As of this writing (December 2021), I am committed to keeping NarraFirma alive. I have been spending at least a month (and as much as 3-6 months) per year working on the software (between other projects) since its initial 18-month pulse of work ended in 2015. I also respond as quickly as I can to bug reports when they come in.
NarraFirma has also been supported over the past six years by several commissions that added particular functions to the software (e.g., correlation maps). In relation to the initial investment, however, these commissions have been small and sporadic.
As for the future of NarraFirma, looking forward ten years, I can see four possible paths ahead.
- NarraFirma gets lots of funding, from grants or sponsorships or the formation of a membership non-profit, or by some other means of fund-raising. I continue to work on the software, but I am finally reimbursed for (some of) my massive investment in getting it started. Also, lots of other people work on the software (for pay) as well. As a result, NarraFirma grows in capability by leaps and bounds.
- NarraFirma gets little funding, but many volunteers step up to support and improve the software, contributing code, documentation, tutorials, training videos, peer support, and so on. I don’t run all of this myself (I don’t have the time or capacity for it), but a core group of dedicated volunteers (maybe supported by small donations) handles the day-to-day coordination of volunteer contributions. The software still grows, but more slowly.
- NarraFirma gets little or no funding or volunteer support. I continue to support it as a labor of love, when I can and as much as I can. In that case, it will probably continue to do what it does now about as well as it does now, with incremental improvements from time to time.
- NarraFirma gets no funding or volunteer support, and I find (or decide) that I can no longer support it myself. In that case, the software will remain current for some time but will eventually fall out of synch with the rest of the web world and become abandoned. This is the fate of many open-source software efforts, and it could be what ends up happening to NarraFirma. Still, just because something ends does not mean it never happened. Even if NarraFirma is eventually abandoned, it will have done what I hoped it would do for at least some people. And that’s a good thing.
I absolutely cannot say which of these scenarios will come about. Obviously I hope for the first or second scenarios; but I am determined to at least try, for as long as I can, to keep the third scenario possible and the last at bay. That is all I can say at this moment. If you would like to help ensure that NarraFirma survives and continues to improve, send me your ideas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.