Looking for advice on open source licenses

I’ve been developing (and operating) CSFBL, my multiplayer, web-based baseball game, for over eight years. After mulling for quite some time as to the future of the game, I’m seriously considering the transition of the game to an open source project. That being said, finding the right open source license is important.

After doing my reading, I’m thinking of going the route taken by MySQL – i.e., open-source under the GPL, but the potential for closed-source and commercial options available with a separate license.

Realistically, I highly doubt people would come to license the software for commercial use, but I do want to protect the product, intellectual property, and my sweat equity (I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time, money, and energy on it over 8+ years). My interest is in sharing it (and getting help from others), not letting others profit off it. (Hence I am avoiding licenses such as BSD).

Does anyone have suggestions, thoughts, or words of advice on this matter?

Announcing the ASP.Net Control Adapters, a new open source project

Over the past few weeks, I started doing some experimentation with a different approach to changing the rendering of default ASP.Net controls. For a few years, I (and many others) have used the CSSFriendly project for this. That project does some nice things, but has many shortcomings.

I hemmed and hawed about this a bit (see Rewriting the ASP.Net CSS Friendly Adapters – does anyone care?), but in the end some fundamental interest — and the underlying popularity of the CSSFriendly project (consistently in the top-20 downloads on CodePlex) made me decide to go ahead with it.

So, I am proud to announce a new open source project: the ASP.Net Control Adapters! Continue reading

A free replacement for the Windows defragment utility

Defragmenting hard drives is something that is often unnecessary, but when it is necessary, most people run the built-in Windows “Disk Defragmenter” utility. It’s serviceable, but there is a better option: JkDefrag.

There’s a few things that make JkDefrag an improvement over what Windows offers:

  • It runs on anything that mounts like a disk drive — including USB drives and memory sticks.
  • You can run it from Windows, from a command line, or as a screen saver.
  • It offers several different optimization strategies.
  • It can be configured to defragment specific drives, files, or folders, or to exclude defragmenting specific drives, files, or folders.
  • You can run it in the background and tell it to run at less than full speed.
  • It’s continually developed by a person who you can actually talk to via an online forum.
  • There’s no installer — just extract files from a ZIP archive into a directory and run the executable.
  • It’s free, as in free beer, and open source.

Hats off to Jeroen Kessels for writing a fine utility and making it available for free. He doesn’t even ask for donations (too bad, because I’d have sent him a few bucks if he did!).

Free file archiving and (de)compression with 7-Zip [with expensive minimum donations]

In thinking about all the free and open source tools I use, one seems to run underneath the radar: 7-Zip.

7-Zip will compress, expand, encode, and decode more formats than you can shake a stick at. It integrates seamlessly with Windows Explorer, so you just right-click and choose the option you want, as shown below.


[That little fuzzy thing in the background is my dog, Thea. How I miss her!]

The fact that 7-Zip does so much and is free makes me wonder why anyone would pay $30 for a copy of WinZip. Instead, donate that money to Igor Pavlov, author of 7-Zip.

I decided to do just that. Heading over to the donate page for 7-Zip tells you that the “base donation amount is $50 or €40, but if you would like to donate more, just change the Quantity field”. Apparently, you can donate more than $50, but you can not donate less than $50 — donations must be whole-number multiples of $50.

This is a bit odd. I would think a minimum donation for a free product would be less than the retail price of a commercial product. I wonder how many people don’t donate due to this high number?

Considering that 99% of the archive files I receive are ZIP files, that Windows can compress and expand ZIP files (albeit slowly), and that minimum $50 price tag, I’m going to pass. If Mr. Pavlov would let me set a lower donation level, I’d be happy to oblige; until then, I have that weird feeling I get when there’s a minimum tip amount added to a restaurant bill.

I guess I’ll look for another free/open-source product to send my money to.

Castle now accepting donations (and getting one from me)

Castle Project is a wonderful thing. I still don’t understand a lot of it, but it’s darn impressive, and has become my library of choice. It’s also no coincidence that my long-sought departure from ASP.Net WebForms was timed with my discovery of Castle MonoRail.

Hammett (the man behind Castle) has finally started accepting donations for his work. I have one thing to say to him:

"It’s about time!"

I know first-hand what it’s like to spend a lot of time on something that:

  1. a lot of people use, and
  2. does not bring in any money (at least, not directly)

My pain has been CSFBL, which today does accept donations (and I truly appreciate every one of them!).

Thinking about this more, it’s been six months since I’ve donated to an open source/free project (I promised last year to donate $5 per month to one), so in order to catch up, I’m sending Hammett $30 ($5 per month). Let’s hope the exchange rate is favorable to him!

My open source donation history to date far is as follows.

Thanks for all your hard work, Hammett, and I hope you can afford yourself a nice vacation for the donations you receive!