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Can Proprietary Language Teams Succeed By Going Open Source?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the reply-hazy-ask-again dept.

Open Source 136

JerkyBoy writes "RunRev maintains the proprietary LiveCode programming environment. Those familiar with HyperCard on the Mac would feel quite at home using the environment to produce simple applications, and possibly more, although the programming language it incorporates has a few significant shortcomings (e.g., true object orientation). But it is a very versatile environment, currently claiming support for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and server-side scripting. For us NOOBs who could never find the time to learn C++ and something like the wxWidgets or QT toolkits, it seems like a pretty good deal. Recently RunRev has done something interesting, however, and that is to create a Kickstarter campaign to move the environment to open source (~500K lines of code, ~700 files). The way that they describe it, it sounds like there will be a commercial version and an open-source version of the environment (hopefully not cripple-ware), and they are asking for money to do this. But I want to know: what are their chances of success with this model? How in the world can they make enough money to maintain their programmers and overhead while giving the environment away? In other words, if a company like RunRev announces that they are moving to an open-source model, should you become more interested or less interested in their product?"

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136 comments

Yes. (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#42776609)

Of course it can work. Even Microsoft does something similar with its express editions.

Re:Yes. (4, Insightful)

ratbag (65209) | about a year ago | (#42776665)

Microsoft's wide portfolio of products may allow a little cross-subsidisation (mild understatement), which is not really an option for a one-product firm as described in this story.

Also the Express editions might be considered loss-leaders: you start with the basics and eventually you need the full-blown paid product. It doesn't seem like this firm is differentiating its offerings in such a way.

Re:Yes. (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#42779465)

But this sounds like something kind of scummy.

RunRev already has a coded product that they have been selling for years.

This sounds like a "sales are bad, so lets see if we can sell out and get a wack of cash from suckers in exchange for releasing part of what we've done as open source while still keeping the important bits for us to sell"

Re:Yes. (3, Informative)

fortyfoxes (2831679) | about a year ago | (#42776773)

It's pretty close to the Blender story - where a closed source but active community decided to open up the source code in order to grow the community. See "3D software Blender's "community buy out" in 2002" - http://www.blender.org/blenderorg/blender-foundation/history/ [blender.org] . I was at the launch event, and they faced many of the same code issues that the LiveCode community now face - a large amount of legacy code written in a way which was difficult to open source. Blender is now the preeminent open source software for 3D modelling around the world - and LiveCode has the potential to be much bigger - as it applies to a more general audience of developers interested in desktop, server side, mobile and tablet apps across multiple platforms - in a language which is literally child's play to learn. Anyone interested in getting more people into coding, and therefore getting a wider understanding of some of the most important technologies that are shaping our future - should give the KickStarer a look. This is more than an educational project, it is about democratising programming - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1755283828/open-source-edition-of-livecode [kickstarter.com]

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776811)

Its nothing like it. Blender brings something new and unique to a table overfilled with half-assed programming languages/environments.

Re:Yes. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776857)

If Blender is "preeminent" anything, it's best that be kept quiet. The product has terrible documentation, and the Worst Interface Ever. If that's the best open source can do for 3D, it's not making open source look good.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42777469)

Instead of trolling, try using it, or even doing some of the tutorials. You might be surprised.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779749)

Have you used it since 2.5?

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42780047)

Yes, I tried it again recently, 64-bit version, 2.6. i had used it eons ago, probably pre version 1.0. Crude but usable. The new one has an interface that appears to be a collage of different paradigms, odd mode shifts and inconsistencies. It looks like it was designed by that room full of monkeys trying to write Shakespeare. And the documentation leaves out contextual details, you look up something you want to do and it directs you to screen options that it doesn't tell you where are hiding. And most of the third party howtos are for earlier versions that don't match the new UI, so they're useless as well. It would be useful in a UI design class to demonstrate what NOT to do in a UI.

open source (1)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | about a year ago | (#42776627)

I haven't seen any single case where moving to open source was bad for the mover.

Re:open source (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776687)

Except Novell. Er.. and Sun. And SGI... Google is struggling to keep control over Android and put the cork back in the bottle. I would say that open source is fine if you don't want to commercialize the product in a heavy way.

Re:open source (1)

RDW (41497) | about a year ago | (#42776761)

It looks to me like they'll be dual licensing. GPL3 is mentioned on the Kickstarter page, which presumably includes the deployed runtime libraries, so anything built with this version must also be FOSS. Anyone who wants to build a proprietary application will have to buy the commercial version. This is probably a good move for them. Although LiveCode pitched as an easy to use RAD, the current pricing is too high for casual developers:

http://www.runrev.com/store/ [runrev.com]

A GPL edition will kill their education sales, but they should benefit from a much bigger user base and more potential future customers for the commercial version.

