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The Future For Xwindows Dock


jolynsbass

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Hi all,

I'm a big fan of Bobah13's work here. Xwindows dock is the most polished, and customizable app of its kind that exists in the freeware world. However, like so many wonderful and useful apps, it seems to have fallen into the sad realm of "stagnant" software (meaning, no on-going development), along with so many other wonderful freeware projects.

What does this mean for the future of Xwindows dock? Do we simply let the bugs continue to "bug" us? All feature requests become pointless... etc etc. Same thing happened to RKlauncher - a nice app, but no development in 4 years - its user base slowly diminishing as people realize its a dead end.

I am wondering whether Bobah13 might consider releasing the source code to the community, if he really has no plans for further development of the project. This would allow enterprising coders (like myself!) to attempt to incorporate the features and bug-fixes that he no longer has time to implement. I'm sure I'm not the only one with coding skills who would be interested on working with Xwindows Dock to ensure that its future is a bright one. I know there are license agreements he can use which will ensure that he remains in control of the actual software - no unauthorized distribution, he gets to determine if various code changes would be used in the official release, etc.

Anyway, if Bobah13 pokes his head in every once and a while, maybe he'll see this and respond. In the meantime, if anyone else supports the idea, feel free to voice it here.

Edited by jolynsbass
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I can't say I'd see anything inherently wrong with this idea especially since, as you mentioned, there are licensing agreements many from which Bobah13's could possibly find something to his liking. But in the end, it really boils down to the program author's comfort level with releasing his/her code to be scrutinized, sense of ownership and control being eroded, responsibility -for better or worse- shifting hands, etc.

I absolutely love this dock and I would love to see the bugs fixed and the dock become a 'living/growing/evolving' thing, but the best chance you'd have to make this happen would be to do the research (best license option, a development management scheme, like sourceforge, a simple cost-benefit analysis he'd understand, etc.) on behalf of Bobah13 and present it to him personally. I'm sure you can find contact info for him, either by PMing him here or emailing him at: BOBAH_UK[at]mail.ru, or his ICQ: 240605815 (this stuff can be found on his webpage.)

If you present him with a good enough case, maybe he would be tempted with a role such as Linus Torvalds shifting from a role of chief architect of the Linux kernel, to the project's coordinator. And to what degree Bobah13 would like to be actively involved in design considerations for his dock could be up to him and adjusted according to his schedule, etc.

My contribution to this cause:

Cost (from Bobah13's perspective):

  • Some of Bobah13's personal time. (estimated at: x)
  • Code being released, viewed and modified, updated by others.
  • Bobah13 would possibly have to arrange and get other contributor's greenlight to release portions/code (For instance, from Matonga, though I'm sure he would not mind.)

Benefit (from Bobah13's perspective):

  • An appreciative community and world wide audience who'll know the program and recognize the original author and contributor as Bobah13.
  • instantly increases Bobah13's visibility as news of release, stability and popularity of the program increases.
  • As time passes, a static XWindowsDock will become more and more of a liability as Windows7 becomes mainstream and users complain of bugs, etc. Opening development could keep XWindowsDock nimble and usable and maintain it's favorable reputation long after v5.6.
  • Being involved with a collaborate community (even passively,) can build friendships, introduce to new colleagues / programming peers / Project Management oriented individuals, a great opportunity for networking and future work prospects worldwide.
  • Creating this project under an appropriate license and having the program managed by the community and the experience that comes with such is precisely the kind of resume stuffer that can land you a higher paying gig.
  • On a more emotional level, as a 'parent' of your 'child,' wouldn't it be nice to have your dock grow beyond your sphere of resources and take on a life of it's own and leave it's mark on the world?

The above's about as much as I can shake of the top of my head..

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Great post, firecracker. Some excellent advice and thoughts.

I did actually try and contact him personally, both via PM and email, some time ago. I'm not sure either of those actually got through, so I thought I'd present the idea publicly, in case he were to visit the forum.

You're right about how picking out a good license/distribution model would help. I'll get thinking about that - but also remember, he can specify any sort of license agreement he wants, even write his own. It can be as liberal or conservative as he'd like. That said, I'll still try and find something appropriate.

I completely understand though about the whole parent/child thing. I have a project called Seventh Sense, which is an interactive book reader for the Lone Wolf series of gamebooks, and it's hard to let go of the source (I finally did do it, once I completed the majority of the program.) Even in that case, I retain the only rights to distribute the binaries. So, if people make changes that they think should be released in the official project, it goes through me first.

Anyway, nice cost/benefit list, and thanks for your input!

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No problem, thank you for your dedication to, and passion for the project. It's kind of inspirational ;)

I'm aware that he could specify his own license, however I think the last thing that would encourage him to 'open up' the project would be the implications of added time and effort he'd have to commit at this stage. And unless you're willing to put on your Bobah13 hat and write one up in a manner you'd think would be appealing to him, I'd say you'd be putting a lot of your effort against the odds of him going through with it. What would make more sense is a proposal that is short, concise, and leverages resources already available to you: "Bobah13, If you go with license "X" then you can do this while maintaining that, etc. Don't forget you can create your own license."

While this all may seem labor intensive, the rewards would be amazing!! And your approach makes sense. If you can't get a hold of him, post here and see if he'd respond. If I were you, maybe contact him again, and direct him to this thread?

In addition, if you're ambitious, provide him with your proposal, even if he doesn't respond immediately.

Lastly, Panta mentioned that he's was in regular contact with Bobah13 and his enthusiasm for the project was unmatched. If you can reach him, you'll probably be able to reach Bobah13 ;)

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Hi folks! :D

Yes, I'm still over here, although just trying to keep the forum minimally organized for the benefit of our still increasing user base, as my current health condition forbids me of being more active...

The last time I talked to bobah he told me he had no time at all to spend with this project in the foreseeable future, due to his current work. From what I understand, he intends to keep total ownership of the code and has no intention in releasing it publicly; thus, I don't see it happening unless he really changes his mind.

I'll merge this thread with the off-topic one after some time. For now, it'll remain as is, giving it more visibility so that, if bobah sees fit, he can give a better answer than mine... ;)

Cheers,

Panta

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well, it would be very nice if bobah allow someone to continue the project while he is busy. I'm not saying to make the code public, but give it to someone that can improve it.

Since I'm not a programmer, I can't say anymore. I just hope that someday, bobah get back with the project, because I've never saw any other dock that is easy and powerfull as XWD.

Thats all.

@Panta

Are you from Brazil too? lol.

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