The following was posted as a comment on another post to which it was not related; I’ve removed it from there to space of its own. It concerns the status of Inform 7.
Totally and completely off topic but I don’t know where else to ask it: are you ever going to talk about the “death” of Inform 7? You seem to have spent a lot of time working on it initially.
But it’s pretty clear that active development on it has stopped. There are bugs — some critical — that have been in place for a couple of years now. More continue to pile up, literally as I write this. Further, you have complete disconnects between the Inform 7 versions on different operating systems. For example, the Skein and Transcript have gone away entirely in the Mac version, replaced by a Testing panel. A Testing panel that doesn’t fully work and has one divergence that breaks functionality entirely.
The downloadable Mac version has had an issue that prevents it from running on newer Mac versions. An app store update version does work, but there are reasons that not everyone will want to use the app store version (overwriting existing other versions, being one of those). This should literally just be the copying of the new binary to the Inform site. But even that, apparently, is too much involvement to be expected.
The extension situation is bad and appears to have been bad for quite some time now, going by the history of posts about it. Many of the extensions aren’t accurate, aren’t up-to-date, conflict with other extensions, don’t work with current versions of Inform. Given the multi-year cycle that it takes things to get done, it’s hard to imagine why extensions, at the very least, can’t keep pace. Further, there are three locations now where extensions can be gathered from, one of which is annoyingly difficult to use.
Certain interpreters still act inconsistently such that certain design decisions come down to a lot of “either-or” micro-decisions, that are poorly documented.
Beyond the maintainers of the IDE portions, the involvement of the Inform 7 development crew — whomever they actually are — has been infinitesimal (at best) or entirely non-existent (at worst) with the wider community.
It’s sad to see it happen. But unlike what happened with Curveship (as just one example), let’s not have Inform 7 just fade away completely without the decency of a wake and a proper burial. Yes, that’s melodramatic. I know Inform 7 is still being used by lots of people. But for something that had such promise, I think it’s sad to see no one comment upon what it has become.
When it comes to my own engagement with Inform, you are right that it is significantly diminished. I announced several years ago that I was stepping back from the position of Inform community liaison that I once occupied. This means, among other things, that I now do not speak for Graham to the IF community, nor for the IF community to Graham, except under extraordinary and limited circumstances.
There is a volunteer on the intfiction forum who emails me whenever anything happens that is considered to be critical, and I escalate that to Graham’s attention where I think that there’s something a) immediately feasible to do that is b) absolutely required in order for users to have access to the system. But this is a comparatively rare circumstance.
I also did, just within the last few weeks, offer some feedback on an Inform-related development where I felt like it might be useful to have my views specifically. That project isn’t mine to announce, but I consider it extremely promising.
I continue to engage with the community in a variety of other ways. According to my time-tracking software, I have logged roughly 120 hours of IF community support over Jan-March 2017, which is the equivalent of a full-time week each month; this actually represents a considerable diminishment of time contribution on my part over previous years, but I also have a lot of work responsibilities currently. In consequence, I’ve prioritized my IF community work where I think it can do the most good — reviewing in larger venues, public speaking, mentorship, crossover work between IF and industry/academia, and meet-up organization being my biggest priorities. I’ve also done as much as I could to pass on roles that were transferable.
I understand that my choice to disengage is potentially disappointing. I am confident that it is necessary to prioritize where I allot my time and that it is best for me to focus on the ones that a) affect the largest number of people or b) are things that I’m unusually suited to do, where someone else could not reasonably step into the role. But I am aware that those who are deprioritized may feel some irritation, and I regret that fact.
As for funerals, epilogues, or whatever else: Inform is still, in general, both usable and used. People have written and continue to write games in it. The IFTF has very recently taken on the task of organizing improvements to the Gargoyle interpreter. The IDE maintainers do, as you say, sometimes issue updates.
There are volunteers who have come up with an extension repository, separate from the Inform website. My impression is that they have done some useful work updating the extensions to be compatible with recent builds, but I don’t supervise this, because I dropped my role as extension librarian even longer ago than I dropped the role of community liaison. I’m sure that there are things that could be cleaned up about how this is presented to the public (and potential confusion with the Public Library site), but these are beyond my power to affect directly.