Risk of the software disappearing?

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tml
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Risk of the software disappearing?

Postby tml » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:38 am

Hi,

In general prefer to use Free or Open Source software whenever possible, and in fact I earn my living as a software enginer working on such. But I don't mind buying and using also proprietary software if it clearly is well written and a joy to use, as noatikl definitely seems to be, based on the demo version. (And the price is quite reasonable IMHO.) There is just one thing that worries me: intermorphic is a small company, what it something happens to it...?

So I wonder, would it be possible to get some kind of guarantee that if intermorphic (knock on wood) goes out of business, the source code would be made Open Source, or something like that? Perhaps periodically storing the source code at some escrow service with instructions what to do if the company disappears. It wouldn't be nice to find oneself at some point with lots of work invested in data files for software you can't buy new copies/licenses of to install on new machines etc.

(Yeah, of course the same risk is there for any software that uses a proprietary undocumented data format... Like, with so many DAWs out there, and the economy being what it is, I wouldn't be surprised if at some point there is a number of surprised people who find they can't longer transfer the license of their favourite DAW to a new machine, and not load their music files into some surviving competing application either.)

(Of course, my real hope would be that noatikl etc was at least partially Open Source... I would love to be able to do some hacking (in the traditional non-evil sense of the word) on the code... But I understand that it is not easy to adapt an Open Source business model.)

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Re: Risk of the software disappearing?

Postby impete » Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:51 pm

Hi!

In general prefer to use Free or Open Source software whenever possible, and in fact I earn my living as a software enginer working on such. But I don't mind buying and using also proprietary software if it clearly is well written and a joy to use, as noatikl definitely seems to be, based on the demo version. (And the price is quite reasonable IMHO.)


Thank you! I hope you enjoy using the demo! :)

There is just one thing that worries me: intermorphic is a small company, what it something happens to it...?

So I wonder, would it be possible to get some kind of guarantee that if intermorphic (knock on wood) goes out of business, the source code would be made Open Source, or something like that? Perhaps periodically storing the source code at some escrow service with instructions what to do if the company disappears. It wouldn't be nice to find oneself at some point with lots of work invested in data files for software you can't buy new copies/licenses of to install on new machines etc.


Well, an interesting question. We haven't really thought that far ahead. Software needs to be relevant in the moment. I know of many former Koan users who find Noatikl, relieved to hear that the original concepts behind Koan have been reinvigorated in Noatikl. For example, if Koan had just stood totally still,it would probably have remained in use only by a few; Noatikl needed to run on Macs (PPC and Intel), Windows Vista/7, be available as VST/AU plug-ins as well as stand-alone; and the user interface needed a fresh approach.

Tim and I remain as enthusiastic as always about what we do, and intend to keep plugging away! I'd be amazed if we ever made it open source; I'd speculate that in the very long term, Intermorphic might end-up either being acquired by a company keen to embrace and extend, or perhaps passed-on within the family to the next generation of budding Cole developers....

But for now, Intermorphic remains a fun cottage industry. :-D

(Yeah, of course the same risk is there for any software that uses a proprietary undocumented data format... Like, with so many DAWs out there, and the economy being what it is, I wouldn't be surprised if at some point there is a number of surprised people who find they can't longer transfer the license of their favourite DAW to a new machine, and not load their music files into some surviving competing application either.)


Yes, that is interesting to think about. I'm not sure if digital musicians have such long-term interests in most of their software, though there are some concepts (Koan/Noatikl for example) that seem to get "under the skin" of musicians and people simply keep coming back to them. I'm pleased to say that I think we have many (very!) long-term users who remain interesting/excited by using the tools.

(Of course, my real hope would be that noatikl etc was at least partially Open Source... I would love to be able to do some hacking (in the traditional non-evil sense of the word) on the code... But I understand that it is not easy to adapt an Open Source business model.)


There are a few reasons why we're not open source.

Firstly I guess, we've put so much effort in to what we do, over so long, that we want to try to make some money out of our efforts. :) Writing commercial software keeps us focused; we're careful to try to give our customers what we think they want, but because we're basically a "cottage industry" we're also able to spend time just noodling around with interesting ideas. It'd be nice to be able to involve more developers in writing the code, but that raises issues of management/direction, and of course we want to keep our IP under wraps.

So, our approach to involving 3rd parties is to encourage them to create wrappers around the system, be that for example Noatikl scripts and template packs, or TiklPaks for Mixtikl.

We'd love to be able to have developers extend Mixtikl/Noatikl through Plug-Ins, but for now restrictions in the iPhone SDK license practically prevents software on iPhone allowing 3rd-party extensions via either binary code or scripts. Hopefully that will change in future, and we can then open things up more to 3rd party developers who are interested to extend what we do (mainly via scriptable plug-ins expressed in XML/JavaScript/Lua).

Many thanks again for raising such interesting questions!

Best wishes,

Pete


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