The limitations of open source

time to read 2 min | 397 words

Well, it was too early to brag about open software. I always supported the idea that having the code is nice, but making any useful changes to it is hard.
The reason is simple about the amount of time you can invest in the project. If we take dasBlog as an example, it support FreeTextBox, which is a rich text box editor that output HTML.
All is good, as long as you remain in Internet Explorer. I’ve recently moved to Firefox, just to try the platform, and naturally I thought to use it to post to my blog.
The problem is that while I can post, I can only do it from a normal textbox.

This is acceptable behaviour, since the version of FreeTextBox can’t display on Mozilla’s browsers, it downgrade nicely to a simple textbox.
[Oh, for the days when IE had a natural htmlbox. Netscape/Mozilla would’ve’d to follow, and we had this without the contortions that we use now.]
Now, this is a good and acceptable behaviour on the side of dasBlog, but it’s not acceptable to me.
There is a new version of FreeTextBox that does both IE & Mozilla (including Netscape & FireFox) so I figured what the heck, I can easily add the new textbox and be done with in a few minutes.
Unfortantely, FreeTextBox 2.0 is not code compatible with the version that dasBlog uses. This mean that I’ve to do much more than merely drop the new version.
This means that I’ve to change the code, and this means that I’ve to grok it. Now, dasBlog isn’t that big, but it still have over 45 Kloc thousnads lines of C# code as well as another 25 + thousands lines of html/aspx code.

That is quite a bit of code to grok. In essense, unless I’m willing to dedicate two to three days some time to completely understand what dasBlog does, I won’t be able to touch the code at all.
I sent an email to newtelligence, the company that maitain the code, about it. I think it should be about an hour change for some one who knows the code vs four days for me.

It doesn’t help that dasBlog doesn’t has any documentation regarding its makeup, I’ve to delve into the code to see what it does, and I’m not feeling really up to it right now.