Android an Open source success story. (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42776829)

Except Novell. Er.. and Sun. And SGI... Google is struggling to keep control over Android and put the cork back in the bottle. I would say that open source is fine if you don't want to commercialize the product in a heavy way.

Novell had its business model removed as Windows absorbed Networking [much like they are doing with stream now], and after getting involved with Linux took a bribe from Microsoft which like all dealing with Microsoft ended badly. Sun and SGI just fell to Better Value Microsoft PC's, and bad management [overspending].

Oddly Googles Android is a success story; set to overtake Windows this year. In reality only Linux is truly open source with its slightly amended GPL2 License, the rest is Apache which is why Google do not [and in some cases haven't] released the code for versions of its software. The reality is most of its value comes from its [cross platform] closed applications and web services...which aren't open source.

Re:Android an Open source success story. (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about a year ago | (#42779529)

In reality only Linux is truly open source with its slightly amended GPL2 License.

I don't remember ever reading anything about it being anything but a 100% GPL2 license. Do you have a reference to this?

Re:Android an Open source success story. (1)

lingon (559576) | about a year ago | (#42780583)

Uhm yes, the license text itself? Just diff COPYING in the kernel tree [kernel.org] with the one available at gnu.org [gnu.org] . Honestly, it's not that difficult.

Anyway, since you were to lazy to do it, the difference is this added preamble (sans some layout changes):

NOTE! This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use kernel services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of "derived work". Also note that the GPL below is copyrighted by the Free Software Foundation, but the instance of code that it refers to (the Linux kernel) is copyrighted by me and others who actually wrote it.

Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel is concerned is _this_ particular version of the license (ie v2, not v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated.

Linus Torvalds

Shortcoming (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#42776639)

the programming language it incorporates has a few significant shortcomings (e.g., true object orientation)

That's the first time I've encountered someone citing true object orientation as a significant shortcoming.

Re:Shortcoming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776659)

Strange indeed. Maybe because it means that it is slow since even numbers are true objects and not efficient PODs like in C++ or Java?

Re:Shortcoming (4, Interesting)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year ago | (#42776669)

Indeed. For example, interestingly, the standard template library (STL) used in many C++ projects is actually a move away from object orientation.

Anyway, I just had a peek at some sample LiveCode source, and noticed that sometimes it approaches human language. For example:

delete the last char of tFilesWithPaths

So, perhaps LiveCode is a move back towards the COBOL days?

Re:Shortcoming (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#42776701)

So, perhaps LiveCode is a move back towards the COBOL days?

I had wondered what all those guys had been up to since 2000 - now I know!

Re:Shortcoming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776733)

I am not a native speaker of the English language.
I like C more than SQL for example because there is less English in it.

And by the way, what does
t
mean in the example above? Does not sound very English to me and is against the style guides where I work.

Re:Shortcoming (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776865)

And by the way, what does t mean in the example above? Does not sound very English to me

You've never spoken to anyone from Yorkshire then

Re:Shortcoming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42777007)

I like C more than SQL for example because there is less English in it.

That's really weird. It seems like saying "I like porcelain more than I like orange juice, because it's less acidic".

Re:Shortcoming (2)

fortyfoxes (2831679) | about a year ago | (#42776767)

Yes - interestingly buried away in the KickStarter is the description of an "Open Language" feature. This feature is particularly interesting with regard to the ease of creation of domain specific languages. In many ways the object oriented nature of much of the code base is hidden behind a language and conceptual model that allows a more intuitive use of object oriented concepts, and wraps these in a DSL. Opening up the source code will allow us all to create truly natural DSL for a whole range of open source low level projects.

Re:Shortcoming (1)

montegoulding (2831677) | about a year ago | (#42776807)

There's already people discussing implementing it in french. I think it would be pretty awesome to have this english like language suddenly become just natural language coding!

Re:Shortcoming (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776849)

Nothing better than writing "Add one to number of gadgets, storing result as number of gadgets." instead of "nGadgets = nGadgets + 1;" or even "nGadgets++;"

If you're so inclined, COBOL is over there [wikipedia.org] , and Inform7 is over there [inform7.com] (and it's pretty interesting in its own way).

Seriously, syntax is never the problem, logic and the need to explain every step is the problem.

