Author Topic: Why isn't this project open source?  (Read 11957 times)

ClementNerma

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Hi there!

First of all, thanks for this amazing project! I've been using this music player non-stop for months now, coming from many others I've tried in the past (Windows Media Player, foobar2000, Dopamine, AIMP, ...) and I love it. The way you can customize pretty much everything is really nice and the player stays fast even with my >10k FLAC tracks library, which is really cool!

Now, as good as MusicBee is, there is still room for improvement. For instance, improving lyrics fetching, revamping the themes engine to allow for more "modern" themes maybe, or adding web capabilities such as streaming for distant services. Many features are listed in the forum as there are plenty of ideas of things to implement in this player.

As a developer, I wanted to dig a bit into the code to check if I could improve the lyrics engine (which often doesn't find the lyrics of the songs I have in my library), but I discovered MusicBee is unfortunately closed-source.

So I wonder why it isn't open source? I've found two links in the FAQ but they point to dead topics ("The topic or board you are looking for appears to be either missing or off limits to you.") so I can't see what was told about it.

I guess you have your reasons, and I'm curious to hear them. Making MusicBee open-source would allow many people to contribute by themselves.

It would be a great thing IMO, as it would add room for improvements for many users that want to offer their help on this project. Using a platform like Github or Gitlab with branches managed by the project's maintainer which would decide what can be merged with the main branch or not would avoid anyone doing anything they want and ensure the project stays on rails with what the project's maintainers wants it to be.

There are also PRs (or MRs depending on the platform) to allow external user to suggest changes in the code, and the maintainer can accept or reject them - I'm sure you're familiar with this.

So, I'd like to know why MusicBee isn't (yet) open-source and if you're planning to make it open source in the future?

Thanks in advance for your answer, and thanks again for your AMAZING work on this project! 🙏

hiccup

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Welcome to the forum ClementNerma.

Would you ask a musician why his work isn't open-source so that other people can work on his compositions and so improve his music?
Or the writer of a book, or an architect who is building a house?

If you would be talking about software that is lacking in quality and features, and/or it's development and progress was stagnating I might understand your question.

But considering the quality, the relentless development and support, and the willingness to consider, evaluate and implement pretty much every single sensible request or proposal from users, I find it a bit inappropriate and maybe even disrespectful to the developer to suggest that MusicBee should better be open-source.


If you have coding talents and are not satisfied with the current lyrics features, take a look here:
https://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=25406.0
Perhaps you can contribute to MusicBee by helping to further improve that plugin?



ClementNerma

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Hi, thanks for your answer!

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But considering the quality, the relentless development and support, and the willingness to consider, evaluate and implement pretty much every single sensible request or proposal from users, I find it a bit inappropriate and maybe even disrespectful to the developer to suggest that MusicBee should better be open-source.

I don't agree with that. I didn't say MusicBee isn't well-developed or that the development is slow in any way. What I said is that open-sourcing the project would allow other people to contribute and implement many features the current maintainer may not have the time to. Look at big open-source projects, they usually benefit from the participation of external persons as it allows to fasten up the development.

Of course open-sourcing MusicBee isn't required ; there isn't security concerns in a music player, and the software is almost bug-free (which is quite incredible given its complexity and the fact it's only maintained by a single develop, by the way).

As for the examples you give:

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Would you ask a musician why his work isn't open-source so that other people can work on his compositions and so improve his music?

Composing a music is very difficult to do if you're not alone, as it's not something as "mathematical" (I don't have a better word here) as software development.

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Or the writer of a book, or an architect who is building a house?

A book writer or an architect sell what they produce, which isn't the case of MusicBee and as I understood there is no plan to making this paid in the future. If it is, please correct me and of course it would completely make sense in that case that the source code isn't public.

On the other hand, open-sourcing this project would also simplify development of third-party tools, be it completely external programs or plugins.

Also, don't forget it's possible to use a license that doesn't allow other persons to re-use the project's code without the author's permission, or even to distribute it without permission.

I absolutely don't think it's a problem for MusicBee to not be open-source, I simply don't understand the reasons why it isn't currently. I'm sure the current maintainer has reasons, which is why I'm asking what they are as I think I'm not the only person wondering why this software is closed-source ;)

Quote
If you have coding talents and are not satisfied with the current lyrics features, take a look here:
https://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=25406.0
Perhaps you can contribute to MusicBee by helping to further improve that plugin?

