The "stinking truth".

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Mon Dec 1 13:45:51 EST 2008

Mikey wrote:

>> I apologize for any feather-ruffling; not my intention.  I think we just
>> have a simple misunderstanding here.
> Absolutely not.  I tried to write my original email several times
> before I settled on TRYING to ruffle feathers to try to prove a point,
> so if I didn't ruffle any then I suck.

Uh, ok.  I still don't understand the point, but I'm pre-coffee and 
happy to let it be.

> Apparently I don't understand the state of things, because it was my
> understanding that the MC engine was generally sufficient for what
> we're doing.  At least the second part, about the IDE, is correct.

The misunderstanding here is simply that the MC engine *is* the Rev 

It began life in 1992 under the name "MetaCard", back when it was owned 
and maintained by Scott Raney's MetaCard Corp.

While it was still owned by MetaCard Corp., Kevin Miller's company at 
the time, Crossworlds Computing, built a nifty alternative IDE for it, 
and arranged a licensing agreement with MC Corp to distribute the engine 
with their IDE for a much lower licensing fee to their customers in 
consideration for Crossworlds providing support for it.

Later, Kevin et al formed a new company under the name Runtime 
Revolution Ltd., and in 2003 acquired the rights to the MC engine and 
its source, rebranding it as "Revolution":

Since RunRev Ltd. had their own IDE they had no use for MC's more 
"primitive" one, so MC Corp retained the rights to that IDE and worked 
with their loyal customers to arrange for it to be maintained under an 
open source license (X11, aka "MIT License").  Under those terms, MC 
Corp. remains the copyright holder of all portions of the original code 
that are still in the MC IDE today (most of it, although a couple dozen 
of us have been contributing bits here and there, with Klaus Major doing 
most of the heavy lifting in recent years - thanks Klaus!), but also 
allowing the project to be forked and any portion of it to be used for 
any non-commercial or even commercial work if desired.  In fact, we 
chose the X11 license (as opposed to LGPL and some others with 
derivative use restrictions) specifically in anticipation of the 
possibility that we might come up with something there that could be 
useful to RunRev, so they would be fully protected if they chose to take 
advantage of anything in it; a modest consideration in exchange for 
their good work in maintaining and enhancing the engine running.

In 2006 RunRev strengthened their engine licensing security in a way 
which makes it easier for third parties to create their own IDEs.  Today 
it's relatively simple for anyone to create the custom environment of 
their dreams, while the engine itself requires only that a Rev 
installation has been successfully licensed on that machine.  Win-win 
for all:  RunRev ensures their revenue for the engine license, while we 
get total freedom in our workflows (a brilliant move, Mr. Waddingham - 

So while the MC IDE is open source, and anyone can make any other stacks 
they like within the Rev license terms, to run any of these still 
requires the proprietary closed-source Rev engine.

> Obviously by "open source" I don't mean you can license it or use it
> or whatever, but you can hack it, thus the source for the IDE is open,
> i.e. interpreted, and the engine still operates if you change it.  To
> repeat, I thought that the crux of the engine was open source (in this
> case, OS means that you can get the source and compile it for
> yourself).

Only the MC IDE, and any stacks you might make on your own, enjoy those 
freedoms.  For practical business reasons, the engine that drives it 
relies on source code not made publicly available.

> You're absolutely correct that referring to M$ instead of MS is doing
> exactly what I was preaching against, and it is behavior that I do not
> tolerate from vendors.  In technical discussions, though, it is, IMHO
> easier to identify than MS, because there is no known (to me anyway)
> alternative meaning to the abbreviation, so I have taken to using it
> when referring to that firm.

I suppose to be fairest we might just use "Microsoft". :)

  Richard Gaskin
  Managing Editor, revJournal
  Rev tips, tutorials and more:

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