I would write them an email thanking them for their work. If you thought they put a lot of time and pride into this software that they gave away for free, and you found it useful as your only navigation tool, then it seems fair to say thanks.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of energy, just follow this formula: Say thanks, say how you used their tool, say how it helped you, press send.
It might make a big difference to this person to receive such a message. Especially if it’s purely to say thanks and doesn’t include any asks, requests or attempts to convince them of anything.
There’s lots of people out there on the internet just doing their own thing. If they choose to share their code despite having imperfections, then I think that’s still neat. They don’t really owe anybody anything. There’s no obligation for a certain level of documentation or setting up the install process in a certain way. They definitely don’t deserve to be bullied.
You said that they probably did their best with the knowledge and resources at hand. I think that’s a really great perspective. Not everyone does programming as their main thing. Maybe they have other interests and skills but needed this tool desperately, so they continued despite the difficulty and made something that met their needs. If so, that’s amazing!
I wonder what constraints, influences and difficulties they faced that led them to building the software the way they did? You could try finding out whether they are looking for help and in what form they would like such help.
Perhaps you do want to publish your own chart plotter, in which case it might help to view it as building upon the work and learning of others rather than viewing it as competition or trying to outgrow each other. If you do publish your own chart plotter then I hope somebody down the line thanks you for your own work too!
awesome, thank you @cameralibre!
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