Re:Shortcoming (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#42777867)

I very much disagree. "gadgets++" has about the right information density. COBOL is way too verbose. It takes too much code to do something, and too much reading to figure out what's being done. The term "COBOL finders" exists for a reason. Making the language closer to English is not going to solve the problem most people have in writing software. Their problem is being able to organize their thoughts and apply them in a logical way. In many cases adding verbosity makes it harder.

Re: verbosity (1)

Robert Cailliau (2831845) | about a year ago | (#42779797)

I completely agree that verbosity should be avoided, and so should the use of special characters.
Syntax that needs detailed comments is also not very good.

I much prefer to write

if x<>0 and y/x<z then exit repeat

than

if ( (x!=0) && (y/x<z) ) { break; };

The first line looks cleaner to me: fewer special characters.
Note also that the division of y by x will not be tried because LiveCode's "and" operator is specified to skip if its first operand is already false. Many languages fail to tell you what must happen in these cases and then implementations differ.
Finally, how many seasoned programmers still fall into the following trap when something changes and the code now becomes:

if x=0 or x/y<z then exit repeat

but in C-like syntax they then write:

if ( (x=0) && (x/y<z) ) { break; };

forgetting the extra = sign.

Clean syntax does help reduce the debugging time.

Re:Shortcoming (1)

gtall (79522) | about a year ago | (#42778175)

That's because their language was modeled on Hypertalk which was Hypercard's language. In fact, they advertize that their app will read Hypercard stacks. Their application are essentially stacks but updated to use a more modern architecture.

Re:Shortcoming (1)

Robert Cailliau (2831845) | about a year ago | (#42779657)

I like the phrase "move back".

COBOL is from 1958 or so, around the same time as FORTRAN and I think after Algol. It is quite a while ago, but do not forget that the syntax of php, javascript, C++ and the like dates back all the way to C, 1969! The major influence on C was the slowness of the teletype equipment on which it had to be typed in. Why still use syntax from those days?

I started writing code and designing programming languages around 1970. Coming across Hypertalk and later LiveCode was simply a revelation. Before, I had trouble reading code even a few weeks after I had written it, unless I added comments like "this set of lines deletes the last character of the files with paths."

In LiveCode that comment can actually be your code! And even six months from now I can still understand what it does.

Nevertheless, LiveCode is strict, and the results of statements are very well defined unlike many other languages.

(BTW: the "t" in tFilesWithPaths is just a programmer's way of indicating the variable is a "t"emporary variable, not a global. It is not necessary, even though it might please my Yorkshire wife)

Re:Shortcoming (1)

montegoulding (2831677) | about a year ago | (#42776777)

I've been working with LiveCode for over 10 years and develop third party addons for the platform. I don't consider the lack of object orientation to be a big issue although I would like to be able to set a behavior script on a behavior script. I won't say there aren't shortcomings to the platform. One of the biggest is trying to use a VCS with the binary file format. I'm working on an open source three way merge driver for that. I'm looking forward to getting under the hood and sending my first pull request on the engine and I'm hoping this move will make it a good option for a much bigger user base.

Re:Shortcoming (5, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | about a year ago | (#42776969)

Object orientation is a tool, unfortunately most programming languages treat it as if was a religion.

Re:Shortcoming (2)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#42778255)

It's not the only form of programming, but it's a way of organizing the whole software and non-OOP tends to break that which is why they don't mix well. When I program in Qt pretty much everything is an object, objects have child objects and all the state, all the data is placed in member variables. It is fairly similar to a file tree, directories have subdirectories and files. Delete a file and it's cleaned up, delete a whole directory and it goes away, always and without exception no matter how much I refactor the code. Code that allocates something in one place and relies on clean-up code somewhere else either in the same class - except destructors that are always called, a different class or a global function breaks that analogy, I can delete a file and be left with dangling inodes and I'm fscked.

I think analogies like that are really important if you want human beings to wrap their head around what's going on. I can work with other models, like the "memory as untyped boxes" used in assembler or C. I find it easiest to imagine them as storage lockers at a station, they're all numbered and you better stick to those that are yours, you can ask for more but you'd better release them when you're done or you'll be "using up" them leading to an ever increasing rental bill - that is memory usage. It's a lot of micromanagement, no type checks, no object boundaries to easily see isolated parts and a lot of storage locker number math, but it's doable.

I also understand streaming programming, it's easiest to imagine them as massively parallel highways (yay car analogy) using road signs to split the streams - many of them dead ends so we continue with just a subset - and functions applying changes to anything passing through a stretch of the road. Ideally there's no state, input data just keeps flowing in one end and output data out the other. A good example is rendering, everything inside this triangle of points (x1,y1) (x2, y2), (x3,y3) should be colored red. You have a flow of pixels in, divert those inside the boundary and paint them red like in a drive-through car paint.

