Tag Archives: companies

Open Source and success of a developer and video game programmer

Matteo Spinelli used to be a (sad) freelance PHP #developer with some front-end skill working for tiny to small local companies. The best gig I had at the time was for a #videogame distributor here in Italy. The client was great but the job admittedly boring and sometimes even frustrating.

I knew I had much more to give and I was feeling like trapped into quicksand.

The single most important decision in my career was to start developing #opensource #software (OSS) and blogging about it. I started from silly things such as a PHP clean URL generator or the onClick delay removal and I ended up with iScroll and the Add to Homescreen widgets.

I picked for them the most liberal license I could find (MIT) and companies from all over the world contacted me asking for customization and new features. My hourly rate was around $60 and I had to raise it on a daily basis because I couldn’t keep up with the increasing quote requests. Now I’m still a freelancer but I work for Microsoft and Google and my rate is at $150/h.

Open source increased my visibility but it’s not just a matter of pageviews. Open source makes you generally a better developer. It forces you to compare yourself with other developers and that’s the best workout for your coder’s brain.

I learned more about javascript from people posting suggestions on the issue tracker than on any guide, tutorial or book I’ve ever read.

OSS probably made me a humbler developer, too. I know what it takes to patch even small portions of code and I’m less harsh when posting bugs on others’ repositories.

But that’s just part of the story.

You do not release OSS just for fame (and money). Maybe at the beginning that was the intention but once you get involved you understand that you are doing much more.

Countless people are using your code, you are helping star-ups getting on their own feet, you are potentially creating new job opportunities. With maybe 48 hours of your life you could possibly help dozens companies and their employees. A guy made a WordPress plugin that was basically a PHP wrapper for my Add To Homescreen and he raised $50k+ out of it (maybe more by now). You may think that I’m mad with him, but I’m actually pretty f!#*&g happy for him (and all his users).

Also, the more I develop open source the more I appreciate other open source software and get addicted to it. I understand what it means to code for security and, most notably, the importance of user (and my) privacy.

I was an avid Apple user because it’s all nice and tidy and it just works, but maybe there are more important things than a fancy interface and a pixel perfect gradient. I’m now using Apple products just for testing and my main rig is Linux.

I can safely say that Open Source made me a better man and encourage you to release your code under an open source license, because if it worked for me it will very likely work for you too.

Originally posted on Matteo Spinelli’s Cubiq.org

”linux-game-gaming-gamer-news” title=

Linux support and the real problem blocking games and apps

GOG.com announced that it won’t support Linux for its games, and the community reacts.

The Open Source and Linux ecosystems (and the various communities within them) are, in general, pretty awesome – providing advancement and support of a wide array of software to everything from consumer-oriented cellphones to battle-hardened, enterprise servers.

But there are a few problems…a few kinks in an otherwise rather straight hose.

A great example of this is GOG.com’s recent announcement that it will not be adding Linux support to the games they sell any time soon.

From Trevor Longino, GOG.com’s head of marketing: “The architecture of Linux with many common distros, each of them updating fairly often, makes it incredibly challenging for any digital distribution company to be able to properly test the game in question, and then provide support for the release-all of which our users are accustomed to.”

GOG.com’s Piotr Szczesniak added: “Until we can figure out something like a better way to automate testing and building games for GOG.com, there’s no way that the economics of Linux support make sense for us. That said, we do know that there are plenty of people who want to be able to play their games with Linux-native support from us, and we continue to look for ways where we can automate this until it reaches a point where it is something that we believe we can do and not lose money at it.”

They’re not wrong. And they’re not saying Linux is bad – quite the contrary. This is a company showing that they’re interested in finding a way to be able to actively support and sell Linux versions of the games they offer. They simply haven’t figured out a way to do it that ensures they don’t lose money.

This isn’t a new issue. Sales of commercial applications and games built and packaged for Linux distributions have been, in general, incredibly low. This isn’t because Linux is “bad,” and the folks at GOG.com certainly aren’t saying that… they simply haven’t been able to find a way to fund development and support for Linux while earning a profit.