I'm already digging into this plugin's code, I was just giving an example ;)

But I think it would also be great to have this kind of feature implemented directly in MusicBee. It would take a bit of time to implement this inside the current software, which is where open-sourcing it would be a perfect example of usefulness: other devs could make the changes to the current project and the maintainer could review them and accept or reject them based on if they think the changes are relevant or not :)
Last Edit: November 06, 2020, 10:04:08 PM by ClementNerma

hiccup

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It's about a developer's vision, creation and focus.
Don't you think a developer of his track-record is perfectly capable to decide on his software being closed or open, and that he will have his reasons for that?

He doesn't need to explain it.

If he thought open-sourcing it was a good idea, it would be open-source.

hiccup

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P.S.

Please don't take my replies personal, you are sincerely welcome here.

It's just that this 'open-source' question roars it's ugly head around here every once in awhile, and it is probably good to be clear about it and nip it to the bud to avoid lengthy and useless discussions.

ClementNerma

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Well, some people make the choice to publish their projects as closed-source to avoid someone else stealing their source, or because they're not familiar with team development or with the collaborative tools used for multi-persons development processes. Which are all legit reasons of course. I've been in that case in the past and made the (personal) choice of publishing my projects as open source later because of these.

But telling that a developer doesn't need a reason to not open-source their project although it could benefit the community by letting users implement what they want - and also some people tricking in the source code to changing a few things they want to to make the player even more customized to their tastes isn't a valid argument.

Again, I'm just saying that the arguments shown so far are not valid, not that open-sourcing this project is a requirement and that closing its source is wrong. And everyone using MusicBee currently will continue to use it even if it stays closed-source in all cases, but I simply think that open-sourcing it could benefit the user base of this project ;)

EDIT :

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P.S.

Please don't take my replies personal, you are sincerely welcome here.

It's just that this 'open-source' question roars it's ugly head around here every once in awhile, and it is probably good to be clear about it and nip it to the bud to avoid lengthy and useless discussions.

Don't worry, I'm starting to understand this question seems to bother you, which is why I even more think it'd be interesting to get the point of view of the current maintainer on this topic : )

As there is currently no any other topic I'm aware of on this subject, if we can answer this question here that would close the question once and for all ;)
Last Edit: November 06, 2020, 10:24:06 PM by ClementNerma

hiccup

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But telling that a developer doesn't need a reason to not open-source their project although it could benefit the community by letting users implement what they want - and also some people tricking in the source code to changing a few things they want to to make the player even more customized to their tastes isn't a valid argument.

I didn't say he doesn't need a reason.
I said he doesn't need to discuss his reasons or defend them.

Are you assuming he doesn't understand the pro's and con's of open source?
Again, please give him the credit and the respect.
He knows why, and he doesn't need to explain it here, or to you.

The MusicBee community has been very satisfied until now. (for some 10 years or more...)
Perhaps you are thinking of another community that should look for other software?

ClementNerma

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Quote from: hiccup
I didn't say he doesn't need a reason.
I said he doesn't need to discuss his reasons or defend them.

Are you assuming he doesn't understand the pro's and con's of open source?
Again, please give him the credit and the respect.

I don't know what the current maintainer thinks, and as I already said I'm sure they have their reason, and that I'm just curious to know them

Quote from: hiccup
He knows why, and he doesn't need to explain it here, or to you.

Well that's another subject. If he simply doesn't want to explain his reasons, that's fine for me. But I didn't see any mention of that in the topics I've looked up in the forum or in the FAQ, so I didn't know that.

Quote from: hiccup
The MusicBee community has been very satisfied until now. (for some 10 years or more...)

Of course, as I also said everyone here will continue to use this software even if it stays closed-source, as it's a great music player ;)

Quote from: hiccup
Perhaps you are thinking of another community that should look for other software?

I don't understand what you mean here?

So to sum this up a bit, I think it would be great if the current maintainer answered here, to tell his reasons about letting this project stay closed-source, or not telling them if he doesn't want to, to settle this question once and for all.

