Wordslinger • Dissident • Webwright

“Vaporware” an unnecessary insult

Published 02 December 2006

While usually I trust his opinion, professional blogger John Gruber overzealously lambasted the Omni Group, calling their forthcoming new application “Vaporware”. While it’s true that the Omni Group has two posts about their not-yet-ready GTD application, they’re still not hawking $1200 keyboards. Not only is his use of the dictionary pedantic and sophomoric, but Gruber also ignores the context of why Omni might posts these announcements.

My guess is that application developers are a little jealous of the hype produced by open-source development, where users can and do follow product releases, help with Q&A from the beginning and excitement builds as the product nears completion.

Regardless the dictionary definition, “Vaporware” in every circle I’ve ran in, connotes a product promised, hyped, and in bad faith left undelivered. By calling OmniFocus vaporware, Gruber is calling the Omni Group liars.

Giving a cursory look over their forums, the development has been followed very closely–most posts have over a hundred, many over five hundred views, including “We need an update!” posted a week before the “Not really an update” blog post.

Also, based on the forum conversations I followed during the OmniWeb sneaky peak, Omni Group forum readers amount to ravenous hordes who are pretty demanding, and for those of us who don’t build applications, the time involved in finalizing an app tends to drag–we want to know what’s going on. With Firefox one can check bugzilla, milestones, etc., but with a closed-source developer one must wait, patiently, and ask nicely for updates.

Regardless his stance on pre-announcing software, Gruber discounts the entire Omni Group community, focusing only on the larger GTD market. I wouldn’t even look up the definition of GTD, but if Omni makes an app I might: worse-case scenario it’s going to be beautifully designed and intuitive to use. He’s taking an unfair swipe at a company that has a pretty good track record of producing excellent software.