Code by Kevin

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Kevin Walzer, software developer.



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Sun, 24 Feb 2008

Open-source and giving back

A couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from a member of the Oxygen icons team, my primary source for application and toolbar icons, asking me to clarify the terms of use of the icons. Because I'm using the icons freely under an open-source license (see the credits page on my website for details), I gladly complied.

Open-source code is a terrific resource for commercial developers, because it can save a lot of time and cost--I don't have to develop these items myself. Of course, it's incumbent on me to use the software in a manner that's consistent with their license. Some open-source code can only be used in other open-source projects, while others can be used in commercial products as well. The components I use come with commercial-friendly licensing terms.

I think it's important to do more than simply comply with the terms of an open-source license, however. I try to contribute to open-source projects as well. I've contributed documentation, bug reports, code patches, and code samples to the Tcl/Tk and Python software communities. In addition, I maintain an entire suite of software extensions and packages here. Whenever I develop a code package that improves my software and that I think can benefit others as well, I release it under an open-source license. (See http://tk-components.sourceforge.net/mactoolbar/index.html for one component that worked its way into my products over the past few months.)

In fact, that's what I've been working on the for the past few weeks--some open-source components that will eventually become part of new commercial products and my existing products as well. These components are geared toward improving the user interface of my programs, and will allow me to develop more polished products. It's my hope that other developers will be able to make use of my projects, much as I've been able to make use of the open-source work of others as well. That's what giving back is all about.

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