video games

ScummVM Project Hits 2.0

Full ThrottleThere is a large volunteer workforce on the internet that keeps their favorite games alive. You might know that I’ve been working on the ioquake3 engine for the past 12 years to keep people playing Quake 3 and help the other games and mods that use that engine stay alive. ScummVM has been in development since 2001, It is the definitive way to play the original releases of old LucasArts adventure games like Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle as well as so many others.

Yesterday the ScummVM project hit version 2.0. It’s a big milestone that added support for 23 “brand new old games,” as their update calls them, as well as improving support for their roster of existing games.

One of the “brand new old games” is Starship Titanic, an adventure game that was designed and written by Douglas Adams.

You can download the 2.0.0 version of ScummVM for free directly from the developers for Windows, macOS, Linux, and so many more platforms. To play many of the games you’ll need to own them


Unpaid Labor and Hiring Decisions Based on Free Software Contributions

Ashe Dryden with an older article on the subject of who can give their development time to free or open source software, and who benefits from it:

I don’t know that we can easily measure how much labor actually goes into creating the software that we use every day. Software that we not only benefit from by saving us time, but also makes us quite a lot of money. We work at startups, consultancies, and large enterprises that pay our salaries thanks to the financial benefit of OSS and the mostly unpaid labor of those contributing to it.


People who are contributing their unpaid and underpaid labor are investing their time into companies that are profiting greatly and giving little back in terms of financial support.

We’ve somehow been culturally talked into accepting this arrangement, not realizing how businesses are using it to further extract value from us. Businesses are choosing candidates based on their open source contributions, knowing that they are getting more value for less money out of them. These are candidates that will continue to work on things in their free time because it’s something they care about and are passionate about. This is akin to not paying someone for overtime.

Open source originally broke us free from the shackles of proprietary software which forced us to “pay to play” and gave us little in the way of choices for customization. Without realizing it, we’ve ended up in a similar scenario where we are now paying for the development of software that large companies financially benefit from with little cost to them.

We are being judged on how much we contribute to the bottom lines of companies we don’t work for and what’s worse, we are policing this amongst each other as well.

I’ve spent the past 17 years helping free and open source projects flourish as best I can, it’s not a profitable experience and it’ll tax whatever passion you have for the project you’re working on. While some things are worth doing for reasons other than money, and it has helped me in getting some work, I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone at this point, and demanding it of people who are applying for work is ridiculous.

There is one problem I have with the article, I see this paragraph and instantly know what some unprincipled managers would want to do:

As part of the interview, have one of your developers who is familiar with the project and is a good teacher pair with the candidate on an actual issue. See how they reason through problems, become familiar with new codebases, and what questions they ask.

“My team is having a problem, lets ‘interview’ some developers and get them to solve the problem for us.”

I have always hated when interviewers demand “homework” or in-person work that solves their actual problems today. That’s why a company hires someone, to solve business problems.

One way to work around this would be to have a set of free software projects, that don’t benefit the company, for the interviewing developer to work on. Pick a few current issues for those projects, let the developer decide which one to work on. Work on those together.

video games

We’re All Doomed: Part LXVIII

SourceForge has taken it upon themselves to resurrect “abandoned” projects. Of course, the projects aren’t actually abandoned and have just moved elsewhere so what SourceForge is actually doing is taking free software installers, loading them up with ads, and then shitting them out on SourceForge download servers.

You can see the full list of projects that SourceForge has gracefully swooped in to destroy here.