Calling all open source developers

David Bovill david at
Tue Oct 20 03:52:47 CDT 2009

It is perfectly acceptible to release RevTalk code under the terms of the
GPL, MIT or other licenses. This has been done before, and debated
extensively over the years in other related platforms - even where the
engine itself is closed.

Purists, like to argue over the issue, and debates can get heated (and
usually tedious). My personal point of view is that there is precedence here
and a number of thriving communities have grown up by using open source and
open content licenses in similar circumstances. As that is the purpose, I'll
go with what works and is helpful with regard to community building, and
stick to arguing the philosophy down the pub (which is a much more enjoyable
place for those sort of debates).

Building a practical and truely collaborative open source community around
RevTalk is certainly helped if the "mothership" takes a clear and
encouraging stance on these issues. I have long argued on this list and
elsewhere that RunRev should adopt an explicit "open source strategy" to
encourage proper collaboration between developers on a clear and firm legal
basis. This does not mean open sourcing their engine, but it does mean
taking the small steps needed to support and encourage community efforts in
this area. Releasing the documentation under an open content (Creative
Commons) license would be symbolic and help. Explicitly releasing the code
in the IDE under an MIT or other open source license, and encouraging
integration with other similarly licensed IDEs (like MC IDE) would also

As far as I can gather from talking to Kevin, Mark and the other folks at
RunRev - they have nothing against these moves which I found encouraging. As
far as I can tell it is simply that none of the developers there have
experience of working on open source projects, and the use of open licenses,
and as such they are not quite sure as to how they would support / engage
with such and effort given their limited resources.

I proposed to Kevin and a number of developers at RunRev Live, that maybe we
can move this area forwards by creating a community led project with an
explicit remit to develop open source code libraries and widgets in RevTalk.
This would be an arms length legal entity, with RunRev or any other
interested party able to join as a full member and have a say with regard to
the projects direction.

Based on the positive feedback to these ideas from the conference, I've
decided to put what time I have into taking this forwards with the aim of
launching it in time for the RunRev November launch. The organisation would
be not-for-profit, in that any money derived from activities such as
commercial closed source dual licensing of code libraries would go back into
the pool to pay developers to work on open source libraries. I've discussed
this proposal with a number of funders here in the UK and it seems
encouraging to apply for some grants to develop this community as well.

Any individual developer or company is fully entitled to join, and the
organisation will have an open membership. The aim is simple to define
collectively what tools and resources the community would like to develop as
open source code and resource these efforts. The secondary aim is to engage
with other open source and open content communities, building on the
strengths and accessibility of the language to be immediately understandable
to any programmer, and encourage interoperability between RevTalk and other
open source frameworks.

My personal interest in the project is in the legal and community side, and
I want to combine this with my passion for RevTalk to pilot a truly
innovative collaborative community, not just based around code, but also
open media content as well. While the Revolution engine is not open, the
accessibility of the language, the free version of the IDE in RevMedia, and
it's ability to appeal to designers and non-developers interested in media,
place it in a strong position to serve as a foundation for a rich "open
content" community.

I'm hopeful that other developers will share these goals, and that we can
work together to support the wider adoption of the language and the creation
of higher quality open code and media resources for the community.

If there is anyone who would like to discuss the funding proposals, or join
either as a full legal partner, or as an informal associate partner maybe we
can start a discussion off list? From previous experience I'd say that this
list is best kept to discussions regarding code, and the use of Revolution -
I'm breaking this rule here just as a heads-up and invitation to those
interested in this area to help co-design this initiative :)

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