I also know that streaming programming is not the same as threaded programming that I do sometimes in Qt, where streams have many cars driving in parallel the threaded version is like having a multi-lane highway but with each car picking its own path depending on traffic. I can set off cars in one order and they come back in a completely different order and I have to make sure they don't crash or jam. In streaming programming you don't have deadlocks, livelocks or locking order issues, but here you do and there's a million different ways of solving this with mutexes and semaphores and synchronization to make sure nobody steps on anyone else's toes.

The trouble is stateless and stateful programming, synchronized and unsynchronized parallelization are all diametrical opposites, and the whole point of OOP is to abstract yourself away from the memory-as-boxes model. If you mix them it's like throwing all the colors of a painting kit together, you don't get a rainbow you get an ugly looking mess. Yet reality doesn't always fit into one of those cute little boxes so they all try doing a little of what the others are doing, but they always end up like alien little pieces. If I have to call C code with the new/free pattern from C++, I typically box it so it acts like a "proper" object that cleans up after itself. Because if I'm doing the OOP model, that's how I want everything to act.

Money is in bi-annual books and training (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776651)

All the money in programming languages is in books that must be updated every 2 years and training.
Just ask the Ruby on Rails guys.

They change the solution completely every 2 years, so that any old documentation is a liability. i've bought and thrown out 3 sets of Rails books over the years because the implementation details changed so much with every major release.

That is where all the money is in computer languages.

Re:Money is in bi-annual books and training (1)

ratbag (65209) | about a year ago | (#42776677)

Get off the treadmill :) Whilst I do have some "current" Rails books (notably The Rails 3 Way), I've stopped getting new editions of the Pickaxe or Agile WDR books. RailsCasts and good old fashioned studying the docs or picking through Stack Overflow have replaced purchasing books on Rails.

And the solution has hardly changed "completely" every two years. You'd still recognise Rails 1 code if you saw it today.

I limit my book purchases now to well-regarded overviews of new technologies, published before the full developer ecosystem has evolved, along with meatier tomes on design or subjects that I might one day make use of but don't currently need (most recently a book on ANTLR).

Re:Money is in bi-annual books and training (1)

murdocj (543661) | about a year ago | (#42777017)

I came into Rails recently (a year ago) but I'd agree with GP that the turnover in Rails is pretty amazing (& disturbing). Just in the little time I've been in the Rails world I've seem methods move from being "the Rails way" to being "deprecated". The result is that in general there really isn't documentation per se for Rails... it's Googling Stack Overflow and sorting thru the results to find the most plausible answer.

If they give it away for free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776683)

It probably didn't sell very well already.

Obligatory (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | about a year ago | (#42776707)

No.

Obligatory (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#42776833)

No.

Yes

Perhaps it's the other way around (3, Insightful)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | about a year ago | (#42776709)

Perhaps they are going OSS because they realized their product is simply not going to be successful closed source. The fact of the matter there are many many OSS options which already have wide adoption, and real developers will likely prefer these solutions over any closed source one. Tehre is also the fact that a non OSS platform will simply be dropped at some point and updates will stop - at which point you'll be screwed.

Poster pointed out one of these examples: hypercard, but I'd just like to point out that we had started developing an app on AIR only to have them drop cross platform (Linux specifically) support 2 months into our development. It was a job for a client, and we had to spend a few extra weeks porting it to Java. Since that time we have refused any proprietary platforms, which we didn't like in the first place but we now view as a direct risk. We don't even look at non OSS for our development, environments and libraries included.

Re:Perhaps it's the other way around (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776843)

Yet you use something under the control of Oracle...

Interesting FOSS definition you have there...

Re:Perhaps it's the other way around (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#42778539)

That used to be a problem until Sun released Java under the GPL. Now it isn't a problem anymore.

Re:Perhaps it's the other way around (1)

Tagged_84 (1144281) | about a year ago | (#42776871)

LiveCode has been around for a very long time now and at least one high profile user in NASA.

It originally started as MetaCard back in the 90's having first heard about them after receiving an offer to create a game using the language for free (it was around $1,500 AU) when I was 15, I had a fairly popular website devoted to my hypercard games and was looking for a new language to learn and this one was just like Hypercard but in colour!!

