A case for free/open source software

Recently I started to experiment with Sidekick development. All nice and fine, Danger Developer Zone provides reasonable documentation, nice SDK with a complete, cross-platform ant-based build system along with a decent emulator and a number of examples. That was the good part.

Now comes the bad part. To upload your software to real hardware you have to obtain a developer key from Danger. This is bad but the ridiculous part is that you have to send them your application to prove that you’re in fact developing an application for Sidekick. I can understand that they think it’s preventing piracy but requiring that they also hurt developer community. Because of their restrictions there’s mostly commercial software developed for Sidekicks and I’m sure many companies don’t like sharing information about their pending projects with anyone, Danger included (that’s actually the case here) so they are forced to use tricks to get the developer keys without revealing their important projects.

What about software licensing mentioned in the title? It’s the ugly part…

All software (ok, maybe except nuclear plant control applications 😉 ) has bugs. Systems that software runs on can have wildly different configurations. What happens if some critical part of the toolchain doesn’t work? If it’s closed-source software — you’re screwed. Or at a mercy of a software vendor which basically means same thing. There’s a tool in Sidekick SDK called htconsole which is used to interact with development-enabled devices. It happens htconsole just doesn’t connect to Sidekicks on my system. I did all I could think of to make it work with no result. Of course I found a workaround — use different machine to talk to the devices but that’s obviously not an optimal solution. Should htconsole be free software I could examine its source code and fix the issue or at the very least identify the problem. All I can say right now is ‘it doesn’t work’. It’s that simple.

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