So there’s a problem there. It’s not really a huge deal, as no ecosystem is perfect. If we want to rectify the issue, we need to come up with good, well-documented methods companies like GOG.com could use to support Linux and, at least, break even.

This is where another problem within our greater open source/Linux community rears its ugly head – whenever someone talks about having a hard time figuring out how to support Linux without losing money, the mob tends to get angry and hurl insults at the speaker.

If you look through the comments you’ll find many along the lines of “their argument is just stupid,” “It’s bull**** and they know it,” and “they just want to be a-holes is all.” There are not a lot of constructive ideas or suggestions on how to achieve profitability by packaging and targeting for Linux desktops.

These two issues join forces to create a sort of “super-problem.”

Companies can’t figure out how to effectively and profitably support Linux. They turn to the community to discuss that issue. The community shoots them in the face for talking about the issue, thus making other companies afraid to even try.

GOG is not the problem here. Neither is Valve, Desura, Canonical or any other company that would seek to sell digital goods to those of us running Linux.

The problem is us. Our reaction. Our ability to recognize that our operating system, desktop environments and software ecosystems of choice may not (brace yourselves) be 100% perfect in every way.

Again: I love Linux. I’ve hung my hat on the metaphorical Linux hat-rack. But just because I love it, that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t use some improvement here or there.

Reblogged from: networkworld.com By Bryan Lunduke

From Linux Game News:

At Linux Game News, we see a great deal of change within the community, especially in the aspects of gaming. Commercial and independent game developers coming forward, looking for ways to support their games natively. Oddly enough, that is the one question we get asked, A LOT.

Where do we find linux game developers to help port our game(s) to the platform?

Keep in mind, on this side of the gaming community, there are far more new’ish game developers asking that same question. And, they want cross-platform support, just look at all the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaigns.
This is why game engines like Unity 3D take the lead, while others like Leadwerks change their platform and directly support Linux. CryTek also made headlines, looking for a programmer to help support native titles. All good news, right? Of course.

These companies all know there is a mass movement in indie game design. While many AAA game companies have to down-size a few months after a big release. Why?? Their development costs are in the millions and they have to meet the needs of their investors. Look at all the AAA development companies making their way onto Kickstarter, with success.

Now, something to keep in mind that many have yet to really challenge. GOG.com supports a great deal of older games, which really never had the game engine integration that is happening in the current industry.
So the workaround for such issues will be WINE, PlayOnLinux, or Crossover Office. Until the time comes when the development demand will meet the budget of the market.

”linux-game-gaming-gamer-news” title=

Execution Labs offers $150K ‘loan’ program to help studios launch

Gaming companies getting started in Canada have a new option to help them through the rough early stages of founding a company.

Canadian game incubator Execution Labs (XL) announced Monday that it has teamed up with BDC Venture Capital to offer $150,000 in convertible notes to firms that graduate from the labs’ incubator program.

Montreal-based Execution Labs, which announced its own funding last fall, will help accelerate the growth of independent mobile-game studios by providing the financial support to early-stage companies.

The funding has a structure like a loan at the time of the investment. Its intention is to help new studios weather a period that is possibly very tough for them financially, as they continue working toward generating revenues and positioning themselves to successfully raise subsequent rounds of funding.

Senia Rapisarda, vice president of strategic investments and initiatives at BDC Venture Capital, said in a statement, “Game development has for years been an important part of Canada’s technology ecosystem. We are excited to partner with Execution Labs and look forward to helping the best studios coming out of XL fulfill their potential to power our games economy.”

Jason Della Rocca, co-founder of Execution Labs, said in a statement, “The capital we provide during the course of the program is really designed to fund the teams’ game development and initial go-to-market efforts. The BDC Venture Capital convertible-note program now gives our graduating studios time to continue running their games as a service and ramp their revenues after they leave XL.”

He added, “In addition to giving our teams more time to get traction, having a note in place from a reputable investor like BDC Venture Capital makes it easier for them to attract additional financing to expand their studios and release more games.”

