[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.