As many of you probably know, almost a year ago now I decided to take the plunge and move my primary development activities to the Mac. I taught myself Objective-C, got properly to grips with Cocoa at last, and started a new Mac OS X-specific project which would eventually become SourceTree, learning a ton along the way (a process which is by no means complete!). Happily, things have turned out very well - SourceTree continues to sell, reassuring me that there’s enough interest out there for me to keep expanding and improving it (I’m looking forward to getting the next major release in people’s hands soon), and I’ve also been getting some Mac/Ogre-based contract work which I’ve enjoyed a great deal.
I’m pleased to announce that I’m finally ready to make my first fully-fledged commercial Mac OS X application available to the world! SourceTree is a user-friendly Mac OS X front-end for Mercurial and Git, the two most popular distributed version control systems used today. The goal was to create a single tool which could deal with both systems efficiently, and to give a developer quick and intuitive access to the things (s)he needs to just get on with building software.
Watching the ebbs and flows of the game industry is simultaneously inspiring and outright depressing. As is usual for this stage in a console generation, we’re at the ‘consolidation point’ (pun unintentional) - where the tech is pretty well understood, even if it is starting to look a bit dated compared to even a modest PC (how much hassle AA is on this console generation is a case in point), but that at least developers can crank out content in a more efficient fashion.
So, I’ve been a little quieter than usual since the new year, and that’s because I’ve been in a rather reflective mood as I plan out how I’m going to spend my time in 2010. That’s right - planning! Talk about the final frontier 😉 Basically, as you may have gleaned from my previous post, I’ve been looking to make some significant changes to the way I do things in 2010.
Making a living from open source is hard. Correction - making a living from writing open source software is hard - it’s incredibly easy to make a living from someone else’s open source software of course, which is why that’s what most people do 😀At one time the popular opinion was that pure-play open source companies could make a living from support services, which works to a degree but I know from both my own experience and from that of others that it doesn’t work that well.
I picked this story up via Matt Asay and it pretty much summed up the frustrations I’ve had in the last 10 years when talking to certain people about open source - particularly when I was involved in business software. Peter Gyorgy, CIO of GE made this comment in a recent panel discussion: “I think open source is great for own internal playground type of things but if it’s running vital mission critical applications - networks running on open source for example - then that is a huge, huge risk to the organisation,”
I always find Matt Asay’s blog an interesting read - even if I don’t always agree with him, his posts on open source are always thought provoking. Today he was talking about how Wikipedia’s contribution rate is falling and how that has parallels in open source; that the community is no replacement for a centralised, focussed team. He’s right on the core point - at the heart of every successful open source project there’s always a core team (or individual), and in the really influential ones, that team is usually funded - Mozilla is famously bankrolled almost entirely by Google, the Apache foundation has many, many sponsors including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, Eclipse has IBM, and so on.
I’ve been pushing quite hard to get this done before I head off to Qt DevDays next week, and luckily it all came together in the last few days: Some of the notable back-of-the-box (if there was a box) items: Upgrade to SpeedTree v5 - supporting all the great new features. See the SpeedTree site for more details on this release. More lighting options - Ambient Occlusion, Ambient Contrast, Specular Lighting, Transmission Lighting, Global Light Scalar, HDR.
I reported a few months ago on how pleased I was that Qt was changing license to the LGPL, something I saw as a watershed for Qt adoption. I already had an awful lot of respect for Qt, but the previous GPL/commercial license did mean that adoption was in two quite widely separated camps - those who were already making GPL software, and those that could afford to license it for other cases.
Yes, I got back from FMX/09 last night, after the usual pain-in-the-ass shuttling between London airports to make my connections and the inherent waiting around that entails. I’m constantly disgusted by the amount airports charge for internet access so I left writing this post until today. I really enjoyed FMX - it was the first graphics conference in which I’d been officially on the speaker bill, so I’m not sure how well other conferences treat their speakers, but at FMX I thought they did a fantastic job; everything was really well organised and went very smoothly.