Dear Silverlight, where’s my view source?

Chris Messina is quoted as saying the following:

There’s been a long history of innovation on the web founded in open access to the underlying source code that first websites, then later interactive web applications, were built on. The facility of having ready access to the inner workings of any web page has been tantamount to continued inspiration, imitation, and most importantly, the ongoing education of subsequent generations of designer-developer hybrids.

He later goes on to start slamming plug-ins like Apollo and Silverlight on how they don’t offer up “view source” capabilities to support his first paragraph.

Allow me to retort if i may.

Firstly, HTML/JavaScript is all one is able to yield in the view source, and there’s not a lot of innovation to yield as a result of doing this action. If you wanted to view how a blog engine may work, view source won’t provide this, in turn you’ll have to gain access to the server’s capabilities of producing such code – assuming you’re allowed.

Secondly, stop copying my code, it pisses me off. I used to read comments like this in various AJAX applications in the past, I used to laugh at it because i thought it was somewhat witty that a developer would take the time to put that in there. I also note how sometimes in CSS files etc I see all to often © Copyright in the headers etc.

Whilst Chris may opt for the open web being the righteous path to open sourcing the worlds computers, the fact is people are protective of their work and all to often CHOOSE to not share their (IP) intellectual property. If they however want to share such IP then by all means do so via various open source depositories found around the web.

Having the right to view source doesn’t mean you’ve got clearance to steal or reproduce another persons work. It’s that persons right to determine if their work is to be copied, as after all they created it?

If you note, on Chris’s blog he’s opted to use the Creative Commons Non-Commercial license. At first glance that seems fair and open, but if you read the license closely you’ll note that you can’t re-use his work for commercial purposes.  Sounds fair right, if it’s for free or non-profit work, go ahead. If you make a buck or two, sorry answer is no.

Whilst I agree with the license in question, I disagree with Chris as I'm seeing a double standard as on one hand he’s argued that no restraints should be placed on the web, he’s in turn put one in place for commercial entities.

Thirdly,  I object at times to open source principals as there are many ways you can look at it’s setup. Some prefer to believe that if we share code we can all innovate as a community, the reality is that personas usually get in the way of innovation and a democratized source code management rarely ever works out.

If people also prefer to see open source actually go beyond it’s current existence, start taking your name away from the code. As whilst it appears free, there is still revenue being generated from the freeness of it all. Fame is still a commodity that’s got value, and spokes people for open source rarely ever fly around the world for free or out of their own back pockets. There’s usually a sponsor involved.

The difference with commercially owned solutions is that there’s no hidden agenda, other than making profit off the sweat and tears involved in creating the said software.

One can argue that this breaks free thinking in terms of open source, i on the other hand simply extend a welcoming hand to the world in which free trade exists.

View Source is about as useful as Bookmarks. You mileage may vary.

Just for the record, you can open up a .xap file as if it were a .zip file and the source is available to you. If there is code tied to assemblies (DLL) and you want access to that, try asking the author. You maybe surprised at the answer.