Edition 3, 23 January, 1999
In the last months of 1998 a presentation of beta version of Strawberry Prolog was made. This is a Bulgarian Prolog compiler developed by the team connected with the Institute of Mathematics of Bulgarian Academy of Science. Information for the development appeared in ALP Newsletter, a periodical of ALP (Association for Logic Programming London) and in Computer World/ Bulgaria, ed. 46.
Strawberry Prolog is a relatively good Prolog realisation in the Windows 95/NT environment, designed for learning objectives and professional use. The software includesa number of untraditional opportunities among which is creation of graphic Windows interface and using ODBC and ActiveX.
The created up to this moment beta versions are freeware. They should be looked upon as an announcement for the appearance of a real product with a market value. However, at this stage the accepted approach for an opened process for development is of interest too. The working versions appearing periodically are accessible through Internet (http://www.dobrev.com) for everyone interested.Information for the inventors’ intentions for future versions and for the advantages for potential users is also given.
It is possible that in Bulgariaother software producers have acquired this style. Its greatest advantage is that it stimulates the specialists from the respective area for participation in the development with assessments and opinions.
This is the procedure of many companies in the world, especially in the creation of a base software and development tools. Through it to an unrestricted circle of experts and potential users is given access to the current condition of the development, the conception andtendencies for progress. Prerequisites for the functioning of a stronger feedback at an earlier stage are also created. The possibility for inappropriate solutions on part of the inventor is reduced, actively independent testing and timely corrections are secured and a higher quality of the final product is achieved.
In Bulgaria this working style is rarely found for obvious reasons. The lack of traditions, the insufficiently developed telecommunications, the restricted homemarket, the specificity of the developed products are among them. In addition, most of the products are applications oriented towardsthe final local customer and they are not a development tools which can be offered abroad. The free disposal of prototypal and even of demo versions is not a typical style. It is rarely done and for a restricted circle of plausible customers sufficient for the objectives of the firm- producer.
In the state of non-existence of real protection of authors’ rights the developers reasonably refrain from giving information about their products. The competitors do not want to facilitate the creation of a quality product which could enter their market niche. This seems to be natural, bearing in mind the condition of the Bulgarian market at the present moment - not much variety in the customers’ requirements and lots of firms profiled in a relatively narrow area (accounting systems for example) or ordered applications. The firms developing program products forthe foreign market are mostly foreign ownership and here prevails the work for a certain client. In both cases the style "open development" is excluded.
Apparently it seems unrealistic
to think that only inside the country is possible the approach of the developers
of Strawberry Prolog to be brought into existence. The chance for a similar
working style is preceded by many other achievements.