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[REBOL] Re: oss revisited (briefly!)

From: SunandaDH:aol at: 9-Feb-2004 12:24

> My wishful thinking forces me to bring up what may be a dead horse > issue, so I apologise in advance. What's up with rebol and open > source these days? Rsharp seems stalled.
Just a few comments to throw into a general discussion. Open source is not the only model for software distribution. It is a very trendy one (as well as an ancient one, predating GNU and Linux), but it is not a guarantee that a product will survive or prosper. My house is littered with gadgets that a Linux person may be using today, which are not open source -- from the code that runs my central heating controller through the code that runs my digital camera to the printer driver that runs my laserjet. If I had a TV or a cable modem, there'd be even more. --- Open source is a set of marketing strategies that start with "you get to see the source code but can't change it" through to complete freedom to do anything you like -- including redistributing with a more restricted license. (If you are not allowed to redistribute with a more restricted license, some ultra-purists would claim that the original product is not truly open: any restriction is a restriction). A potential open-source product will sit somewhere between those two extremes. Depending where we each draw the line, you and I may disagree about the open-sourcedness of a few products that straddle our personal lines. --- REBOL, I guess, is three components: the source of the C code that drives the interpreter, the compiled natives, and the mezzanine functions. The mezzanines are REBOL source, so you could claim that REBOL is open source to that extent. Of course, many people want more. --- Many open-source products have a developer community around them. Anyone can modify any bit of code, but only trusted developers get to check-in modifications that become candidates for mainstream distribution(s). Fewer developers still have the right to make a change part of the mainstream. This is both a trust model and a meritocracy -- you've got to earn your rights to be a committer (able to check code in). Non-committers can only suggest changes (or spin off their own code tree and run the risk of it becoming unintegratable with the main tree). I guess that Carl is extremely picky about what code gets checked in to the REBOL code base, and even if REBOL were open source, there'd be precious few people with the right to do that to the official tree. --- It is encouraging to see the community interaction over at the REBOL-view Altme world. Carl is clearly taking stuff (mainly mezzanines) almost direct from other contributors and making them part of View 1.3. He commented somewhere that there were a lot of good REBOL coders in that world. If anything is going to nudge him further down a collaborative approach, perhaps leading to a more open source model, that experience may form an important part of it. Sunanda.