Of course, we all know that Mr. Gruber is the authoritative source on any vocabulary pertaining to technology. Oh wait, isn't that the guy who said both Zune and Apple TV were vaporware?
First sentence - lol (though irrelevant). Second sentence - doesn't help your point, at the time both were.
My question is, what is wrong with a developer announcing his/her product, working on it, and then releasing it when it's ready? I'd much rather wait a year and get a great program than wait three months and use something with bugs and memory leaks. In the case of MDA or Safe Deposit (I don't know much about Omni Focus), let's give these guys a little time to work. We've seen a couple of updates from MDA.
Gruber doesn't claim there is "anything wrong" with doing so - he just clearly identifies when that is the case and what the technically correct term is. In this case, the 'internets' have imbued the term "vaporware" with a lot of emotional charge (DOOM), that isn't necessarily implicit in the technical definition. Obviously with enough momentum and time the definition can change to fit the usage, and the 'internets' delight in this proof of 'our collective power'. But I'll stop my rant and get back on target...
I agree completely with giving guys time to work, and wanting a better app rather than a faster app. That doesn't negate the point that pre-announcing an app before it's done builds certain expectations - that's just the way the game goes, and the risk taken with pre-announcing. There are benefits too, such as freezing the market (OmniFocus), or building a media frenzy (a la iPhone).
To make clear my central point: In the case of vaporware, Gruber doesn't provide his own definition - he references several other sources to build his case, and it seems a pretty decent case to me: http://daringfireball.net/2006/12/omnivapor
Here's an alternate point of view: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/Q4.06/ … 2DD1E.html
Though I found this quote very funny considering my recent studies:
"I've never been an absolute fan of dictionaries. My dad would often use dictionaries to try to prove points that I refused to believe. Unlike math, which I could never prove wrong, I did find ways to take issue with definitions in dictionaries. As I grew up and discovered that dictionaries weren't really magic books, but just written by regular people, I gained new independence from the conformity of thought they tried to impose."
Heh. "Gained new independence from the conformity of thought [dictionaries] tried to impose." If this doesn't typify all that is wrong with popular American thought life these days, I don't know what does.
Back on topic again, my considered opinion is that vaporware is a perfectly legitimate term to use for this software, though loading it with emotion will practically guarantee a fight. Bluntly, we have no sure way of knowing the software will be delivered and deliver as expected, regardless of intentions or promises or friendship with whichever developer. This isn't a bad thing, it's just a fact of pre-announcements. In this case, I don't doubt the software will be released - but I wouldn't put a huge bet down that it would be delivered either. The future is very unpredictable.
Whistle while you work. Patience is key.