Free as in… what now?

The basic idea of ‘Free software’ is great.
Almost all the software that I use on a day-to-day basis is free in some shape or form. I’ve previously blogged about the tools I use here and here
I use an open source operating system that means I’m not only in control of my computer but also part of a larger community. Compared to Windows where I pay for a license to use the software, but I don’t own it, GNU/Linux can be stripped down and put back together in a distro that fits me personally.

My favourite distibution is CrunchBang but sadly in February this year the developer decided to call it a day. Being open source, the community decided to pick up where CrunchBang left off and there are already projects like BunsenLabs and CrunchBang++ that are in development.

The array of free software licenses available though are a little bewildering. GPL, Apache License, BSD and the Creative Commons License to name just the most common ones…

Since I’ve been playing around with coding again, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve put together. Partly to see if anyone else finds them useful (whether to use them or just to browse the source code and see someone elses programming style) and partly to get feedback.
I’m not exactly creating the next killer app here, just putting together a few projects that entertain me. The software licenses available seem overkill for a calculator or text editor… in fact, if the software license is longer than the actual source code then it seems a little ridiculous.

Case in point, here’s a text editor that I put together

text editor

I gave it the imaginative name of filthyEditor. It doesn’t do too much, it allows you to open, edit and save plain text files. Big whoop! But I decided to work on it to better understand the components that are available in Lazarus
I figure that if I can nail their functionality in this project, then I can reuse the code in my next.

text editor with different colour scheme

I added Search and Replace, automatic word count and various ‘retro computer’ colour schemes like GameBoy green and Commodore 64 blue. I compiled it for Windows and for Linux and noted that the TMemo component doesn’t work as well in Linux. Undo and Replace are a little… glitchy.
Also, I haven’t figured out the Print dialog yet. But hey, it’s just a hobby piece of software for me to learn from. I can put the source code online and see if anyone else wants to play with it.

But what license to use?

I decided to put it into the Public Domain, no copyright, no hoops to jump through. The basic idea is that I give up all claims to this tiny program.
So if anyone wants to, they can download the source code from stick their own name on it and claim it as their own.
There are some pre-compiled binaries here, that you can use too.

Whether people want to suggest changes and improvements or just look at the program is up to them. I’ve learnt more from people sharing their ideas than I ever did from a manual.