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MEGA65 and "Open" Software

  • I had a little chat with a colleague after the business part this afternoon. Among other things, about software and how expectations have changed here.

    Specifically, we also talked about the MEGA65 and the game "Tristam Island", which can be bought for around 4 USD.

    My colleague refuses to buy the game on principle, because he understands the MEGA65 as "open source" and he expects that from the software too. So available for free and with source code.

    I was a little amazed when I heard that. I can't understand that at all. ?(

    Just because the MEGA65 project is open source doesn't mean that you have to get everything for free (the hardware also costs money and not a little) and then you get also the source code freely available.

    In any case, I have no problem if someone wants money for his software and I can also understand if someone does not release the source code.

    It is still my decision whether and what I want to buy and it is also the decision of the author whether he wants some money and whether he releases his source code or not. There should be no compulsion behind it, not on both sides.

    I think I am not alone here with my view? Or do you expect that all software for the MEGA65 "must" be without charge and with free code?

  • Of course the computer itself being "open source" doesn't mean that every developer who writes software FOR this machine has to make his software open source as well.

    Also, there's a kind of difference between games, which are basically works of art and which are things that are not "required" by anoyne (i.e. pure leisure), and other software like e.g. tools, libraries, etc, which are something that others rely upon (i.e. people want to communicate via Wifi, so there has to be a wifi network library, and if there is none, well then someone develops it and it makes absolutely sense to make that open source). That's not to say one of those two things is more "important" or "worthy" of course, but I have no problem if someone asks for money in order to enjoy their "art", because it's everyone's own choice to do so.

    Even in the Linux community, there is no huge open source game scene (yes there are some), and I think it might be for the same reasons.

  • Well, I actually intend o purchase few C64 games (definitely the Pig Quest!), but mainly to support the idea of retrocomputing, I don’t expect to spend too much time playing them. I’m probably too old to come back to Narnia.

    As for MEGA65, I currently see no game I would like to purchase. In the future - who knows.

    I agree open-source is generally a better idea, but for some reason this idea does not work for games.

  • Also, there's a kind of difference between games, which are basically works of art and which are things that are not "required" by anoyne (i.e. pure leisure), and other software like e.g. tools, libraries, etc, which are something that others rely upon (i.e. people want to communicate via Wifi, so there has to be a wifi network library, and if there is none, well then someone develops it and it makes absolutely sense to make that open source).

    I wouldn't make a difference between games, tools or applications. I think that the author can decide whether he wants to release his software for free and/or publish the sourcecode or he publish it as closed source and wants some money for it, even for a tool or driver. It's all his own decision.

    The "problem", I confess, is that some people don't want to pay for software, because so much of it is open source and avaliable for no cost. You can even run a PC with a no cost OS (Linux) and without paying a cent for applications (like LibreOffice or so ...).

    But that doesn't mean, that you can not publish software for charge and as closed source anymore. ;)

  • I think what I tried to say was that this might be the reason why it's more common for tools and libraries to be opensource as opposed to games, and not that I personally think what developers should do and how they should price/release their work.

  • I think everyone has to decide for themselves whether he / she wants to spend money on programmes (be it games or apps).

    Personally, I always buy games simply to show the programmers that I value their efforts. I see the whole thing as FeralChild does

    Snoopy : Why don't you ask your colleague next time if he also had a computer as a child?! :-)

  • Applications are different from games I think, because they are often tools to create other content. I would be happy to share an image editor or a library, because I would hope that someone else uses it to create cool things that I can benefit from later. Games are so to say the end of the food chain, which is why providing them for free would be less attractive for me. My two cents ;).

  • In my school and university time, I spent much more money for applications (mostly programming languages) as software than for games. Just because with the right application I spent much more time than with a game. So it was more valuable for me to give my money for it. :)

    And that's still the case with me today: I'm more willing and more willing to pay for a good application than for a game.

    Of course that doesn't mean I don't want to pay for a game if I like it. ;)

  • That's indeed a strange view. Linux is free and open source (but surely, we must be careful what "Linux" means, usually only the kernel, or we refer for a Linux distribution more, often mentioned as "GNU/Linux" since many tools/components - other than kernel - is from the GNU project ... though those components are open source as well), but surely there are commercial software for it, you must pay for, and no source code at all for them. In fact, leaving open for commercial titles are important since there can be some bigger projects some people want to have money for. Now the choice: not to allow them, and we will miss those, or have them (but not free) so everybody can decide at least it worth to pay for, or not. I think the second is better. The "platform" being open source it's just the "platform", not the things other people writes for. But as it's said, sure, your colleague can decide if he wants to pay or not for a given a software, there is no problem here. The problem more, if somebody misunderstand things and feels "fooled" that it's a trap: "but it was said it's fully open source, now it's a trap, that I must pay for some software still, after I thought it's completely free and I jumped in the project?".

    In fact, something "being open source" does not mean too much for the 99% of the people, since they have no value on having the source, if they don't know what to do with the source code :) Imagine how much people would use Linux, if they have only source code, and not actual builds, distributions etc (which installers, binaries, packages ...). Also, worth to mention, there are software which are open source, still not free, technically.

    Honestly the logic of your colleague it's like when you're informed there is a free-to-use road built, and then he cries that he needs to BUY a car also the the fuel, it's not open at all ... Surely the software case of this story is still better since there are "free cars" (ie software) to use on the platform, just not all of them are that.

  • I think the "big problem" with so many open source projects is that in fact some people have come to expect that they get all software for free and don't have to pay anything for it. And of course everything with the corresponding source code.

    There is a lot of software, some of which is ingenious, that you can download with a mouse click and, if you want, you can also take a look at the source code.

    And when someone comes up and says "I would like to have money for my software", it "irritates" some who have perhaps even forgotten that software was once extremely expensive. ;)

    But I still think that every author can decide for himself whether he wants money for his programs and whether he publishes the source code or not.

    Fortunately, we have not yet reached that point where software must be absolutely free according to regulation §08/15-b. Then many software developers would be without an income. :D

  • I doubt that we will ever get to §08/15-b, as there are surprisingly many tasks in software development that are no fun at all. Good luck finding someone to spend his spare time on it :D.

  • Well, there are different types of open source developers (and licenses).

    Some people simply want to develop good software with open source code, for free and for everybody and don't care if someone takes this software and sells it or use it commercial etc. This people also use proprietary stuff because it's good and they like it. They also pay for those stuff. Also they are happy if the people pay for their software (donations).

    The other ones, Let's call them Stallman-commies, don't care about the software itself but only about their license. If there is no open (libre) pendant of a specific software, they use the existing alternative one and lie to everyone (and themselves) that it's so much better especially because it is free. It would be a sin if it would be different.

    My opinion: use the software you like and, if you are able to, pay for it. Be it open source or proprietary one.

    I like the way it is handled in Elementary OS. They have a pay what you want appstore, so everyone can decide if a software is it worth to pay for.