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Just like in the closing credits of movies, some software vendors list the full names of the team that worked on the piece of software you are using.

They are usually displayed in the splash screen (Photoshop)

Adobe Photoshop Vintage Splash Screen

... or in the about box (Traktor).

Traktor Famous DJ Software About Box

In the demoscene, it is a mandatory practice, like in the movie industry.

How do you see that in your own software? Is there any reason why not doing it? Is there any reason encouraging companies to do it?

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How could there be a wheel o blame without credits that tell you who to blame? It should be mandatory !! – Tim Post Apr 16 '11 at 17:32
AFAIK, old (4-clause) BSD license had attribution requirement, so in some cases it might not be only matter of choice. – vartec Mar 20 '12 at 12:16
I've worked at companies that are so paranoid about recruiters they won't list programmer's names in the company directory on the website. – JeffO Mar 20 '12 at 12:34

Widely Spread - I would say not. Some commercial products (such as the ones you mentioned) do this, but the bulk of software created is not commercial products of this type. Quite a lot of software does not have a GUI where this is possible and since this is a low priority "feature", you won't find it happening in most agile shops either.

Desirable - for whom?

  • The vendor - not really, some will like it, some not.
  • The end user - usually they don't care.
  • The programmers - hell yes! Get your name out there.
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And if developers or designers try and sneak in an "easter egg" with credits that can land them in a lot of trouble. Some companies no longer tolerate this at all, it's a waste of time and adds no value. – Steve Haigh Apr 16 '11 at 17:58
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Like the people who work on movies and TV shows, developers want to be acknowledged: in many cases, being able to prove you were associated with a project is an end in and of itself.

This is especially true in game development, even AAA titles made by massive game development shops: they even roll credits just like they do in the movies. The International Game Develpers Association (IGDA), is the game industry's version of the Screen Actor's Guild and and provides a set of standards that games need to take to credit everyone who works on it: from developers, producers, artists and even testers.

Even in major pieces of software, the practice of crediting the developers who worked on a project still occurs:

Photoshop Splash screen with credits

If you're curious as to why you see their names on a splash screen when loading the program instead of hidden somewhere else, especially in large, monolithic programs like Photoshop or Office: well, it has very little to do with acknowledging people: it's to give people something to look at while the program loads itself into memory.

But this isn't just for offline software and games written by large corporations: knowing who made a piece of software is important for online startups, too:

And for Open Source projects:

Adium About box

In fact, listing who is associated with a project helps to attract more talent, in much the same way advertising who's attached to a movie helps attract movie stars.

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It's not something you see often in commercial software written by corporations. I think it's pretty common in commercial one-person efforts, like WinRAR for example:

IMO corporations don't do this because of the very large number of employees who contribute to a project, and because traditionally employees will work on a project even if they don't get a mention in the credits. The only thing that supports this practice in movies is probably the fact that it's already in place, so everyone wants a mention.

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WinRAR isn't showing credits, that's a legal copyright notice. – user8 Apr 16 '11 at 20:35
@Mark ah, I suppose you're right. But the copyright notice makes a credits section redundant, since it would just restate what's already stated. – enverpex Apr 16 '11 at 20:41

It seems that the main reason why programmer's names are listed in startup screens or about box is related to moral rights.

While copyright is transferable (usually automatically when working as an employee), moral rights can't be transmitted, regardless your status.

Therefore, employers must list names if programmers require it.

Please note that this law is not completely integrated in every country, and it seems more complicated that we think for an employee to ask that to the employer. Therefore it's generally an initiative of the latter.

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