It's coming up on the ten year anniversary of the release of the first piece of free software I wrote, that anyone still remembers or uses. This seems like a good time to look back on various projects and see how they did, what went right and what went wrong. This will be a multi-part series with posts all week or so until I'm done jabbering about my old code. I'm focusing here only on projects that I founded or ended up maintaining, and I'll skip projects that were not about developing one particular program.

So the first one was pdmenu, which started a long tradition of badly named software, since after version 0.2, it was neither written in Perl, nor did it use Dialog. It did fill a little niche for a good looking and easy to use console based menu program, that an admin can set up to let users do stuff without using the shell, and it's been used in hundreds of places that I know about and probably many more that I've not been told about.

I only used it for a year or so myself, and after that everything has been driven by requests from users, and it's pretty much in maintenance mode now. I expect I'll keep spending the hour or two a year it takes to keep it in shape pretty much indefinitely. A perfectly reasonable and satisfying lifecycle for a free software project.

Oh, and it's my first C program. The current pdmenu.c started out as "hello world". One of the great things about free software. Also pretty embarassing in spots.

Next: ten years of free software -- part 2 dpkg-repack

Note: A blog conversion ate the dates on this series. It was really posted in August 2005. --Joey