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Hello Joel

I appreciate it may seem a little odd that a complete stranger such as myself should write to you directly but I wanted to provide you with a little support.

I have been a keen fan of Eraser for a few years, quite a few years to be honest but I never felt the urge to join a forum until now.

I have watched Eraser’s development when Garrett managed it on his own and I have checked the Trac most days to follow your progress since you joined Garett and re-wrote Eraser.

The reason I am writing to you now is that I have noticed a growing criticism of you personally and your abilities, this is something I cannot tolerate. Eraser 5 was a mess, lets be honest, it was patches on patches and it only had to deal with 2 operating systems, Win98 and XP.

However since you took over we have had Vista and Win 7, soon to be 8, come on the scene which you have managed to cater for admirably.

I really want you to know that for every person who complains about you I am more than certain there are a thousand who think you are doing a good job but cannot be bothered to write to tell you so. In fact I am equally certain that of those that do criticise you many of them are doing it out of frustration at Erasers slow development and don’t actually mean it at you personally. I suspect many don’t even know what they are talking about.

Unfortunatly this post isn’t all sweetness and light. I do understand some of the criticisms, not of you or your abilities but that of your design choices regarding security software such as Eraser.

The thing I believe you made an error of judgement on is just how paranoid users of Eraser are, they, we I etc are a very paranoid bunch. Too much code (bloat) or too many features makes us scared and nervous. The main criticism I have to find myself agreeing with is that of the scheduler. When paranoid users want to delete (erase) something they want it to happen immediately and not added to a schedule !!

It seems that you do not have so much time to write Eraser as we have seen roadmap predictions come and go. This is understandable as you are giving your time for free. In light of this time restriction and the growing criticisms I mentioned earlier I have a suggestion.

Please would you consider releasing a command line only version of Eraser. This would be stripped down code to only the erase process. Give the user the ability to select which method and let them create their own schedules with the standard windows scheduler. It should wipe freespace, MFT and slack. I believe this would take a considerable amount of “heat” off you as it would satisfy the paranoid who seem to be the ones complaining loudest.

By all means continue with the GUI but please bear in mind the paranoia surrounding this type of software and remove the need for the scheduler and any bloat.

I see that you wrote code in C+ in the hope you would receive more help from others, this is very unlikely to happen as there are few people who actually actively contribute to anything. You are (luckily for us) one of the few who actually get on and do something !!! which inspired me to write now in your defence.

So thank you very much Joel for all your hard work, I for one believe you know what you are doing and that you have made a significant improvement to Eraser. You are a skilled programmer but you are catering for a difficult group, the paranoid, so please don’t take anyone’s abuse personally. Many more people support you and are grateful, I just wish they would let you know.

Thank you Joel and keep up the good work !
Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.

I think it's timely to recall the reason for the scheduler in the first place: Eraser is usually slowed down by multiple erasures operating on the same disk, so if Eraser can intelligently reshuffle erasures so that disk throughput is maximised by reducing seek times, that should be the case. In addition, having a scheduler would allow out-of-process erasures, allowing non-administrators to do unused space erasures (at least in theory, since it has yet to be implemented) That's the aim of having a scheduler. Of course, the design at that time was also, though to a lesser extent, proposed due to XP's rather limited scheduling capability.

I was thinking over the last few days (I read this when you posted, but went to ponder for a bit) and I think that allowing direct erasure without a scheduler is definitely possible, but should only be available on the command line for reasons above (clearly, that would be in the domain of power user territory). I think a similar idea was captured in the Eraser Trac as well. Nonetheless, I need to clarify that the scheduler is in practice a very simple priority queue, a data structure that has very few complexities (and those that do, are not because of the data structure but other reasons)

The UI is definitely pretty (thanks go to Dennis van Lith) and I've tried to make Eraser accessible yet powerful -- this is not an easy task though. This has made certain groups of people doubt my ability, but I think that Eraser 6 offers most of what Eraser 5 does (and a bit more), with a more streamlined workflow and increased paranoia. I don't foresee criticism to stop no matter what I do, so I try ro take it as part of my occupational hazards.

Once again, thank you. I'd love to make Eraser work better for power users, being one myself, but time currently isn't on my side.
Thank you for your reply Joel.

I am really pleased you are able to withstand the constant criticisms and bickering, you are a tough guy, I wouldn’t like it and I doubt I could handle it as well as you !

I am grateful for your explanation of the scheduler, I personally understand it better now and I hope others read this and understand it better also.

I appreciate finding time to work on Eraser is a problem for you, I believe this is the cause of most peoples complaints to be honest. I think it is that they are frustrated at the development speed which has nothing to do with your abilities. They just take it out on you in the only way they know. I think most things will calm down when 6.2 is out.

I really just wanted to back you up publicly, which is why I didn’t PM you. Please continue to shrug off the personal criticisms and push on with Eraser, from my limited experience I think you are doing a great job and I only wish you had more time.

Thanks again Joel, keep your head down and hang in there !!