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Hacking Utils and Misconceptions about Open Source
Forum Index - Donut Plains - General Discussion - Hacking Utils and Misconceptions about Open Source
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I made a rather long thing I wanted to post, but it got a bit long and ranty. I didn't really mean to make a rant, I just want to try and explain Open Source better because I don't think most people really understand what it is, and it's causing people to not want to use it. I put my full rant here in case anyone wants to see it.

There are a lot of programmers that absolutely refuse to make anything open source. Common logic that people seem to justify this with is that they will lose control over the project or that they will get no credit for their work (though I think most of the programmers themselves just say their code is sloppy and they don't think anyone could understand it, to which I say: "So?").

Here is the thing: That's not what "Open Source" is. Open Source means simply that the source is available. It does not mean you lose rights to it. It does not mean anyone can make their own versions of it. Heck it doesn't even imply people can modify it at all. It just means it's there if people want to peak at it to see how it works. I am not saying every program should be open source, I just mean it's not the same thing as "Free Software" where everyone can modify and mess with it and make subversions willy nilly. There are rules with what you can do with it. Hell even free software usually allows people credit.

But it's not that I feel open source is the best solution to everyone's problem. It may in fact be impractical to package up the source, especially when proprietary libraries are involved (though I personally think some source is better then none). It's just that people seem to see open source as meaning no control, and it's not. Thats more free software, and even then, you still have some over what branches are official or not, and you still get credit.

Even more important, I think, is using standards and data formats everyone knows. Right now Lunar Magic for example, has lots of hidden patches and formats, making tools that are compatible near imposable in some cases, though the help file is filled with useful information on some of them.

Actually, does anyone have any other reasons why they don't like open source? ALLOW ME TOO REFUTE THEM! :P

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Depends on what, if it's something that makes a computer run, I say sure look and learn, but if it's let's say a game, then I say no, because then you're likely not caring about how it runs, you just wanna see the leveldesign, coding or whatever.

I would like to know how a basic SNES game runs however, I would love to look into something like that.

Basic point, only if you can learn something.
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You care if it doesn't work, but I do see your point. I think it should be noted that a game as a work of art or fiction and a game as a engine are really two different things. Though I think game engines are good to open source, but not necessarily the actual content need be part of it.

For example, the doom engine you can now freely compile and many enhanced versions with extra features exist. But the whole game package you still need to buy, though Freedoom exists to more or less replace the normal game, but it's still not the same, just all new data to replace the old data. Copyright is copyright no matter what you do.

Anyway, I brought this subject up mostly in the context of utilities. I think they are usually more useful to open source in general. It may not make your computer run, but it is how you do most of the stuff on it.

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Originally posted by KilloZapit
Open Source means simply that the source is available. It does not mean you lose rights to it. It does not mean anyone can make their own versions of it. Heck it doesn't even imply people can modify it at all.

Sounds like a matter of licensing. Open source doesn't mean public domain, so licensing would be important to research. I read an interesting article by byuu, I find it relevant. http://byuu.org/articles/licensing/

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I am more referring to the general idea of letting code be available, not to any particular license. It should be noted though, regarding licensing, you can always just make one up.

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Both "Open Source" and "Free Software" have been made into religions by Pope Bruce Perens and Saint Richard Stallman.

The terms in English are clear: "open source" = the source is viewable, "free software" = there is no charge for the software.

But thanks to cult status, people are desperately trying to redefine them to mean dozens of different things. I guess they can't make up new, unambiguous definitions.

If you call your project "free software" or "open source", legions of these guys will come after you and call your work proprietary and non-free. I've had some idiots tell me they'd rather source be closed than open but non-commercial. MAME and Snes9X are often called "proprietary" by these dumbasses, for instance.

Anyway, it's all well and good to release the source. But people will fork it whether you give them permission with the license or not. It's the internet, so it's unlikely you can sue some random screen name and actually get damages for it. And even if you could, talk about hassle.

To release source, you have to be okay with the prospect of your work being stolen. In other words, you have to be doing it for others, and not for your own pride and ego. That's a pretty uncommon trait for humanity, so it's no wonder so much code is closed source.

My pet peeve was probably with FuSoYa's SuperFX tracer. He added fopen()+fprintf() to Snes9X, but he never releases source code to anything. Whatever he did caused a bug in Doom that I was experiencing, and running "diff -ru" on his fork would have shown me exactly how to fix a bug, but instead I had to spend two days to track it down myself by hand. All because I guess it was too much to release your fprintf() call to the public :/

But it's the author's right to do whatever they want, so long as it complies with the original license, so what can you do. Because of things like that, I'd have to strongly recommend at least LGPL to any aspiring open source authors.
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