Chris Schmidt (crschmidt) wrote,
Chris Schmidt
crschmidt

Open Source

From Neil:


WMI is evil: The snap to border behavior of evilwm and its fast window moving through mouse grabbing can be emulated with floating clients too (just try Alt + mouse move over floating clients).
WMI Overview

(I wrote the snap to border behavior in EvilWM) [Delocalized Ham - Neil's Website]

I remember watching Neil as he hacked apart the window manager we both used to write the window snapping code. Something I'm still relatively impressed by is that someone I was living with could write such cool code. It was a really tiny little addition to the code, but just to watch him crank out something so clean was very impressive.

I love open source, and moving to OS X has come to remind me that not all code is open and free like it tends to be on Linux. From the FTP client I use to the very newsreader I'm using to both read and post this, the code just isn't available to make changes you might want to to a program. I'm starting to wonder if it would be possible to create a license that would allow distribution of source code - with a license of the program - without allowing the re-distribution of either source code or binaries based on that source code. It's not the same as the GNU GPL, as far as I know, since GPL requires the allowance of free redistribution.

Is there a commonly used software license like this? Perhaps designed for shareware: You can use this program for 30 days. After that, you should pay us - if you do pay us, you get the code. Does this even make sense? I know that I want to negotiate something along those lines, not for redistribution purposes, but to build upon the work of others, for a program for my cell phone. MiniGPS is a wonderful program, but it's very much limited in what it can do. I would like to take the program as it stands and expand upon it. However, so far as I can tell, they do not offer any way to get their source.

I know that I'd be a lot more willing to partake of a purchase if I could get the source code with it, even if it wasn't for redistribution. I understand the problems involved in this type of distribution: what's to stop me from removing all the shareware nags and just distributing that copy? On the other hand, what's to stop people from redistributing license keys as they often do?

I don't know about everyone - I know that I'm odd in wanting the source code, as most people couldn't care less. However, I would find myself a lot more willing to support programmers if I knew that I could change their program to do what I wanted rather than having to wait for them to do it. I know where feature requests go: right into the circular `rm` file. Being able to hack the code apart and work on it myself would mean I'd never have to worry about that kind of problem -- I could fix it myself if I felt properly motivated.

I suppose that most people think I'm being unreasonable, but I like the thought of having control over my programs, what they're doing, and if need be, having the ability to change the way they behave to suit my needs.
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