[sword-devel] My personal OpenSource ideologies

Troy A. Griffitts sword-devel@crosswire.org
Sun, 09 Dec 2001 14:25:30 -0700

I'm taking the opposing side not because I don't agree with you in some

Again, I also speak only my own opinions of opensource and NOT for the
entire project or everyone involved at CrossWire.

Especially, Chris Little (<- most likely to disagree with me).

> > Many Java and C compilers are not freely distributable in source form
> > either, yet we support them...  Okay, that's not the same thing,
> As you say, it's not the same thing.

No, but other things ARE the same thing, like the windows frontend
depending on Borland's IDE, VCL, etc.  I'm not going to write our code
to wxWindows (I'll leave that to Chris :) ).  It's just too easy to use
an Rapid Application Development environment like Borland's C++Builder
and their Visual Component Library (VCL).  What are my alternatives?  To
use gtk on windows?!

> > but it seems we're in the business of spreading the Gospel of Christ
> > not necessarily the Gospel of Open Source.  My point is open source in
> > all its glory is still just a means to an end, not necessarily the end
> > in and of itself.
> As you said, Open Source IS a means to an end. That's why you are using
> it, because it IS an effective means. Closed source is not such an
> effective means.

No, we're using it because we want others to be able to use our
software, not because it has been of much benefit to us.  I think the
opensource idea is cool and meets our purpose for this project.  I am
NOT an opensource evangelist and think RMS is a socialist extremist that
should not be proud to live in the US. :)  But that's just my personal
private opinion :)  I am a commercial software engineer and make my
living writing and selling proprietary software.  That's the American
way.  We strive to make the PLAYING FIELD level in this country, NOT the
people.  We can excel because our country gives us that opportunity, and
without commercial, 'closed' competition you wouldn't have a 2GHz
computer on your desk.

> > If an external library does it faster and more compact than we could
> > on our own, I don't see anything against it, especially if we can
> > distribute it ourselves and the end user doesn't even have to know.
> Will you see something against it when Objectspace pulls it and you are
> left high and dry?

We'll change it!  That would be unfortunate, and I don't believe legal
(I don't think they can retroactively change their license on code
they've already released under one license, but instead a new license
would apply, only for future releases) but we can always change our
code.  It's much easier than writing and maintaining our own library
that has nothing to do with our project, just to avoid the possiblity
that we might have to change our calls to their api.

Commercial companies face this issue with every library decision they
make.  But they're smart enough to write their code in such a way that
they don't die if Oracle goes out of business.

But it's the same for anything.  What if a project dies whos code I'm
using and I don't feel like-- or have the knowledge to-- maintain their
code.  I'll change our code to use someone elses.  That's just life, and
I'm not religious enough to be a 'pure', 'let's use free opensource
only, even if it requires extra work' kinda guy.  It's NOT my mission. 
I like opensource.  I'll contribute to opensource.  But I won't make
decisions based on extremist, opensource-only thinking.

Again, I also speak only my own opinions of opensource and NOT for the
entire project or everyone involved at CrossWire.  I like free.  Free is
good, especially when we're trying to build free software!  jgl is free
now.  If it gives us the best features, I think the decisions we make
should be based on this.  I'm not going to remove the dependencies on
VCL and Borland's IDE for the windows frontend anytime soon, so you're
stuck with those.

See my next message about jgl, specifically.

	My own, humble opinions,