Future tS

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worldmaker
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Future tS

Post by worldmaker » 24 May 2009, 07:46

Well it came as a surprise to discover that one of my favorite applications was being snuffed by Microsoft. But no real surprise.
So what can be done for the future?

I'm sure everyone has their own thoughts and discussions have been racing around the world on that issue, and normally I only lurk around while working on my own plans until I'm more comfortable with entering a solid discussion with something substantial to contribute. However, the sudden end of tS means that I have to make as least some move to salvage something, either now or in the near future.

I have had long plans to embrace tS in-depth for a major software product development over the next decade, adding my own thoughts to the whole definition of what a graphics programme ought to do and how. I won't discuss that on here, not with M$oft lurking in the background snooping for business intelligence, but I will offer the following questions....

Does the unrestricted licence for tS permit reverse engineering, and replication of design and coding? According to the tS site you can download it without restriction. In legal terms that could be interpreted at a wide open invitation to take and use as you see fit, and that has been the basis of my effort during the last few hours.

Does anyone have a contact for Roman Ormandy with a view to a few private discussions and whether he'd support a new development projects (I think I could raise the funds, but I will need to tap into the history and support personnel at a later date)?

Can the (former?) developers please keep a copy of the source code? I will need to utilize it if all goes well and wouldn't want to see it "disappear" into the fortress of M$oft.

And just to be generous to the nicer elements of M$oft does anyone have a contact for someone over there, to discover what's possible from their point of view?

-----------------

Project Plan

This is NOT an open source proposal, but part of an integrated set of applications developments I require to undertake for a series of media and technology projects during the next decade.

The project will refine and enhance a suitable application set OR develop and entirely new application set to meet these requirements.

I anticipate being in position to raise preliminary venture finance during the next year (had two meetings with prospective investors on related subject earlier this week).

I anticipate spending two to three years establishing a suitable base of operations and either re-employing the team or recruiting and training a new team.

My background comes as project developer based at Manchester University several years ago on a software technology, and my formal education (albeit covered in cobwebs and rust) is software engineering. More recently I have begun work on launching my own media production company.

I cannot guarantee anything at this stage, this is just a preliminary investigation into who and what is out there likely to support this proposal, but I know from my experience the potential for developing an enhanced graphics application and the excellent work of the tS developers should not be allowed to go to such a terrible waste.

You can contact me through here or my web site at www.worldmaker.org
Writer of the FREE short story "Dragon's Vale" and designer of the SpringShip

Jack Edwards
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Re: Future tS

Post by Jack Edwards » 24 May 2009, 10:17

Hi Worldmaker,

The source code, software, and redistributables are still owned by Microsoft. The are showing no indications of wanting to part with the code.

For personal use and small commercial projects, trueSpace is a good tool. But, considering the limitations of the trueSpace base code with relation to large numbers of groups and high polygon situtations, you'd likely probably be better off coding a new app from scratch if you intend to use it for high res commerial animation production.

Though it would certainly be good for all of us if someone acquired the trueSpace source from Microsoft so that the software could have a new future under new development. If the core limitations could be overcome that would make a huge difference in the software's viability, because it is completely modular and exensible.
No booleans were used in the mangling of this message... :?

YafaRay for trueSpace Project

(Current version: v0.7.0)

trueSpacePlugins.com

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Re: Future tS

Post by worldmaker » 24 May 2009, 12:40

Jack Edwards wrote:If the core limitations could be overcome that would make a huge difference in the software's viability, because it is completely modular and exensible.
Jack,

Thanks for the thoughts.
Modularity is exactly what I'm interested in, to add the new features I'm seeking.
Writer of the FREE short story "Dragon's Vale" and designer of the SpringShip

Jack Edwards
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Re: Future tS

Post by Jack Edwards » 24 May 2009, 12:46

Adding new features isn't a problem. With the SDK we have basically the exact same interface that the devs themselves were using to add functionality.

There's also the possiblity of replacing core functionality by replacing those DLLs. We just need to duplicate the interfaces and handle the data transfer correctly. So theoretically the software is fully extensible as it is now. ;)
No booleans were used in the mangling of this message... :?

YafaRay for trueSpace Project

(Current version: v0.7.0)

trueSpacePlugins.com

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worldmaker
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Re: Future tS

Post by worldmaker » 24 May 2009, 13:25

Jack Edwards wrote:Adding new features isn't a problem. With the SDK we have basically the exact same interface that the devs themselves were using to add functionality.
Lovely.
Jack Edwards wrote:There's also the possiblity of replacing core functionality by replacing those DLLs. We just need to duplicate the interfaces and handle the data transfer correctly. So theoretically the software is fully extensible as it is now. ;)
He he he!