Fast forward a few years and they were bought out by Runtime Revolution who started as an alternative IDE (last I heard Metacard is still usable as an alt IDE) and I ended up jumping back to it to create one last game before entering into my Biomolecular degree. It was a huge challenge to create a visually heavy and unique* Sim/Strategy mix though, the language and software are orientated towards database and text use. I remember using Hypercard to create a German to English translator to help catch up when I got the chicken pox in grade 4 and have always found xtalk to be incredibly easy when working with text.

I stand by the argument that Hypercard would have created a far better web than html, sad that Bill Atkinson missed the networking mark and that Hypercard is rarely appreciated for the impact it had on the evolution of the web.

*I only learnt post-release that my unique take on turn based and real time strategy had already been done better by a game called X-Com.

Re:Perhaps it's the other way around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42777177)

Java has been around for a very long time now and at least one high profile user in NASA.

etc, etc.

Too many languages - insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776783)

There are too many languages as it is. Please keep your proprietary languages behind a paywall! Even new open source languages don't seem to be getting little traction as developers are reeling from the introduction of so many new languages over the past few years. The situation is currently insane, and the industry needs to restore some sanity. I can barely keep up with Java and C, a little C++ (the new 2011 version is a monument to how badly designed C++ is - the compiler can't figure out a function's return value and you have to put it at the end of a method now!?), and Perl and Python. I like Python because Python runs as Jython in Java, so I only have to learn one scripting language for embedding in a project. But Python just broke itself (version 3 is incompatible with version 2 - someone thought that was a good idea?!) but I haven't had to deal with that because Jython hasn't implemented the new broken version.

I'd be happy if a black hole opened up and swallowed all the other languages.

Re:Too many languages - insanity (2)

lattyware (934246) | about a year ago | (#42777025)

Python breaking compatibility with version 3 was a brilliant idea. It meant they could fix the (few) poor design decisions they made early on. This means instead of getting yet another language or having to deal with annoying stuff, instead it's just a small move to 3.x, which is excellent.

Re:Too many languages - insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42777717)

Except they didn't address any of the really poor design decisions, and instead chose to break backwards compatibility to make handling Unicode slightly more convenient and to comply with PEP-8. If Python 3 was such a big win it would have seen widespread adoption, but a lot of Python programmers are now looking at other languages like Go, Rust and various JVM languages.

Re:Too many languages - insanity (1)

lattyware (934246) | about a year ago | (#42777795)

I haven't seen that shift of programmers at all, and I completely disagree. They fixed a lot of core issues such as print being a statement rather than a function, loads of the core types returning lists rather than generators, division being float by default, annotations, extended iterable unpacking, nonlocal, and much more. Unicode was a big one and it's excellent - modern languages need to work with Unicode, it's crazy that the kind of built in support that 3.x has isn't standard across the board.

Please, tell me what 'really poor' design decisions were not fixed with 3.x?

Re:Too many languages - insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42777943)

Python breaking compatibility with version 3 was a brilliant idea. It meant they could fix the (few) poor design decisions they made early on.

Like not using visible block delimiters?

Re:Too many languages - insanity (1)

lattyware (934246) | about a year ago | (#42778179)

That is not considered a bad design choice by the PSF (or me, for that matter). It's a great idea that increases readability by decreasing excess clutter in your code. I simply don't understand how people can not like it.

Re:Too many languages - insanity (2)

FlyingGuy (989135) | about a year ago | (#42778833)

You REALLY don't get this?!

I'm sorry but when an entire program can be broken by simply using a different editor with slightly different tab settings, then that language AND its designer deserve all the derision and scorn that could possibly be heaped upon it.

Re:Too many languages - insanity (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about a year ago | (#42779591)

You REALLY don't get this?!

I'm sorry but when an editor can break an application by simply not detecting the current tab settings, then that editor AND its designer deserve all the derision and scorn that could possibly be heaped upon it.

FTFY

Re:Too many languages - insanity (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779653)

Because you haven't thought it through because you are focused on the red herring that enforced whitespace is.

Everyone formats their code, therefore enforcing it buys nothing, but a few less {}.

There are heavy costs such as Python's gimped lambda. The reason it is pretty much worthless is because of the enforced whitespace, the lesser reason is because Python doesn't follow the everything is an expression design like proper languages.

It also makes debugging harder, because sometimes the best way to debug something is to throw in a few quick throw away print lines. Can't easily do that with enforced whitespace.

The last is simply that if you move files from one system to another the formatting can get borked, which absolutely sucks.

I have seen 1000 line Python files lose their indentation making it worthless.

