The Turbulenz HTML5 game engine is a 2d and 3d game engine that works on HTML5-powered browsers on both the desktop and mobile. The code is licensed under the MIT License.
They have posted about this release on their blog. This is an amazing example of a blog post! It has all the right stuff to interest people in their product and really raises the bar for others when it comes to making an announcement of a free/open source release.
Explanation of why they went free/open source:
We’ve had a lot of interest in the Turbulenz Engine via our SDK packages and many of the people who try it out have praised the features and performance. However, two issues that have often come up are any sort of restrictive licensing and the ease of getting things started.
By releasing the Turbulenz Engine as open source under a standard liberal MIT license we hope to ease the adoption costs and ensure that people don’t feel in any way restricted by using the Engine
How to get started:
If you want to take a look, the best place to start is the README which you can find on the Github project page and included in the source. This details how to set up a development environment and includes a short getting started guide on how to use the Turbulenz Engine APIs. From here we recommend going through the Getting Started guide and reviewing all the documentation online.
The engine is also available bundled in an easy to install SDK for Windows, Mac OS X and GNU/Linux. This might be an easier option if you’re looking for a packaged-up and fully QA’d snapshot of the engine. All future SDK releases will contain the open source engine with the associated MIT license. (Earlier versions of the SDK were released with a partially open license which has now been deprecated.) The bundled SDK is available from the Turbulenz developer service.
How to contribute:
We know there is a large and growing community interested in HTML5 game development and we hope that people will find this project an empowering contribution to game and Internet technology domains. Now that the project is fully available as open source and easily accessible via GitHub all contributions are gladly welcomed. Please send the project a pull request or post a git diff patch on the Turbulenz Engine google group.
Please help spread the word to your friends and followers by sharing this announcement online. We want to make sure that anyone thinking about making a game with HTML5 is aware of Turbulenz as a free and open source solution that comes packed with high performance features.
The impact of these blog posts on your organization’s brand are very positive. With the smallest amount of effort, your organization can be seen as making a valued contribution to the free/open source community and can be seen as raising the quality of their products and services.
Here are some other great free/open source announcements:
The Sunlight Foundation and the Media Standards Trust worked together on a project called Churnalism. It’s a web browser extension available for Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox.
Their announcement is a good example of how to announce a project. In the 1st paragraph they’re giving credit to the teams involved in building the project and they give us a brief overview as to the purpose of the project. The 2nd paragraph tells us how to use the project with links (very important!) to the project so that you can try it out yourself. They include a video tutorial to further explain how the tool works.
Further down in the article they tell us more about how the project was developed and link to another blog post with more details:
Sunlight’s Churnalism is based on a UK site of the same name and is driven by open-source text analysis technology dubbed SuperFastMatch, both developed by the awesome Media Standards Trust. For a deeper dive into the underlying technology and process behind the project, check out this detailed post from Drew Vogel, another developer on Churnalism.
There’s also a privacy concern with the project, so they clearly state and what they’ve done to mitigate that risk:
We understand the privacy sensitivities with an extension extracting text from what you read, so we’ve designed Churnalism to be quite customizable and never retain identifiable information such as your IP address. You can easily change which sites Churnalism runs on by going into the settings for the browser extension. We’ve provided a basic whitelist of major news sites, a listing of local news affiliates and the ability to let Churnalism run on any site with news or article in url, but all these can be removed or paired down (or expanded!) to whatever sites you’re interested in.
Unlike the announcement by Airbnb for their Rendr.js library or the announcement by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid for quantitative analysis tools, the announcement for Churnalism doesn’t state why the project has been released as free/open source, and they don’t try and play up why free/open source is important to them. This shouldn’t always be done; if there’s a way to promote your organization’s brand further and to state their commitment to collaborating in a free/open source community, it should be done.
To summarize, when you announce the first public version of your project, released under a free/open source license, you should do the following things:
- clearly state the purpose of the project, this will establish the target audience and the types of users to expect to use the project
- describe how the target audience can use the software
- answer these questions:
- is there a demo?
- can anyone download the software and run it?
- can it be tried out on the web?
- which platforms are supported?