The teams that are currently in the incubator program will become eligible, as will future participants. The convertible notes will eventually become equity when the new studios raise their first equity financing.

Other tech incubators such as Y Combinator, Tech Stars, and FounderFuel offer resources for their participating startups, but indie game studios haven’t had access to a convertible-funding program in the same depth that Execution Labs intends to provide, the company said. Since Execution Labs already delivers some seed funding to its teams, the total financial package available to those who enter the program will now reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. The incubator will start accepting applications for its second class this fall.

Reblogged from: venturebeat.com

”linux-game-gaming-gamer-news” title="Linux Game Gaming News

A swan song from this departing open source blogger

As I sign off from my duties at ZDNet, and more than 20 years following open source, I am struck with the realization that open source has, in many respects, really taken over the world.

By Paula Rooney @ZDNET

As I sign off from my duties at ZDNet, and more than 20 years following open source, I am struck with the realization that open source has, in many respects, really taken over the world.

By the world, I mean the IT infrastructure that powers the global information network.

The revolutions inspired by free and open software, and enabled by the Internet and WWW,  we all know, extend well beyond the technology industry: the Arab Spring and budding human rights movement in China owe much to these social networks, and in kind, to open source software and the communal spirit behind it.

At its core: the general public license and others like it, a principled and disciplined leader who refused to sell his Linux kernel to the highest bidder and legions of talented developers who believe in the notion that software is the pre-eminent utility of the future, far too important to be owned by the commercial few.

As we look at today’s powers that be on the web, Google and Facebook, it is Linux, interwined with a mish mash of open source and proprietary applications, that are powering their infrastructures as well as  the cloud and the expanding data centers of the world.

As illustrated in the Cathedral and the Bazaar, by Eric Raymond, the more open the code, the better the software will be.

The rise of Google’s Android OS –the only serious commercial challenger to Apple’s iOS today — demonstrates the significant commercial power of Linux.  Red Hat has reached $1 billion in revenues and that number will only continue to climb. The prevalence of open source databases and tools building out the new enterprise and the cloud — such as MySQL and OpenStack — testifies to rapid advances enabled by the open source model.

And to think just a few years ago Linux was snubbed as a “cancer” by Microsoft’s CEO. (It is a cancer to Microsoft’s long term revenues, but that’s all.)

No, Windows has not disappeared, and IBM mainframes are still in use.  Microsoft still has plenty of skin in the game, Oracle remains a behemoth and VMware covets its pedigree and blue ribbon reputation in the virtualization game.

Still, we see open source driving much of the fundamental change in the technology industry and we see open source rivals digging deeply into their respective market shares and posing a real threat of extinction to these proprietary giants in a generation’s time, probably much less.

It has been an honor following the movers and shakers — Linus Torvalds and the Linux Foundation, Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu, MySQL, Mozilla, JBoss, The Apache Foundation, Samba, Xen and KVM — as well as the innumerable smaller projects that helped spawn a movement but failed to materialize.

I have also enjoyed covering the colorful cast of characters in the community — from Linus Torvalds to Jeremy Allison, Marc Fleury, Mark Shuttleworth (what are the chances that a guy with that name ends up in space?), Ian Pratt, Miguel de Icaza — and that’s just naming a few.  A Linus Torvalds quote : priceless.

Two parting thoughts:

Open source software and proprietary software mix well in the IT infrastructure but not at the corporate level. The cultures clash too much. Time and time again, we’ve seen promising open source projects and companies acquired by proprietary software giants end up either crushed or diminished. Of course, huge injections of cash help talented open source developers fund open source forks, and new companies, but on the whole, the fewer of these marriages, the better, in my humble estimation.

Cybertheft and cyberterrorism are global threats and the implications for destruction going forward are too scary to imagine. I’d implore all programmers — open source and not — to get some skin in the game. It will take more than a village — a massive, coordinated community of eyeballs and programmers– to counter the plans of thieves and terrorists.  But it can be done.

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