And once this is definitely answered we can close this topic, so there won't be any additional debate and other people looking for "why this project isn't open source" will find the definitive answer of the maintainer here :)

hiccup

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As there is currently no any other topic I'm aware of on this subject, if we can answer this question here that would close the question once and for all ;)

It has come up a few times before, but to be honest I can't find the posts on it either at the moment.

Something is explained here about it:
https://getmusicbee.com/help/faq/

(but the referenced links seem broken)

ClementNerma

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As there is currently no any other topic I'm aware of on this subject, if we can answer this question here that would close the question once and for all ;)

It has come up a few times before, but to be honest I can't find the posts on it either at the moment.

Something is explained here about it:
https://getmusicbee.com/help/faq/

(but the referenced links seem broken)

Yup, that's why I created this topic in the first place, as I didn't find any reason about the closed-source state of the project on the web. And I don't know how old these conversations were as well, which is why an update (and a definitive answer to close this topic definitely) would be a good thing IMHO ;)

hiccup

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So to sum this up a bit, I think it would be great if the current maintainer answered here, to tell his reasons about letting this project stay closed-source, or not telling them if he doesn't want to, to settle this question once and for all.

And once this is definitely answered we can close this topic, so there won't be any additional debate and other people looking for "why this project isn't open source" will find the definitive answer of the maintainer here :)

So you keep demanding an explanation from the creator/developer. (he is not the 'maintainer' as you call it)

Another forum member is probably resisting the urge to call you Karen right now.

ClementNerma

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So to sum this up a bit, I think it would be great if the current maintainer answered here, to tell his reasons about letting this project stay closed-source, or not telling them if he doesn't want to, to settle this question once and for all.

And once this is definitely answered we can close this topic, so there won't be any additional debate and other people looking for "why this project isn't open source" will find the definitive answer of the maintainer here :)

So you keep demanding an explanation from the creator/developer. (he is not the 'maintainer' as you call it)

Another forum member is probably resisting the urge to call you Karen right now.

Well I think it would be a good thing to settle this question definitely. I'm not asking for the reasons themselves, just for the creator of the project to indicate his reasons if he wants to

I realize now that I'm being a bit pushy on this question, if so I'm sorry for this, but I'm genuily curious about the reasons of not making this project open-source.

But as I read your posts I get the impression you really know his reasons (I don't know if you've already talked with him about this in private or if the "long debate" written in the FAQ had these arguments written in).

So if you're firmly sure and certain he doesn't want to make this project open source nor wants to give his reasons, then you can close this topic as the question will have been answered, I'll have nothing else to add to this topic ;)

phred

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So to sum this up a bit, I think it would be great if the current maintainer answered here, to tell his reasons about letting this project stay closed-source, or not telling them if he doesn't want to, to settle this question once and for all.
I don't speak for Steven, who is the sole developer (not "maintainer") of MB. While it may be great for you to hear his reasons, he is under no obligation to respond to your "wish." He owes you nothing in way of an explanation. He owns the code and can do with it as he wishes. If he wants to keep it closed (and obviously he does) that's up to him without having to explain it to anyone.

Steven does this as a hobby. In his spare time. He's done a masterful job and has kept ten of thousands of users happy with his work.

It would be better for all of us if you stopped repeating that you'd like to hear his explanation. If he wants to he will. And he won't if he doesn't want to. And to that end, I am locking this thread before it goes off the rails. If Steven wants to reply, he'll unlock it.
Download the latest MusicBee v3.5 patch from here.
Unzip into your MusicBee directory and overwrite existing files.

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psychoadept

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I'm adding on only to provide wayback links to previous discussions, since they seem to have been lost (I hadn't been aware of the forum removing posts, so not sure what happened):

http://web.archive.org/web/20170606205740/https://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=2080.0

http://web.archive.org/web/20170607000804/https://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=2616.0
MusicBee Wiki
Use & improve MusicBee's documentation!

Latest beta patch (3.5)
(Unzip and overwrite existing program files)

Steven

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I'm adding on only to provide wayback links to previous discussions, since they seem to have been lost (I hadn't been aware of the forum removing posts, so not sure what happened):
When we were having a lot of performance problems on the web site a couple of years ago i purged old bug reports and questions, so i guess those topics must have (not intentionally) been deleted in that purge