- link to other blog posts or articles or Wikipedia articles that explain how your software works behind the scenes
- link to other blog posts that are testimonials and use cases of your software
- promote any other free/open source projects that your organization is working on or contributing to
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid has created some quantitative analysis tools for free/open source projects, used for extracting information from code repositories.
I like a few things about this article:
they define “open source” with a simple definition,
Open source software is that which, once it is received, can be used any way one wishes: it can be redistributed (for free or for a fee) and modified, if one knows how to do so.
they mention an advantage of participating in free/open source development,
The main advantage for companies when they participate in open source software projects is that, because they are participating in a development community, they are sharing costs with the other participants, so company resources can be used more efficiently. “The risks come from there as well: you are dependent, as least partially, on how well, or how poorly the development community behaves,” warns the researcher.
they also state that free/open source is much more transparent and therefore much easier to verify for correctness,
The difference that exists in the evaluation process with respect to proprietary software is that, in the majority of open source software projects the data sources are public, because these projects are very interested in transparency. This makes it possible for anyone to analyze reliable data without the need to even have agreements with the projects. In the case of proprietary software this is impossible: it is only for authorized users who have a special agreement with the program’s producer.
Airbnb has released Rendr, a library for the node.js that allows the use of Backbone.js on the server side. This is a bit too technical for my tastes and I would like to focus on what I really like about their announcement.
How do you get others to acknowledge your organization’s contributions in the free/open source ecosystem? How do you earn a reputation for using and developing high-quality software? The first step is to set up a simple web page listing your organization’s contributions. In this article I will describe the contribution pages of HP and Cisco and what elements need to be on your organization’s contribution page.
FOSDEM is a free/open source conference that is “highly developer-oriented” according to their site and it featured many interesting talks this year. The best part is that the videos of the talks are available online for free.
FOSDEM 2013 was sponsored by the following companies:
Here are some interesting videos (click to download, they’re in the WebM format) for developers:
- Using Gerrit Code Review in an Open Source Project [download]
- LibreOffice: Cleaning and Refactoring a Giant Code Base [download]
- How We Made the Jenkins Community [download]
FOSDEM is only one of many conferences that can be sponsored in the free/open source community. Giving developers at your company the chance to attend one of these conferences can improve their skills and capabilities. Sponsoring this kind of conference shows a serious commitment to the free/open source software community.
Idea: encourage developers to present a lightning talk (a short 5 or 10 minute presentation) about anything they’ve worked on in the last few months. If possible, record a video of this and post it online, on your developer-oriented blog and make an effort to highlight the efforts of developers.
LinkedIn has released Rest.li, a JSON framework for implementing REST, under the Apache License version 2. It’s made for the Java programming language and the code is on github.
The blog post is a great example of one way for an organization to announce the release of a free/open source project. It describes the purpose of the software, the features that it has, the functionality that it provides, and they also give some details about their internal uses of other free/open source software.
In particular, they tell us exactly how long they’ve used this software they’re releasing which gives us confidence that the code meets LinkedIn’s high standards:
We’ve been using Rest.li for well over a year at LinkedIn. All our new services are built using it and we’ve converted many of our pre-existing services over. We think it’s so important to have a uniform set interfaces that represent our data that we’re aggressively migrating all, yes all, our services to Rest.li. And we’re already well into this transition with many core services that power our site using Rest.li, including people following, our recommendation engine systems and the network update stream on the homepage.
It also gives us confidence that they won’t abandon the project a few months after releasing it. This increases the chances of a community of developers forming around the project.
Collabora, according to their website, is a real-world open source consulting firm. They have sponsored the following projects and have also made significant code contributions to them:
- GStreamer, the free/open source multimedia kit
- PiTiVi, a video editor for GNU/Linux
- WebKit, the web browser engine used by Google Chrome and Apple Safari
You can see the full list here.
Disclaimer: I work at Trapeze Media
Their latest release is Bento, a Django app that adds editable image and content blocks. A few days later, they also released Carton, a Django app for maintaining wishlists and shopping carts.
Django is licensed under the Modified BSD License.
jQuery is licensed under the MIT License.
Collie is licensed using the Lesser GNU Public License (LGPL). There are a lot of projects that favour the MIT License or the Modified BSD License but they forget that the LGPL is also an option when creating software and releasing it as free/open source software (in the future I’ll cover some of the different licenses that can be used for code in your organization when you release it as free/open source).