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There Is No Spoon


Written on March 28th, 2010 by Erik Reagan

There Is No Spoon

This post is for my fellow EE'ers. I will not be using full names or many links and will not be educating you on what happened as this is intended for people who are already aware of the scenario. If you'd like to read about it I suggest reading EE Insider's post "The Matrices" or Travis Smith's post "The FieldFrame Controversy Explained". They are both 3rd party views on the event and recommended readings with good insight. This purpose of this post is not to explain what happened, but rather to expand on and clarify some of my personal thoughts.

Friday, March 26th was quite an interesting day in the ExpressionEngine realm. Again, I won't re-hash any of the details so if you would like to read up on the scenario please read the links mentioned above. I saw the EE Matrix website fairly early in the morning on Friday. When I first read through what Alex wrote about releasing the Matrix fieldtype for free again it rubbed me the wrong way very much. In my use of Brandon's add-ons over the past 12 months or so I have had nothing but good experiences using the products, receiving support and even a beta test or two. I was excited to hear when he chose to step out on his own and start Pixel & Tonic. This is the main reason I was quick to respond to Alex's release of EEMatrix 1.3.5.

Quick sidenote

I tend to encourage others to never respond right away to letters, emails or messages that "set you off." It's one of the easiest ways to say something wrong, make a fool of yourself or even get yourself into trouble. I've received a few emails in my time that make me want to flat out scream at the sender. However, I personally believe that responses like that don't tend to enrich or enhance any scenario or relationship. The first thing I do in those times is start a new email (with no recipient filled in) and hash away my initial thoughts. Typically by the time I finish writing I either realize how wrong I am or how bad of an idea hitting "send" would be. I hate using the word "fail" to describe an action but Friday was probably a "fail" for me. I did just what I encourage others not to do. I responded and "hit send" without thinking twice. Oops.

Legalities, ethics and respect

One thing I don't like about digital communication is the fact that it can be very hard to "hear" someone's tone. That leaves the tone of a conversation or article up to the reader unless you have some personal relationship with the author or have been following them long enough to know their tone. I've never heard of Alex Gordon before the EE Matrix website so I have no clue how he speaks or writes. That left the "tone" of his writing up to me, the reader. After reading his words on I quickly jumped to the conclusion that he was releasing this for free just because he didn't want to pay for it and didn't want others to have to pay. Now, to me, Brandon yanking the free version from public downloads was a pretty clear statement in that he wanted us to purchase it going forward. He did the same thing with Playa 1.x which honestly ticked me off at first. But only for a few minutes.

There is no question of legality in what has happened. What I want to briefly touch on is something that I said in response to Alex's actions so allow me to quote myself from the comments of

I think this is unethical and unnecessary and I hope you change your mind very quickly. You will unquestionably have people jump on your bandwagon for distributing this for free but they are just being as unethical as you (or possibly just ignorant to the scenario).

As I already mentioned, I was pretty heated up when typing this. I didn't really take the time to explain my thoughts or even slow down enough to gather them for myself. After a few minutes I went back and re-read what I'd written and sat back thinking, "Oops." You see, not only did I call Alex's action unethical but I called the action of any other individual downloading this software unethical. Ouch. I never like taking something back that I've written publicly so rather than edit or remove my comment I wrote Alex a brief email explaining exactly what I'm explaining to you now. First off...

My apologies

To Alex and to anyone downloading EE Matrix I apologize for calling your actions unethical. They are not. I was wrong.

That said...

I strongly disagree with your actions. What's really riding on this whole scenario is Alex's complete and utter disregard for respect and professional courtesy. It was pretty clear to me that he had not mentioned this action to Brandon prior to making the product available for download. Then Brandon verified this with a comment on the website. Alex's response to Brandon didn't exactly make me smile. "Why should he care?" one might ask. He shouldn't. I just wanted to let everyone know.

There is no spoon

The important part at play here is not whether or not EE Matrix lives or dies. That doesn't matter anymore. What will be interesting here is to watch the dust settle and see how we all proceed. There are very strong opinions on both sides of the disagreement. I really hope that Brandon and Alex find a peaceful reconciliation. EE Matrix won't make Alex or break Brandon so I wouldn't worry much about that. After all, there is no spoon.

Here's to the EE community and moving forward as we all learn together.


I didn’t see the announcement until many comments were added. My first thought was everyone at that point should have held their comments and cooled down. A lot of emotion. I almost commented (it would have bitch-slapped many) but took my own advice and held off - as many of you EEers know, I’m not usually good at that :-(
I think Brandon is great but I also wouldn’t vilify Alex.
Good to see you following up with a more reasoned post.

PXLated on Mar 29th, 2010 at 1:53 am

Great write up Erik. It takes a real man to say:

I was wrong.


Jim Arment on Mar 29th, 2010 at 9:12 am

Thanks Jim. It’s not that hard for me these days. I’ve been married long enough to have that one down ;)

Erik Reagan on Mar 29th, 2010 at 9:14 am

Your Words of Wisdom

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