Questions about software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified.

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200
votes
29answers
17k views

What's the canonical retort to “it's open source, submit a patch”? [closed]

The danger of ever suggesting some feature on a product, especially open source, is that you'll get the response, "why don't you do it?". That's valid, and it's cool that you can make the change ...
102
votes
14answers
12k views

Is it possible to rewrite every line of an open source project in a slightly different way, and use it in a closed source project?

There is some code which is GPL or LGPL that I am considering using for an iPhone project. If I took that code (JavaScript) and rewrote it in a different language for use on the iPhone would that be ...
102
votes
8answers
10k views

How to avoid being forked into oblivion by a more powerful contributor?

As recently reported here: Xamarin has forked Cocos2D-XNA, a 2D/3D game development framework, creating a cross-platform library that can be included in PCL projects. However the founder of ...
90
votes
8answers
1k views

How to reconcile my support of open-source software and need to feed and house myself?

I have a bit of a dilemma and wanted to get some other developers' opinions on it and maybe some guidance. So I have created a 2D game for Android from the ground up, learning and re factoring as I ...
80
votes
7answers
22k views

Why are many programmers moving their code to github?

For the past 6 months or more, I've been seeing many codes hosted at sourceforge.net as well as other hosting sites "Move to GitHub". A mere Google Search with the phrase "Moved to Github" returns ...
65
votes
9answers
4k views

How should you deal with a popular project that you no longer want to maintain?

I am the maintainer of a project which has a large non-technical userbase. I've been maintaining it for about 4 years now and adding new features as they've been requested. I'd like to move on to ...
59
votes
8answers
13k views

How do I deal with a difficult programmmer joining an open source project?

I have an open source script for a specific site (I'm trying not to call anything by name here) that I and a few other developers recently moved to GitHub. We've gotten several new developers since we ...
57
votes
6answers
6k views

Why aren't there code overviews for open-source projects? [closed]

There are very complex open source projects out there, and to some of them I think I could make some contributions, and I wish I could, but the barrier to entry is too high for a single reason: for ...
51
votes
12answers
2k views

Releasing an open source project without getting embarrassed

I've been working by myself on a fairly large open source project for quite a while and it's nearing the point where I'd like to release it. However, I'm self-taught and I don't really know anyone who ...
49
votes
13answers
2k views

Is it legal to recreate/opensource a program that you previously coded for another company

At my previous job I created a generic dashboard for automating tasks and it that turned out to be quite useful - and of course my previous employer owns all the code I wrote while I worked there. Now ...
48
votes
1answer
11k views

MIT vs. BSD vs. Dual License

My understanding is that: MIT-licensed projects can be used/redistributed in BSD-licensed projects. BSD-licensed projects can be used/redistributed in MIT-licensed projects. The MIT and the BSD ...
46
votes
4answers
2k views

Preparing to release code as open-source [duplicate]

I have developed a fully functional tool which I would like not only to share with anyone interested but also get support from the community. This tool is cross-platform, written in C++ with Qt, the ...
45
votes
2answers
4k views

Checklist for starting an open-source project [closed]

To start an open-source project is not just to throw up the source code on some public repository and then being happy with that. You should have technical (besides user) documentation, information on ...
42
votes
2answers
18k views

Getting involved on Github (how to find projects) [closed]

I want to contribute to open source projects on Github. Mostly, I'd like to just start out fixing small bugs or adding features. I don't have a particular project in mind. I'd like to work on C, C++, ...
39
votes
4answers
10k views

Is there a chart for helping me decide between open-source licenses? [closed]

The Open Source Initiative lists 9 different licenses in their list of "License that are popular and widely used or with strong communities". I want to license my project as open-source. ...
38
votes
4answers
3k views

What to do with abandoned issues in GitHub?

