It's been a while, I guess.
One of you folks tried to contact me earlier this month, and having just
gotten around to reading their message, I'd like to take the opportunity
to say hi, and drop a few lines about my absence. I guess they're okay
with me quoting part of their message, but as I haven't yet contacted
them to verify, I'll do so without disclosing their name:
> You know many people in the community would have their spirits lifted
> up if you just dropped by with a casual hello there one day. Unless
> someone there did you wrong / harm in any way ? Or maybe we
> disappointed your expectations as a community ? If we are too slow to
> get up to them, know that even if we never catch up, we will always
> try. If on the contrary, too much was expected from you, we can take
> it easier. Many souls there are very sensitive. We all miss you! even
> if you came by without adding any code ! :-)
I trust that their words - not the least the last sentence - reflect the
sentiment of most of the community. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to
muster the courage to "walk across that burning bridge", as Michelle
Shocked phrased it in her song "Anchorage".
It's a bridge I myself had set on fire single-handedly. None of you had
any part in it. I want to repeat that: None of you. Not even the very
few I have, on some occasions, gotten into heated arguments with.
Then again, maybe that bridge never was on fire in the first place. I
just crossed it one day, and never found the courage to turn around and
walk back, too afraid to find the bridge ablaze. I couldn't have blamed
you. After all, I just up and left without so much as a word, leaving
behind half-finished work I had promised - to you, and also to myself -
to keep working on.
Some of you may have picked up hints in 2017 that I lost a person dear
to me. I'm not sure I ever dropped any hints that only a few months
later I lost another person equally dear. If you put two and two
together to surmise that these two loved ones were my parents, you would
be right. I won't say any more about this here despite its importance to
me, because it is something I consider very private, and I'm sure it
doesn't need much explanation how it could be relevant to my falling silent.
Coincidently, I had just found the perfect job earlier in the year,
which helped prop me up a bit; but in 2018, and through no fault of my
own whatsoever, I lost that, too, which didn't help either, as you can
probably guess. Neither did all the crazy stuff that had been happening
out there in the wide world.
I had a difficult time coping with the situation - I still have - and my
contributions to POV-Ray and its community are but one thing that has
suffered - though arguably it might be the thing that has suffered the
most dramatically. For quite some time, it was pretty much the only
remaining thing I put any energy into whatsoever. When I could muster
the energy, I would dig my head deep into the source code. When I
couldn't, I would browse the newsgroups and see if there were any
questions I could answer, or topics I could at least throw my $0.02 at.
And then one day, I just never picked up where I left off the day before.
Ever since, I haven't had a single look at the POV-Ray source code, or
even a single message on these newsgroups. I have no idea what you folks
are currently discussing, what works of art you're currently producing
with POV-Ray, which features you are currently finding unexpected uses
for, whether William Pokorny is still boldly ploughing through
floating-point precision issues, whether someone else has picked up my
work and maybe dragged it into a totally different direction that might
irritate me if I saw it but that I'd have no right to get infuriated
about, or whether anyone has picked up the task of building new
versions, if only to fix the occasional bug. Pretty much all I know at
this point is that one of you managed to get through to me, with words
encouraging enough for me to say hi.
The job I mentioned earlier might warrant further mention at this point.
Pretty much all my adult life I had been convinced that software
development was the perfect career for me. I love the challenge. I love
the inherent logic. I love how it captivates me. I also love the pay.
This one job, however, was not in software development, but rather in
education: I trained noobs and semi-noobs to use computers in general
and office software in particular. And contrary to all my fears, I found
that I loved it. And thrived in it. It's a totally different occupation,
and it's a totally different brand of people to work with.
Most of all though, there's one thing this line of work does _not_ do:
It does not _captivate_ me. And I found out that's actually not a bad
thing. Not for my well-being anyway. While I did still find myself "in
it" while teaching, at the end of the day I could easily set it aside. I
can't remember ever having done that as a software developer. Not unless
I had just happened to have cracked a particularly tough nut at the end
of a day.
With that lesson learned, I have decided for my own sake to never go
back into software development as a career. And I've also become wary of
picking it up as a hobby again.
For now, I just want to say "hi". Let you know that I'm alive, and
reasonably well. Try to explain a bit why I left so abruptly without a word.
I think in the near future I'd like to once again pick up communication
with you folks. Chime in here and there in the newsgroups. Maybe answer
a few questions now and then, maybe even give a few thoughts about the
programming side of things.
Whether I'll get back into active POV-Ray development I really cannot
say at this point. What I can say is that it hurts not to.
I might get back into administrative-ish stuff like looking after the
GitHub repo, but even in that regard I can't make any promises at this
So, there it is. And without any further ado:
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