So this afternoon, I received an email from Kevin Downs (as I'm on his mailing list), the developer of NDoc with the following:
I have decided to discontinue work on NDoc 2.0 and no longer participate in any open-source development work.
The development and release of NDoc 1.3 was a huge amount of work, and by all accounts widely appreciated. Unfortunately, despite the almost ubiquitous use of NDoc, there has been no support for the project from the .Net developer community either financially or by development contributions. Since 1.3 was released, there have been the grand total of eleven donations to the project. In fact, were it not for Oleg Tkachenko’s kind donation of a MS MVP MSDN subscription, I would not even have a copy of VS2005 to work with!
To put this into perspective, if only roughly 1-in-10 of the those who downloaded NDoc had donated the minimum allowable amount of $5 then I could have worked on NDoc 2.0 full-time and it could have been released months ago! Now, I am not suggesting that this should have occurred, or that anyone owes me anything for the work I have done, rather I am trying to demonstrate that if the community values open-source projects then it should do *something* to support them. MS has for years acknowledged community contributions via the MVP program but there is absolutely no support for community projects.
Once ‘Sandcastle’ is released, it is my belief that it will become the de-facto standard and that NDoc will slowly become a stagnant side-water. This will happen regardless of technical considerations, even if Sandcastle were to be less feature-complete. It's just an inevitable result of MS's 'not-invented-here' mentality, one only has to look at Nant and NUnit to see the effects of MS 'competition'.
This is not, however, my only reason for stopping development work - I have a big enough ego to think I could still produce a better product than them 🙂
As some of you are aware, there are some in the community who believe that a .Net 2.0 compatible release was theirs by-right and that I should be moving faster – despite the fact that I am but one man working in his spare time...
This came to head in the last week; I have been subjected to an automated mail-bomb attack on both my public mail addresses and the ndoc2 mailing list address. These mails have been extremely offensive and resulted in my ISP temporarily suspending my account because of the traffic volume. This incident has been reported to the local authorities, although I am highly doubtful they will be able to do anything about it.
This has was the ‘last-straw’ and has convinced me that I should withdraw from the community; I’m not prepared to have myself and my family threatened by some lunatic!
P.S. If anyone wants to take over as admin on the SourceForge NDoc project - contact me. If not, I'll be removing myself in 14 days.
It's kind of upsetting how this has panned out as I can certainly understand Kevin's displeasure at how he was treated by a few members of the community. But at the same time, I'm curious as to why the project, while surely utilized by many .Net developers world wide, never picked up more developers to help share the load.
While it is quite disappointing as I really liked NDoc's simplicity and ease of use, I had felt that this would be the likely end once I started reading about Microsoft's Sandcastle project.
As for the individual(s) who perpetrated the email bombs, all I can say is WTF? That's a terrible and childish way to get what you want.