If someone opens an issue on GitHub but more information to reproduce the error is asked and never given, what's the normal procedure? Example. Here the author states that the "nav breaks". While I ...
37
votes
6answers
4k views

Releasing open source software too soon [closed]

What is the moral responsibility of releasing open source software too soon? For instance, a close-to-complete product that hasn't been fully tested. What is the expectation of the programmer? Wait ...
36
votes
15answers
2k views

How do you effectively compete with an open source project?

A company with a solid open source project competing against a traditional closed-source product seems impossible to beat. I read this article wherein the author lays out this scenario: Suppose ...
36
votes
8answers
3k views

Fear of releasing a hobby project - how to overcome? [closed]

I don't know if this question is strictly related to software development, but still I'll give it a try: Like a lot of programmers, I love to work on hobby projects. Sometimes, seemingly good ideas ...
35
votes
6answers
7k views

Good example of complex code using TDD [closed]

What would be a good example of the use of TDD in large, real-life, complex, projects? All the examples I've seen so far are toy projects for the purpose of a book or a paper... Can you name an ...
32
votes
11answers
5k views

Is it okay to make coding style changes on an open source project that doesn't follow best practices?

Recently, I came across a number of open source Ruby (or majority of it was Ruby) projects on GitHub that when checked with a code analyzing tool like Rubocop, create a lot of offenses. Now, most of ...
32
votes
4answers
3k views

Etiquette when asking questions in an IRC channel [closed]

Many larger OSS projects maintain IRC channels to discuss their usage or development. When I get stuck on using a project, having tried and failed to find information on the web, one of the ways I try ...
31
votes
6answers
2k views

Reasons NOT to open source not-for-profit code?

I am a big fan of open source code. I think I understand most of the advantages of going open source. I'm a science student researcher, and I have to work with quite a surprising amount of software ...
29
votes
3answers
2k views

How to deal with well-meaning open-source contributors?

If a programmer contacts you and asks to contribute to your project, how do you handle it? You don't know if this guy is any good. Perhaps he'll be more trouble than he's worth. He might be trying ...
29
votes
10answers
5k views

Is it worth moving from Microsoft tech to Linux, NodeJS & other open source frameworks to save money for a start-up? [closed]

I am currently getting involved in a startup, I am the only developer involved at the moment, and the other guys are leaving all the tech decisions up to me at the moment. For my day job I work at a ...
29
votes
8answers
5k views

What is the “default” software license?

If I release some code and binaries, but I don't include any license at all with it, what are the legal terms that apply by default (in the US, where I am). I know that I automatically have copyright ...
28
votes
3answers
1k views

Does open source licensing my code limit me later?

Suppose I develop a useful library and decide to publish it as open source. Some time later I have a business need to do something that wouldn't comply with the open source licence. Am I allowed to do ...
28
votes
3answers
1k views

How to go about “taking over” an open-source project?

There's an open-source project that I'm interested in and use regularly. It's licensed under the Apache License 2.0 and it has basically no activity any more. It's hosted on Google Code and I'm ...
28
votes
7answers
1k views

Choosing a licence for open source projects

I've done some open source projects, and I plan to do more in the future. So far, I've released all my code under GPL, but I've read a few articles which claim GPL is too restrictive for any code to ...
28
votes
5answers
7k views

How do I store the OAuth v1 consumer key and secret for an open source desktop Twitter client without revealing it to the user?

I want to make a thick-client, desktop, open source twitter client. I happen to be using .NET as my language and Twitterizer as my OAuth/Twitter wrapper, and my app will likely be released as open ...
27
votes
14answers
5k views

Why develop free, open source programs? [closed]

Why would someone use his own time to develop an open-source project for free and without compensation?
27
votes
5answers
771 views

On what basis would you split donation money among your open source team members without any strife? [closed]

I am a developer of an open source project which is hosted in SourceForge. It started out as a little app then after some releases, it got more and more popular and it started consuming more time and ...
27
votes
5answers
2k views

When did the standard for packaging Linux source code become .tar.gz?

