It’s the weekend, so it’s a good time for a digression. This blog post from Matt Trout describes a lot of the code work he’s done for Perl, and what he thinks the best contribution is. The important part is the end of the post. He notes that for all the code he’s added, the best return has come from encouraging others to contribute. The net result has been a magnification of effort, as more people donate time.
The reason I’m posting this is to note that DragonFly, as a community, has been excellent so far at providing a low-drama environment for people to have ideas and contribute work. Keep this in mind; the best benefit to DragonFly isn’t lines of code, but people welcomed.
Here’s some lazy Sunday reading about software licenses. Before you panic and quickly click away to something more fun, these are not flamewars.
This InformIT interview with David Chisnall of Étoilé talks about various things, but has an interesting note about BSD code and Apple about halfway down.
I think this is a much better way of encouraging corporate involvement in open source than legal bludgeons like the GPL. The BSD license is easy for even a non-lawyer to read and understand, so there is no confusion when using BSD-licensed code.
I’m thinking about this because there are people who still can’t figure out the difference.
Along the same lines, I was surprised by the number of open source programs found just by license listing in the new Palm Pre. I wish I had a spare $200.
Wandering even farther off topic, is Étoilé what Windowmaker should have evolved into?
I linked to articles from last week’s issue of the Economist before, but now that I made it to the other end of the magazine, there’s another one of interest that doesn’t mention open source but still relates to it: An article on intellectual property that covers how to handle antitrust legislation and companies where the property is mostly virtual. Useful to anyone who has dealt with the GPL and/or Microsoft. (i.e. everyone)
Also, not really open source related, but computer games can be good for you. I really like this magazine – not because I agree with them, but because they at least examine things in depth, and avoid the usual computing blunders you see in print.
If you don’t want to read the whole magazine yourself, there’s a nice summary available. (that link covers the previous week; recap of this issue possibly this weekend.
For your weekend reading: A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages. It’s far more clever than the source material suggests. (via)
Two recent roguelike items:
Gamasutra has a 4-page article about Rogue, emphasizing its origins being intertwined with the original BSD UNIX. Read the comments for some BSD history, from that actual people involved. (via)
The latest @Play column about roguelikes is very long, and that will not be a surprise after you read the title: How To Win At Nethack. I find articles like this fascinating, but then again, I also enjoyed reading through the AD&D Dungeon Master Guide for the charts.
Hubert Feyrer, for his PhD, put together a Virtual Unix Lab – a whole lab of NetBSD systems for teaching System Administration. It’s a good strategy for an environment where some percentage of the systems will be irretrievably mangled. It’s available as a book.
Here’s an article on chiptunes. (What’s that?.) The writing is very exacting, but the page has been liberally sprinkled with video examples of the source material. Read the dry text while being serenaded. Highlights: comparisons of Metallica to a 1988 C64 game, and compilation of crack screens. (via I lost track of it, sorry)