The Alternativa3D 3rd-party 3D engine for the Flash Platform recently announced it is going open source after 6 years of closed development. An example of this kick-ass engine is the recent release of LastStand Deadzone for Facebook.
No concrete reasons are given for the change to open source.
The Alternativa company hopes that the community will continue to use and extend the engine. It hopes this is only the beginning of a new life for the engine.
Going Open Source (Is Not Evil)
Going open source is interesting. Open source is the philosophy which promotes free distribution of a code-base and the community involvement to modify that code-base. Many AS3 projects start as open source and I think the general reception is ‘wow, thanks for starting this project, I may use it, and maybe I’ll even help extend it’. However the community response seems to be quite different if a close project exists for some time as a closed project and then goes open source. It feels to many like the project which was ‘created for my use for free’ now has been ‘abandoned’.
The community reaction to the Adobe Announcement that Flex went open source was strongly negative. Same when the popular Pushbutton Engine was recently rebranded as the community-based ‘Smash‘ game engine.
These fear based reactions are reasonable. The feeling is that what was once taken for granted as a concrete cared-for project now has a questionable future. However like most fear based reactions they are not beneficial reactions. Project owners are free to chose if/when they release a project open source, and the community can care for a project or choose an alternative. The power is in the hands of the community.
Conversely, and open source project that becomes closed and introduces fees to the community (I have no examples of that) is indeed sad. But that is not the case here.
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What do YOU Think?
- Is going open source good or bad?
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