someone pointed out a few months ago - a
similarly great product but one that is alive, active, always moving
forward and with excellent support from both the developer and a great
forum.

All this, plus Bill's request for assistance, leads me to the following
proposition - that Bill should move to a different business model for
his product. It should now be taken to an open source model and
developed as a community project. I believe this will
(a) rejuvenate the development. There are many people who want to see a
good product updated and enhanced
(b) rejuvenate interest. A major problem right now is that stakeholders
are feeling abandoned. This will give them a say with their stake.

What it won't do is (immediately at least) pull in any money for Bill.
But he has to recognise that at the moment he won't be getting any
anyway. And if you boil it right down, that's because he isn't adding
any perceived value in the genealogy marketplace for which people are
going to pay - there are no support, no updates, customers have lost
faith in a new product appearing, and the timeline estimates Rod has
given elsewhere for getting the new version sorted out seem pretty close
to the mark to me - if indeed it ever appears).

The other reason Bill is unlikely to want this is because he may
perceive he would be losing control over his baby and over IP that he
has put a great deal of work into - but again being brutally honest
Bill, if you love it let it go - at the moment it's dying of neglect.
Better to go community and take a directing role. And there may be
options still for making money from "pro" or customised versions,
offering add-ins or interfaces, or premium support.

I'd be interest to know what others think of this proposition. Of
course at the end of the day it's Bill's product and Bill's IP, but I'd
hate to see it die.

Regards
Richard.