So, for the small value of enforcing what everyone does anyway, the language is less powerful, and less capable of recovering itself if something in the file gets corrupted.

Kickstarter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776805)

So they've been selling closed-source software for years - presumably (hopefully for them) they got a bit of profit out of that. They plan to continue selling that software, and at the same time give that existing code away to the open-source community. All fine. But why exactly do we have to finance this business-plan through kickstarter?

Re:Kickstarter? (1)

murdocj (543661) | about a year ago | (#42777023)

That's why Kickstarter exists: to fund business plans.

Re:Kickstarter? (1)

mypalmike (454265) | about a year ago | (#42777887)

> That's why Kickstarter exists: to fund companies without business plans.

FTFY. :-)

Re:Kickstarter? (1)

murdocj (543661) | about a year ago | (#42778373)

No. The companies on kickstarter have business plans... they need $$ to execute them. If there's no plan, why would anyone give them money? "Excuse me, I have no idea what I'm doing, please give me money..."

pay to go open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776827)

??? So, basically the kickstarter is funding a perpetual, universal, site license (where site = universe) to a crippled "open source" or "community" edition? what the fuck?

No thank you. Keep your niche product closed source and expensive, the world won't give a shit either way.. but the way you're dangling a so-called open, "lite" version on a stick to get a not-unsubstantial sum of money is pretty pathetic.

Yes. (2)

drolli (522659) | about a year ago | (#42776861)

I dont consider *new* languages for which there is no open source implementation of the core language available. This is not because i dont like to pay but because in the case of small languages/domain specific companies you never know ehen they go belly up or are bought and what happens then.

GPL for compilers? (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#42776901)

From kickstarter campaign:

We have selected the GPL because it encourages sharing by ensuring that any applications created with it are also open.

This isn't true for any current compiler available under GPL, why would it be true for thier compiler?

Re:GPL for compilers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776935)

Their language is more than a simple compiler, it links to libraries. See their FAQ here http://runrev.com/home/ks1/?preview

Re:GPL for compilers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776955)

It might be true if their "executable" files require significant assistance from a language-specific bytecode interpreter (linked into each executable). Then by placing the bytecode interpreter under full GPL they could force the executables to be under full GPL. Likewise, if they have traditional libraries that they link against everything, they could put them under full GPL.

Remember, this outfit isn't the FSF, even if they are making use of one of the standard FSF copyright notices (the GPL).

Re:GPL for compilers? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about a year ago | (#42776957)

We have selected the GPL because it encourages sharing by ensuring that any applications created with it are also open.

This isn't true for any current compiler available under GPL, why would it be true for thier compiler?

It *is* true for all current compilers in major use. If you look at your favourite compiler's license, you'll see an *explicit* exception that exempts compiled programs from being covered by the compiler's copyright claims. The Microsoft compilers do it, even GCC does it [gnu.org] .

Don't confuse compilers and libraries (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42777135)

You're mixing up compilers and compiler runtime libraries. What applies to one doesn't apply to the other.

Applications compiled with a particular compiler do not inherently fall under the copyright license which covers that compiler's implementation, because no copying of the compiler code is involved. However, it is quite common for compilers to provide libraries with which the code generated for the application is linked, and static linking to such libraries would in general propagate the license carried by the libraries. This is why such libraries normally offer a linking exception in order not to taint the generated code.

If linking to such libraries is only dynamic then a large majority of legal opinion suggests that the generated code does not become a derived work of the libraries because the two remain separate, and mere usage is not copying under the terms of the Copyright Act. Nevertheless, to avoid lawyers getting involved and wasting everyone's time in court, it is best to provide a linking exemption even if the compiler libraries are to be linked dynamically, just in case.

Re:GPL for compilers? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#42776975)

Possibly the core libraries are GPL. So any linkage becomes a derivate work.

By contrast, gcc is GPL but the the gnu libc contains a linking exception so that the resulting binary is exempt. Similarly with openjdk.

Re:GPL for compilers? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#42778457)

This isn't true for any current compiler available under GPL, why would it be true for thier compiler?

Because it's been explicitly exempted. When you write something that's not directly 1:1 mapped to an machine instruction, the compiler will either a) link you with a dynamic library with the low level code, b) provide a static library with the the low level code or c) inline the low-level code directly into your code. That low level code is copyrighted and all of the above will make your code a derived work of that low-level code. I don't know if anyone has tried the "I compiled it against my own library stub and so it's not derivative of the GPL library, it just happens to work with it" but I doubt that would work in court and only if they solely use method a). Methods b) and c) would make their code part of your executable directly, for example the library loading code to load the other core libraries.