I could, then upgrade tS, retaining the current interface, adding separate modules to cover my requirements, without infringing on M$oft rights, however, a major upgrade, integrating whole new component structures would require more changes that could be done through the SDK?

Remember, I'm not approaching this as programmer, but someone who wants a specific solution to a need likely to appeal to thousands of other users, and would need to hand off all the programming to suitable teams, so pardon my ignorance.
Writer of the FREE short story "Dragon's Vale" and designer of the SpringShip

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Re: Future tS

Post by GraySho » 24 May 2009, 13:54

I think what tS needs most at the moment is workflow improvement and a well thought structuring of the UI. Looking at other software there´s plenty of ideas how to improve and build upon them. I always thought that one of the weaker points of Caligari was that they did seem to be interested in how things are done in other software. I´m not saying they should go out and copy everything they can find, but there´s no need to reinvent the wheel. And they should have listened more to experienced users and artists. After all those people are the ones who have to work with it and push the limits.

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Re: Future tS

Post by worldmaker » 24 May 2009, 16:34

GraySho wrote:....but there´s no need to reinvent the wheel. And they should have listened more to experienced users and artists. After all those people are the ones who have to work with it and push the limits.
Graphics applications are renown as being the most difficult to master, the issue of combining the needs of the visual artist with the skills of the programming artists.

I do have interests in both fields so hope I could contribute something there.
Writer of the FREE short story "Dragon's Vale" and designer of the SpringShip

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Re: Future tS

Post by First Light » 25 May 2009, 03:05

Hi worldmaker,

I'm surprised at the widespread misunderstaning about intellectual property rights. I've been a software developer for a couple of decades (in unrelated industries). When the owner or an authorized agent gives you a free copy of a computer program---even if it includes unlimited use---it does NOT give you ANY rights to the source code and it does NOT give you ANY rights of redistribution UNLESS those additional rights are specifically stated in the license agreement (which they rarely are).

Normally, when you buy computer software or receive freeware software, you are really only receiving a license to use the software. This is explained in the End User License Agreement (EULA) which you must accept and agree to obey in order receive and use the license and software.

When Caligari/Microsoft decided to give trueSpace 7.6 away for free, all they were really doing is giving away free licenses to use the program. They did not give away ANY rights to the program code. They did not give away any rights of redistribution. They still retain full ownership and control over the code to both trueSpace 7.6 and all previous versions.

As for reverse engineering, it is a way to circumvent copyright plagiarism---if it is done correctly. Remember, just because you think up an idea on your own doesn't give you any rights if someone else thought of it first. What you have to do is think of a unique idea AND express it uniquely. Plus, reverse engineering will not protect you from patent infringement. If Caligari/Microsoft own patents embodied in the trueSpace source code, then reverse engineering will not protect you from patent infringement if it enables your product to induce people to infringe their idea(s).

Finally, it is popular to criticize big companies like Microsoft for their heavy-handed tactics with regard to intellectual property rights. But as a member of a small company who has worked very hard for many, many years to develop source code, this is a touchy subject. I'm sure you would feel angry like us if you discover someone stealing your hard work.

Best regards, First Light

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Re: Future tS

Post by worldmaker » 25 May 2009, 07:57

First Light,

As a writer and inventor (a short story published for "FREE" under its own license, one patent in the process of application, other material under development) I am very aware of the issues and legalities of patent, copyright, trademark and related legislation, national to the UK and internationally.

As for reverse engineering, I interpret the focus of such an effort on identifying and then avoiding any core code while creating a functionality sufficiently compatible to give every tS user a safe up-grade path without loosing on their many years' invested in training and work.

As I mentioned in my first posting I would be happy to talk with Microsoft, as soon as I can find someone there to talk with, but given the size of such an organization I suspect it'll take some time to do so.

In the meantime I'd encourage everyone who wants to keep tS alive to give it away to all their friends, contacts, workmates, make it available on your P2P services, etc.
Writer of the FREE short story "Dragon's Vale" and designer of the SpringShip

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Re: Future tS

Post by CdeB » 25 May 2009, 10:25

Hi Worldmaker,

These are very interesting possibilities :)

Back to copyright..
In the meantime I'd encourage everyone who wants to keep tS alive to give it away to all their friends, contacts, workmates, make it available on your P2P services, etc.
What we cannot do is redistribute (Tom Grimes discusses this somewhere), what we can do is encourage everybody to go to the Caligari website while it exists and download trueSpace :D

Interesting you're based in Manchester -I will be flying into the UK on Friday to Manchester Airport -but quickly transferring over the Pennines to visit my Mum.

CdeB

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