When browsing open-source projects that are primarily developed for Linux systems and downloading the latest packages, the source code is always stored in a .tar.gz or .tar.bz2 file. Is there any ...
26
votes
2answers
1k views

How should I contribute to a (mostly) abandoned GitHub project?

I've recently been trying to get into open source collaboration in GitHub and have run into a situation for which I am curious what is the preferred way to proceed. About a month ago, I found a ...
26
votes
7answers
956 views

Developing my momentum on open source projects [duplicate]

I've been struggling to develop momentum contributing to open source projects. I have in the past tried with gcc and contributed a fix to libstdc++ but it was a once off and even though I spent months ...
26
votes
3answers
1k views

What to do when a company request permission to use open source code without attribution?

I have an opensource project currently under MIT license. I have received a request from a company to use my code for their commercial project without having to give any attribution or credit. To be ...
25
votes
4answers
4k views

Is there an alternative to Google Code Search? [closed]

Per the Official Google Blog: Code Search, which was designed to help people search for open source code all over the web, will be shut down along with the Code Search API on January 15, 2012. ...
23
votes
3answers
1k views

Softpedia published some of my open source projects — how to react?

(FYI: I've just moved this question over from Stackoverflow on recommendation.) I just received a few emails, informing me that softpedia.com has added some of my "products" to their "database of ...
22
votes
9answers
5k views

Using Git in Enterprise environment [closed]

Git is an excellent version control system. If we exclude the fact that, it doesn't have an excellent GUI support, it's really good and fast. But the source controls like Clearcase has large support ...
22
votes
11answers
2k views

What to choose: freeware, shareware or payware? [closed]

A few years ago I've developed a program that has a steady group of users. It became quite popular and now we have close to two million downloads on Download.com. At first I provided the application ...
22
votes
7answers
1k views

How can I make sure my evening project code is mine?

I'm a physicist with a CS degree and just started my PhD at a tech company (wanted to do applied research). It deals with large scale finite element simulations. After reviewing their current ...
22
votes
3answers
426 views

At what stage of an Open Source project should you invite contributions from the community? [closed]

I've been wondering about getting contributions to a new open source product my team will be developing. There's encouragement for us to get as much support from the wider community as we're able, ...
22
votes
2answers
3k views

How is client-side javascript covered by the GPL?

If I used a GPL-licensed Javascript library in a web application, would I then have to offer source code of the whole site to anyone who downloaded and executed the Javascript lib?
21
votes
3answers
2k views

How to promote an open-source project?

First of all, I apologize if this is the wrong section of network to post this question. If it is, please feel free to move it to more appropriate location... Question: I would like to hear your ...
21
votes
8answers
777 views

How are open-source projects able to sustain themselves?

I always had this question in mind but couldn't find a proper place to ask. There are some really nice and great open source free software available on the net. How do these products sustain ...
20
votes
7answers
751 views

Does making source code available affect your ability to generate revenue?

We’re working on a .Net framework which ultimately amounts to a single DLL. We intend to charge for commercial use of the framework, but make it free for open source/non-commercial use. The rough ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the right way to fork/re-use code from an open source project?

Let's say I am working on an open source project and want to re-use a trivial utility function from another open source project (for example, a file search/replace function). Is it legal to copy the ...
19
votes
8answers
1k views

Why freeware (closed-source) instead of open-source?

I'm wondering why some people release software as freeware, yet they don't release the source code. Why is that? I can think of some reasons, yet most of them don't make very much sense. Why would you ...
19
votes
4answers
723 views

Would it be ethical to create an open source alternative to the software you've been hired to create?

Say you were hired to create education software that will be sold to students of a particular academic institution. You are the only developer working on this project and have written all of the code. ...
19
votes
4answers
11k views

Copyright notices/disclaimers in source files

It's a common practice to place copyright notices, various legal disclaimers and sometimes even full license agreements in each source file of an open-source project. Is this really necessary for a ...