Re:GPL for compilers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779685)

No it is not true.

Just because you used GCC to compile your app doesn't mean your app has to be GPLed.

An example, though no longer valid, is QT. It used to be that you had to pay money to create proprietary apps with it, or use a GPL compatible license. With Nokia wisely adding LGPL, that is no longer the case as long as you dynamically link to the QT .so or dll files.

money driven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42776921)

The object is to give away the basic kernel which won't be able to do much. You will have to purchase lots of add-on modules to finish a project but pay higher license fees to sell commercial apps. This is pretty much the model they appear to have now; classic razor - razor blade approach.

what a waste of money (4, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#42776991)

Paying to get something nice open sourced is a good thing.

Paying to have a stripped down IDE and language open sourced... not so much.

If you want to learn programming, use JavaScript, Python, or Ruby; they're free, easy-to-use, and they scale up to real problems.

Re:what a waste of money (2)

mrmeval (662166) | about a year ago | (#42777271)

I agree though I will point out what they're doing will be GPLv3. I'd prefer javascript die, you can do all of that with TCL. ;)

Re:what a waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42777749)

In the case of Python and Ruby they scale up by performing so poorly that you need to rewrite the entire application in another language or write every non trivial part in C!

Re:what a waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779735)

Yeah, dumbass. I see you confuse execution speed with scaling. Those are two different things, and both Ruby and Python have no scaling issues, at least not any that every other language implementation has.

Languages have no performance issues, implementations might.

For the vast majority of programming domains, Python and Ruby as fast enough. Like 99% of them.

I am not going to waste my time trying to explain IO Bound vs Compute Bound since you are obviously retarded.

Re:what a waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42781011)

As a current livecode user, I know it sure won't be a stripped down IDE. The only feature mentioned to be removed is being able to put passwords on non-compliled scripts (which is an extra security feature in my current commercial version of livecode). This was only to be in compliance with the GPL. Fully featured livecode for free next month if the kickstarter succeeds. Pretty simple.

That depends (2)

rumith (983060) | about a year ago | (#42777003)

How do you define success? Your open source language project doesn't have to be good to be popular (example: PHP), but it must have a certain audience that finds it appealing. Open sourcing the project is not a magic bullet; if nobody likes your product, you're out of luck. However, if you have carefully studied your audience and believe that such a step will remove the main roadblock for adoption for a large number of potential users, this is definitely worth doing.

Re:That depends (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42777033)

PHP was just glorified SSI when it started. It was the only way to go back then. PHP didn't gain traction because it was good or appealing, it gained traction the same way as MSDOS.

I must say I love parts of PHP, especially the hash arrays.

Re:That depends (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779905)

Yeah, mixing two orthogonal data structures into one messy, inconsistent data structure is a great idea!

Don't get me wrong, I love PHP. It helps me avoid hiring and working with shit programmers. If they have ever used PHP by choice, or hell even by force(good programmers don't need to accept shit work from shit companies and any company that makes use of PHP is shit) is an instant no hire.

Re:That depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42780473)

I feel that way about anyone with MS or Ruby experience.

Another question headline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42777375)

Looks like people like to tap into the Slashdot's pool of personal opinions. Sure way to get some comments going on.

Kickstart a free fully open system, dev community (1)

mattr (78516) | about a year ago | (#42777617)

No. If they want to extend buy-in by releasing a limited open source version that is their prerogative but 1) it is not worth paying money for since it is a marketing expense of their company and 2) I doubt it will work. Why bother going to a closed model? Two salient experiences:
Salesforce. Has a very strong product with huge interest. A managed, growing language and set of libraries. Drawbacks are it must run on their server, and many undocumented things. If you have a reason to use Salesforce (and many companies do) it is great for what it does, but that is the antithesis of open source development which lets you run anywhere.
Firebird. This awesome DB was opensourced and forked out from Borland IIRC by the authors and the open source version took off. The open source version is where you expect to see forums, patches, new additions at a speed impossible for Borland or against their corporate rules. This would never have happened if it was a "lite" version.
MariaDB. See recent /. thread.

Basically if you want to release a lite version do it on your own dime. If it is of any use on its own, it might get some attention.
It might grow beyond the commercial version. But don't expect significant buy-in, if the goodies are not available for free.
On the other hand if there is anything to the natural language idea beyond a hypercard style engine, it would be useful. Something more sophisticated than zork. If you provide a strong engine and documented api I could imagine a large community springing up to build plugins some free, some commercial, like joomla or wordpress. Doing a lite version is shooting yourself in the foot though.

