Parchment

HOLY CRAP SOMEONE HAS FORKED GNUSTO
IS THIS NOT SO COOL
THIS IS SO COOL
THANK YOU WORLD
the end.

Update and explanation, now I have calmed down a bit: In 2002 I wrote a program called Gnusto. It took game programs written in the eighties and translated them into JavaScript. This meant that a browser could run them. But then I discovered that the difficult part was the user interface, in other words actually doing the windows and text and so on on the screen, rather than making the game work. In those days it was a weird black magic to make web applications work on IE and Mozilla, so I specialised it into a plugin for Mozilla (i.e. Seamonkey), and then Firefox. At about this time Eric Liga came along to join the team, and that is how we all originally got to know one another.

But then Firefox 2 was so different from Firefox 1 that the user interface needed to be practically rewritten, and I didn’t really want to take on the work, and although Eric tried some things out I don’t think it ever ran as well as it once had. And then Firefox 3 came along and things were all over the place. So Gnusto doesn’t run much any more, which is a shame for something which had at least a year of development time put into it.

Anyway, we talk a lot about Free Software. Some people suppose it means software you don’t have to pay for. It doesn’t mean that: it means software which grants you certain freedoms. One of those is the right to change the way it works and make that into a whole new program, which is called “forking”; this right is often called “the right to fork”. Last week someone announced he had forked Gnusto into a new system called Parchment, which will let you play any of these hundreds of games on the web with almost any modern browser. People took what Eric and I had done and mashed it up and made something beautiful with it. That is the power of freedom. That is why I’m happy.

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Thomas Thurman

Mostly themes, triaging, and patch review.

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