Some pundits out there think you can't get rich off open source software. Well, that's just not true. As evidence, we bring you Mike Olson, the former CEO of Sleepycat Software who milked Oracle for millions. You can see Mike here, although he doesn't actually work for Oracle anymore. These days he's eating burritos filled with …
I have a few tales I could tell about a certain, recently bought out games studio, who's staff were until recently building games using Maya on 2ghz P4s with 512mb RAM, Geforce MX440s, backing everything up to their own *personal* hard drives [the network drives were less reliable, and slower, than a USB hard disk]. Meanwhile, rather than invest £20,000 on better equipment for the artists machines, the MD chopped in his six month old Merc CLS for an F430.
I have to stop now before I start thinking about the other tales I have been told.
Suffice to say I'll never get involved in the games industry - from all accounts it's vicious, vicious work, but the payoff is that it really is only the best talents who make the good games - my mate referenced above is really chuffed when the games he and his guys and girls slog their guts over day and night get good reviews, which, more often than not, they do.
Just never kid yourself that the only way to making good games is to spoil your employees - Rare and MSGS seem to be the exception to the rule in that regard.
As I understand it, the only way to 'break in' to the games industry is to have a team of fucking good people who can build fucking good games, and be prepared to work your fingers to the bone until someone sees the potential and picks you up or you get a good license - star wars, indiana jones, bond, etc.make a cracking game with a famous name attached, and suddenly you're all over the press and get attention from the big boys [See: RareWare, with both Nintendo and MS, Travellers Tales and EA are another] or you get something huge on your hands [like WoW, for example] that then starts looking after you in return...
You can make crap, with a famous license [FIFA is a *perfect* example - it went through about three iterations/sequels back in the mid 90s with almost no changes whatsoever, each version being as crap as the other...] and survive, but if you just make crap, you're dead in the water - especially with development costs these days. You can't just get someone with a pallette to animate some sprites, change the colours and details here and there, drop it onto a dev cart/disc and send it off to be published - not when people are expecting photorealistic lighting and millions of on-screen polygons these days - the money involved, and the risks, must surely be astonishingly scary by now?
Whiners aren't Contributors
Great commentary on the open source whiners. Even those who submit code but form a lynch mob to condemn the efforts of other companies, organizers, and developers negate any productive contributions they might have made. I think it's ridiculous how many people are on religious quests on how open is your open source. Good discussion.
I read the comments
Matt and honestly I didn't see any whining or much of a lynch mob compared to the hostile shit I see normally on this site it was very mild. If you express an opinion someone may say they don't agree, hard to believe that's what got under your skin . If you start off by belittling people (no matter how much they deserve it) you will almost always get some heat, might be nice if you could understand that. Ask Ashley what real criticism is like have him show you the comments on "that dog can mount" article.
Tux V Daemon?
It's a real pity you didn't do a bit more thinking before you decided to represent Micro$oft with the little red devil - the red "Daemon" is the BSD Unix symbol & shouldn't be mixed up with the rank badness that is the Evil Incarnate of Redmond.
Re: Tux V Daemon
Given that the little red guy is also called 'Beastie' in the game screen, I rather assumed that it was intended to represent BSD vs Linux. It's not like the open source world is particularly relaxed and congenial, with everyone getting along just fine all the time.
You have managed to hit the nail on the head and miss the point entirely in one fell swoop.
Ru speaketh the truth.
Mines the one with 'Ha-Do-Ken' scrawled on the back in Blankas blood.
The hatchet will be buried very soon, but I appreciate the un-named shout out on Open Season, just so we're clear, I don't contribute code to OSS projects and don't have money to spend on sponsoring OSS projects, but do have an interest in where the OSS market goes. Its a potential source of income for me, somewhat like it is for u today...
Our little "fight" was on a request for u to clarify why Sun does not "get" open source, which u have, AFAIK, to this day, yet to answer. Maybe I missed it, or perhaps u just don't have the time to do it, but i think its different than your claim that I accused u of not getting OSS and Java. Maybe I'm splitting hairs, or maybe your lumping me in to a discussion on OSS 'bile' is legit, but at least be accurate and/or make an explanation...
WRT the guest speaker - it's interesting to hear someone in Mike's position, but maybe in future your email invitations could add 'turn off Skype & gchat blips' to the list that presumably already includes 'turn your mobile off and lock the kids in the bathroom'.
WRT the claims about users of free software not contributing. And you think this is something that's only happened in the past 12 months? I read a spiel, probably around a decade ago, about the benefits of people who were 'merely' users of free software. Advocacy, for starters, but even just being passively observed to be using an alternative to the incumbent is good press for that alternative.
I tend to agree with this observation - it's hard to prove, yes absolutely, and there definitely are a number of grumpy people who don't appear to contribute materially, but for as long as they're the minority they can be happily ignored.
Quoting one of the guys (all you yanks sound the same to me, sorry ;)
"There's that mix of .. where people have that struggle with open-source versus free software ... I think what you were getting .. was people misinterpreting these comments about open-source always having to be free."
Maybe rms is right - the usage of the phrase 'open-source' really does confuse the [primary] issue. I couldn't understand the above comment at all, and if anything I'm even more convinced that the speaker doesn't understand what free software means (or is meant to mean, if you prefer).
Free software development .v. games. I've yet to work out how you could write a multiplayer game using free software *and* prevent ne'er-do-wells from subverting the environment. In the absence of a punkbuster-esque utility (which by definition needs to be non-free software) it doesn't seem possible to protect the game's community. An interesting algorithmic conundrum for someone, perhaps.
Entirely agree with AC above - the cost of entry to the games market now must be astonishing. When I were a lad .. I had a part time job helping the guy next door (a TRS-80 games programmer) make copies of his games on cassettes. His cost of entry was his TRS-80, an assembly language reference, and a high-speed tape-dubbing machine. Oh my - I need a lie down now.
But as usual, of course, I did enjoy the show .. mostly. :)