The CareWare Haters

If you've read The CareWare Idea, you probably think it is rather harmless, even obvious, but certainly not threatening to anyone. Think again!

I have received some rather disturbing e-mails about CareWare over the years, but today I received one that took my breath away. Here it is:

Subject: "Don't CareWare"

A quote from your home page: "This site is dedicated to one overriding principle: there are no overriding principles — only original, ingenious solutions. You will find many kinds of resources here — programs, applications, articles and books. Our content is updated regularly, so please visit often."

We find there is nothing original or ingenious about you [sic] applications. The ones we have seen are "CareWare" rip-offs of existing apps. You certainly don't care about the small businesses you are destroying.

[author's name deleted]

After poking around a bit, I found that the author is trying to sell a program that cannot compete with one of mine. And, notwithstanding his use of the pretentious "We" and his poor spelling, he appears to be whining as an individual.

Here is my reply:

Dear [name deleted]:

<< The ones we have seen are "CareWare" rip-offs of existing apps. >>

Get out of the wrong side of bed this morning?

I created the first mass-market word processor, Apple Writer, at a time when a small handful of word processing applications existed, none of which could do what Apple Writer did. Because of its originality, Apple Writer made me wealthy, after which I turned to other activities such as supporting Planned Parenthood clinics and sailing around the world solo.

After I came back from my around-the-world sail, I dreamt up the CareWare idea and wrote Arachnophilia. Several more recent commercial HTML editors contain features that copy those in Arachnophilia, including user-definable toolbars, on-the-fly translation from other document formats and many other features. In many cases these features appeared after they first appeared in Arachnophilia, therefore in these cases the relationship is the opposite of your assertion. Most other HTML editors cannot translate a Windows document into HTML as Arachnophilia can, but I am sure they will think of ways to copy this feature also.

Arachnophilia is at or near the top of most shareware HTML editor lists, not because I bribed a bunch of people (or wrote threatening letters as you are doing), but because it has merit and originality.

EasyTerm has several novel program design features, including a text display that stretches to accommodate the user's requirements, in what would otherwise be a fixed-size display in a flexible Windows environment. As I write, it is the only telnet application that has this feature, one reason it is so popular.

AboutTime uses sophisticated signal-processing techniques that result from my many years in aerospace engineering, including my part in the design of the NASA Space Shuttle. As a result, it can provide time accuracies higher than the majority of similar applications, including expensive ones.

"Quoter" provides a steady diet of site-specified quotes and aphorisms. Although a simple and obvious Java applet, it is the only application of its kind — there is not even a basis for comparison.

"Finance Calculator" uses an original, more efficient way to compute compound interest. It outperforms Excel and many other programs that try to do this. Also, businesses are free to incorporate this application into their sites — and many have done so.

I could go on, but it is clear your mind is already made up, because you are suffering from poor reality testing. Based on the content of your message, you think the Internet is meant to be a playground for commercial interests who only charge for their products, and you find any other use for the Internet rather offensive.

I have news for you. You are one of the new Internet carpetbaggers, preying on anyone willing to send you money, and you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. The Internet was originally intended as a medium for communication between people, not businesses. You and your friends can destroy the Internet if you care to, but you could at least understand your place.

Please read the next part very carefully. Here are two quotes from your message:

  1. "We find there is nothing original or ingenious about you [sic] applications."
  2. "You certainly don't care about the small businesses you are destroying."
Apart from being badly spelled, this is a first-order logical contradiction. If item (1) is correct, if my applications are not original or ingenious, then item (2) cannot be true — silly "me-too" applications of no value cannot possibly destroy a business that is based on creativity and the needs of its customers. To summarize, either item (1) is true, or item (2) is true. They cannot both be true simultaneously.

If item (1) were true, if your viewpoint had any merit, your lawyers would be writing me, not you personally. This is not happening because item (1) is false.

If item (2) were true, the many, many small Internet businesses that use my products would be complaining instead of asking for more information and more programs. This is happening because item (2) is false.

You cannot force your way into the Internet community by writing threatening letters to creative people. You must do it by producing something of value, something that is worth its price. If you fail at this, don't blame the successful, ingenious people who were here before you, unless you plan on being laughed off the stage of public opinion.

In the real world, if a business cannot produce something better than the free applications posted on the Internet, it deserves to fail. This is nature's law, not mine.

Finally, your intellectual limitations have caused you to misinterpret my quote — when I say "there are no overriding principles — only original, ingenious solutions," I am speaking about an approach to life, I am not describing my programs. I will leave such descriptions to the Internet's software reviewers, the majority of whom have written favorably.

Paul Lutus

When I first created CareWare, I thought it would be a welcome, entirely harmless addition to the increasingly commercial Internet. But I didn't imagine Internet gangsters like this one.

"Truth never damages a cause that is just." — Gandhi

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