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Tim Kelly wrote:
When trying to pitch a solution based on Lua, or any technology, management decision-makers raise the
>question regarding the long-term viability, especially against PHP or Perl. It's perverse mentality, to be >honest. You state you are happy with Lua and suggest little changes will occur in the future >(which is a good thing); management sees this lack of constant updates as a possibility the project will
>go away, or worse, ...

That doesn't make sense. Management (the type you are describing, at least) are pragmatists. They look for:

1 Proof that it works (others are using it, successfully)

2 Stability - no radical changes to language in the near future. Lack of bugs indicates maturity.

3 That nothing is going to change (technology, platform, licensing, etc), unduly, for the future (part of stability).

4 "Support" will be there in the future. Where "Support" means commercial, consulting, newsgroups, mail lists, ongoing development whatever is appropriate. No one wants to end in a dead-end.

1, 2, 3 fit their criteria.

For commercial products, then 4 is an issue, but Lua is available at no cost, with the source, so you can ensure that (4) is handled in house should the initial source (Roberto et al) disappear. So may be 10 or 20 years into the future (4) may be an issue, should Roberto and the community disappear. But even if Roberto gets a job doing something more interesting, the community is still there to drive it forward. You only have to look at the other language communities for Perl, Python and Ruby. The initial guy is still there, but the community is ready to pick up the baton and run with it should they need to. I see no reason why that isn't the case with Lua.

I've just been reading Robert A Moore's "Inside the Tornado" which is a technology roadmap book. Excellent insight into what makes certain products dominate markets and other fail to dominate, even when they are good products. The main reason for replying to this thread. Your pragmatist managers understand 1, 2, 3, but fail to understand (4) is satisfied because they don't understand open-source means they can prevent failure themselves (where failure in commercial terms would mean Lua dies).

So, as a slight aside, I highly recommend a visit to Amazon/Barnes and Noble/etc to purchase a good book, which even if you are not a business owner/entrepreneur, may open your eyes to a different way of looking at technology decisions.

Without the aside, I suggest you explain to them they are misguided in their concern for lack of development (in their eyes). That is a good thing. As is the fact they can take it in house if they need to. You might also want to point out the use of Lua by large corporates such as Adobe (Lightroom) and the World of Warcraft people.

(*) Yes, I'm overly simplifying, no flames please, I know its not that simple.