wotreplays.org: Reconsidering the open source nature of wotreplays.org
Some recent developments have made me think about this for the last day or so.
It’s not the first time it happened, but up to now there’s always been some form of amicable resolution, this time however I think no amicable resolution can be reached. Unfortunate, really. I figured I didn’t have to say this, but here’s the “rules” as far as wotreplays.org’s codebase goes:
- It’s open source; that means you can copy it, modify it, and pretty much do what you want with it*but you have to contribute your changes back, or credit the original source
- If you use the wotreplays.org codebase to get ideas for your own replay hosting site, it’s common courtesy to credit me – after all, I didn’t do all that work for nothing now did I?
To be honest I’d figure this would be common sense but apparently it isn’t. I won’t go into details here (you’ll find them eventually anyway), but I’m a bit disappointed. Actually, I’m beyond disappointed.
See, the thing is I open-sourced things because I figured it’d be a “nice” thing to do, because most people that develop tools for World of Tanks are at least in possession of enough common courtesy to make it work. The few times where someone has done a fair bit of 1:1 copying of concepts and text where no credit was given usually turned out to be an honest oversight, and was quickly (and amicably) resolved.
So what has open-sourcing the wotreplays.org codebase gotten me so far? Let’s add it up:
- 1 contributor on the wotreplays.org repository – who has contributed the german translation, and a bunch of visual fixes for which I’m grateful
- No other contributions outside of that
- Multiple sites re-using text, layout, and concepts that have linked back to wotreplays.org
- A couple sites doing the above that didn’t give any sort of credit and apparently aren’t willing to do so
- A minor amount of grief on account of having to explain to people that no, you can’t just install this on your server and have it run. It’s very, very requirement heavy, and isn’t meant for end-users.
Overall the negatives outweigh the positives, at the moment. And that’s made me reconsider the open source nature of the codebase. I’ll be having myself a little think on that over the next hour or so, but there’s a good chance the codebase will be going back to being closed source.