Joshie (psychjob) wrote in lj_clients,

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an open letter to lj client programmers

the home page from this site says that the server and all the clients are open source. this is one of the reasons i signed up with lj. at the time, i didnt know anything about programming anything more fancy than html, but i was trying to learn, and i figured that once i had, it would be nice to know how the journal i used worked, and to know that if there was something goofy about the client i could change it, even if only for the copy on my own computer.

that was two years ago. i can now program fluently in 3 languages, and in 3 others with a reference book handy (dont you hate how languages that are so similar can be so differant?) i thought of a quick change that i would like to make to the client for my platform, (perhaps another few to add later on) but when i went to the page to download the source, i found that only five clients (across ALL platforms) had source available. i could prolly write the entire thing from scratch if i wanted to, but whats the point in doing what someone else has done a damn fine job of already, just so i can add a couple of features mostly for me? (of course, i would make them available to anyone who wanted them, or possibly, if the author requested, the source for the changes available to the author instead)

basicly, what i am trying to say--this project is open source. that is a great (and outside of unix very rare) thing. that is part of what makes lj so great, that everyone who wants to contribute can. even if you dont know how to make a socket connection you can fix, say, a slight interface oddity, a non-intuitivly placed button, a feature missing that you would like to see implemented. open source is a model for how software should be. by not allowing access to the source you are flying in the face of everything lj stands for. so i urge client authors to make the source for your clients available. (preferably under the gnu) that way, the people who use lj just to write their thoughts down, share poetry, keep in touch with friends, etc can choose the client that best suits their needs, and the users who know enough to make changes to the clients, but not quite enough to create from scratch what has already been well done (or just dont see a reason to reinvent the wheel), can become a part of this project, allowing it to live up to all the potential that it has.

thank you for your time.

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