Make it completely open. You might get kickstarter funds to do so. Then run a market for free and commercial plugins which can include substitute engines. You might even get some sharp scientists to use it as a testbed for their latest ideas. I haven't tried it so if it isn't more than hypercard though it will be pretty limited. If you have any intention of promoting development of real natural language and multiligual support, I could see it going places.

For example, instead of a line of code being translated into 10 times more characters, use 10 words to replace 100 lines of code. I have had some ideas along those lines myself. Somehow though I doubt this is the team that will provide the NLP coding engine to the open source world.

Re:Kickstart a free fully open system, dev communi (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42777773)

This is not a lite version. The entire platform is being opened up, it is the same source base in the open and closed version. Students, teachers, in-house developers and those creating open source software can all use the entire feature set for free. The only thing you can't do is create closed source apps with the open version.

Other way around (1)

InterBigs (780612) | about a year ago | (#42777663)

The question is: can they survive without going (partly) Open Source? The target audience for these kind of pseudo-programming environments is pretty small, and there's no major platform without an free SDK. The learning curve for cross-platform programming using Java or QT is not that big, either. So I think it's a good move to start giving some of it away to attract more paying customers.

Sort of Worked for DigitalMars D Language (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42777933)

Sort of Worked for DigitalMars D Language.... but the community popularity fadded out some how, maybe because of the non compatible changes of the second generation of the language definition

I would like to see this if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778529)

I have tried Runrev several times in the past. It has it's niche, and that was both a major strength and weakness. Like Hypercard there are things Runrev did quite well, but the programs I undertook went a direction that Runrev could not go. It also has the misfortune of trying to move into a space that other development environments already fulfill, are already open source, and already scale much wider.

That being said I would like to see an Open Source version if:
1. It retains at least the functionality of Enterprise V4 (I think that was the version)
2. One environment for all OS deployments (the license for these used to be separate)
3. It not only connects to it's own local DB, but will also connect to a remote DB on a local server

I believe this could be quite a nice development environment for lots of small desktop based apps. And no, it is not OOP, nor should it be, and that is a GOOD THING.

Ever since Turing, selling proprietary langs is de (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778793)

It's dead! Quit it! It is infrastructure. Get over it.

Like MySQL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42778831)

What are the chances that MySQL could make a successful transition to a dual-license model?

But of course it's worked well for them. And I suspect it'll work well here, for the same reasons.

If LiveCode were going fully GPL only, it would lose some of its greatest benefit, its uncommon value for making proprietary commercial apps. It's proven itself well over the years for that, but the nature of the language makes it so accessible that it could benefit the FOSS world equally well.

This dual-license model they've chosen seems a clear winner to me.

On topic (more or less) (1)

pancake coil (2831827) | about a year ago | (#42779477)

It amazes how quickly things move off topic. The "it's not as good as x" or "only real men program in x" folks really feel a need to hop in. I fall into the category of programmer that makes his extra money programming, the day job pays the rent. I also use the tool, or language, that gets me where I want to be with the least amount of hassle. The world really is big enough for a number of languages.

LiveCode has its place. It is fast and convenient to develop in. The primary issue is its distance to native APIs and raw speed for numerically intensive stuff. If the language doesn't support it, it is a bother to get there. Fortunately, it is rarely a problem.

On to the real question, can this be a successful? Yes, as others have pointed out, it has worked before in similar cases. In the dual license situation, you get the tool for free if you want to give your work away. If you don't, you pay to earn your income. Should it be successful? Yes - it is a very approachable language which is a benefit for those learning to program (the syntax stays out of the way) and, for the same reason, a fast, efficient, and comfortable language to develop apps in if you don't need raw speed.

Fun Factor (1)

n-6.net (967035) | about a year ago | (#42780411)

I don't like programing in modern languages because their not a lot of fun. Python Ruby, etc... Live code is both approachable, and fun. Now fun is a vary subjective thing, but I think Live Code would come out hight on the fun factor

LiveCode Rules!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42781419)

I've been making a living out of my LiveCode projects and consulting. Its a very versatile language and I don't miss OOP while working with LiveCode, its just a different paradigm. I've shipped software for Windows, Macs, iOS and Android with it. I've never shipped commercial software on Linux but I have some freebies flying around made with LiveCode.

Its a very easy to use language with enormous potential for those that are just starting out. The ratio between time invested and what I can produce is very good and I recommend it as a first language. A FOSS version will be great and enable even more people to have access to it. I will support this kickstarter in any way I can :-D

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