On 10/05/2011 03:45, Rod Tilyard wrote:
> Hi Bill, Mike, and anyone else who cares about Genbox,
>
> I think Mike's grasped my real message behind 'Last rites'. I have no doubt
> that it continues to be developed, but now so much time has passed between
> releases that the user pool is fast dwindling, moving on to other products.
> Potential new users will not try Genbox either for they see nothing new
> since 3.7.1 vs the marketing hype from other vendors.
>
> Personally, I would revamp the website, and on there let people know what's
> coming in Genbox 4, with a possible realistic timeframe; start a blog there,
> AND make Genbox 3.7.1 FREE to new users from hereon to start regenerating
> some interest.
>
> It's a combination of a complete lack of marketing, lack of development time
> and no sign that a new product is coming that is killing off Genbox - you
> are the only one who can fix things Bill.
>
> Summary:-
>
> Rejuvenate the website, announce there that Genbox 4 is in development and
> some features, make 3.7.1 free to new users.
>
> Start a blog on the website with REGULAR posts, this will show everyone,
> especially potentially new users, that Genbox is alive and well.
>
> Keep the twitters coming, you need to show there's a pulse :-)
>
> Re-prioritise more time for development.
>
> That's my thoughts anyway.
>
> Regards,
>
> Rod
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [mailto:] On
> Behalf Of Mike Ferguson
> Sent: Tuesday, 10 May 2011 11:59 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [GENBOX] Last rites -- premature?
>
> Bill,
>
> With all due respect, how is this message of yours *substantially* different
>
> from those of the past two years? You are soon going to lose anyone who
> cares
> if it is not past that point already. If you are serious, quit worrying
> about
> the competition knowing what you are doing and post your problems here, both
>
> design and code-wise. You can probably get a lot more help than you think.
> I
> never really did anything with C++ and stopped with C, but I am sure there
> are
> others here who have some relevant knowledge.
>
>
> > From what I have read of team software projects it is usually seems
> preferred to
> dump features for the future and ship the product now. Why not for example
> release the GUI changes as a 3.xx beta and get that fine tuned first.
>
> Mike
>
>
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: William T. Flight<>
> To:
> Sent: Mon, May 9, 2011 9:48:07 PM
> Subject: Re: [GENBOX] Last rites -- premature?
>
> Greetings...
>
> A status update is long overdue, I apologize for the lack of progress
> information. Genbox version 4 appears stuck somewhere around 95% complete.
> Changes for the new GUI, multiple datasets, and attempts to provide a
> research-based data model have left the code with a lot of loose
> ends--unfinished parts where the design is lacking or the implementation
> falls short. The project is rather overwhelming for one developer. I could
> really use a team of experienced c++ developers to wrap it all up and get it
> into beta testing as soon as possible...
>
> I am going to try some time and resource restructuring and see if that gets
> development back on track.
>
> --Bill
>
> William T. Flight
> http://www.thoughtfulcreations.com
>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:
>> [mailto:] On Behalf Of Rod Tilyard
>> Sent: Monday, May 09, 2011 9:05 PM
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: [GENBOX] Last rites
>>
>> Hi Mike,
>>
>> I second your sentiments. Just one minor comment regarding "...he only
>> communicates 2-way with a small group". I'm one of those beta
>> testers.
>>
>> Bill does treat everyone equally.
>>
>> There has been no communication with beta testers for at
>> least 2 years,
>> outside of the same occasional twitter and apologetic 'Genbox
>> is alive, I'm
>> still working on it' post every 12 months or so on rootsweb,
>> that everyone
>> sees.
>>
>> (And I've always found beta testers to be human too, being critical at
>> times, but always in a constructive manner, and behind the
>> 'closed door' of
>> beta testing).
>>
>> Rod
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:
>> [mailto:] On
>> Behalf Of Mike Ferguson
>> Sent: Tuesday, 10 May 2011 10:25 AM
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: [GENBOX] Last rites
>>
>> Denise,
>>
>> Visual FoxPro is in the same boat as VB6. A MS product that they have
>> decided
>> to stop supporting. Their main reason I guess is that they
>> don't want to
>> put
>> the effort into making it 64 bit.
>>
>> Re witness events, your comments bring to mind a feature that
>> I desperately
>> want. I want to be able to use events the way we use
>> individuals. For
>> example,
>> to be able to enter all the members of a military unit, or a
>> neighborhood.
>> While if all keyed to each other it would generate a ton of database
>> relationships, that is only if all members of such a group are treated
>> equally.
>> One should be able to select only one or a few as primaries
>> to whom all the
>> others are related. And I want to be able to generate a
>> hierarchy of events
>>
>> (Rev War/Battle of Yorktown/1st Dragoons) which can be used
>> in timeline and
>> narrative fashion to flesh out the history of an individual.
>>
>> As Rod mentioned in his replies, TNG (too confusingly similar
>> to "TMG"), can
>> be
>> run on a desktop with a server app. But while a great
>> display application,
>> it
>> is not a great analytical and report generating application,
>> part of which
>> is
>> due to inferior treatment of source/citation issues.
>>
>> As I mentioned in a private communication with a list member,
>> it is telling
>> that
>> Bill's beta-tester inner circle no longer will "rally 'round
>> the flag" when
>> critical comments are made. I image even they have lost
>> confidence and
>> enthusiasm but just don't want to be open about it. And this is a big
>> problem
>> too with Bill's approach, where he only communicates 2-way
>> with a small
>> group
>> who do not necessarily accurately represent the myriad ways
>> customers use
>> GB.
>> With the rest of us it is one way, i.e. we talk and he
>> ignores. The shame
>> is
>> that the overall customer base was probably willing to not
>> only provide good
>>
>> suggestions and make note of bugs needing fixed, but also
>> write free of
>> charge a
>> better and much needed documentation.
>>
>> It doesn't take annual cruises and PR events to be
>> successful, but it does
>> take
>> actually working on the program with focus for reasonable
>> periods of time.
>> Bill
>> just does not have what it takes to manage a project by
>> himself from design
>> to
>> coding to marketing to follow-on communication.
>>
>> Mike
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----
>> From: Denise L. Moss-Fritch<>
>> To:
>> Sent: Mon, May 9, 2011 3:16:01 PM
>> Subject: Re: [GENBOX] Last rites
>>
>> Good Day All,
>>
>> I have not been much involved in genealogy the past year.
>> Just too much
>> happening here as my spouse and I update the property we
>> bought in Western
>> Washington for our alpaca ranch after I retired just over a
>> year ago. Plus I
>> have been taking a lot of online classes.
>>
>> A few points if I may:
>>
>> * The last I heard, TMG was using Visual Fox Pro, not
>> Visual Basic 6.
>>
>> * Simon (owner of Calico Pie Ltd) has nice software in
>> Family Historian,
>> version 4. However, if you use "Witnesses" (multiple
>> individuals associated
>> with a specific event) as heavily as I do, even the current version of
>> Family Historian does not handle this record element.
>>
>> * Family Tree Maker also does not support "Witnesses".
>>
>> * Legacy Family Tree permits copying an event and associated sources
>> ("Witnesses" again) from one individual to another, but
>> making changes to
>> that copied event in multiple locations is difficult at best.
>>
>> * The last information I had, TNG was an online site display
>> application
>> only, not a desktop or laptop software.
>>
>>
>> I too have noted Bill has not added to his Twitter account
>> for Genbox since
>> March 31st. That is a concern. Will there be a Genbox 4? I
>> have no idea,
>> nor do I believe any of us can accurately predict the future of this
>> product. With the exception of Family Tree Maker, all current
>> genealogy
>> software is the product of a single developer. Should anything happen,
>> whether deciding to stop further development or even a death (may seem
>> harsh, but I did see that happen a couple of years ago) there
>> is little we,
>> the customers can do.
>>
>> Should something happen to Genbox, at least we do have GEDCOM
>> (as poor as
>> that file format is) to transfer our data should we decide to
>> move to a new
>> software. GEDCOM may not offer much, however when there is no
>> method of data
>> transfer short of retyping all your data (the current state
>> of affairs with
>> alpaca ranching data software), at least we have something.
>>
>> As for me, guess I am "hedging my bet". I maintain all my
>> genealogy in a
>> couple of current genealogy software.
>>
>> Best,
>>
>> Denise L. Moss-Fritch
>>
>>
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