Open Source Software Process … for Movies?

Over the past few days I have posted a series of updates on a piece of support software that is really not a critical aspect of the main focus of this website, namely the CubePoints system. While it enables some extra social features including ranks, awards, and gifts, it is only there to foster fun and not meant to be a serious system like the eCommerce and subscription systems will be.

So what does this have to do with making movies?

The key to surviving the online collaboration process is to ensure that the work can be performed by anyone with the skills and tools, which means that the source needs to be “open” or available to be modified. You need to allow people with the time and interest the ability to jump in and do some work, no matter if it is a single task or a major part of the project that takes months. You need to allow competing branches to “fork” off, experiment, and grow, then pull the best features back in to the trunk.

So what does this have to do with Open Source Software?

This process works for software like CubePoints because it allows someone like me who wants certain functionality to go ahead and hack it in. No one had to assign this particular task to me, and now my work can be used by end users easily, and built upon by others. While I have quite a bit of coding and scripting experience, I know very little about PHP coding, so I am sure that my work can be optimized and improved upon further for the benefit of the community and the project. If the maintainers of the CubePoints main codebase desire, this can all be folded back into the main project as official features. No matter what happens with my involvement in the project, even if I “sink back into obscurity” and never interact with CubePoints again my contribution still stands and helps the project move forward in some small way. This same methodology is what makes Wikis work, and why we felt wiki functionality with version control and discussion is a core feature required for the website.

So what does this really have to do with making movies?

As much as possible we need to allow the process to move forward irrespective of the number of people we have performing tasks, where they are located and how much time they are willing to contribute. Anything that fits being done online must be done online, preferably in an asynchronous method. Writing, storyboards, editing, and more can all work in this type of process. There will of course be restrictions when it comes to the aspects that must be done at a scheduled place and time, such as shooting scenes; but live streaming and chat can enable remote participants to become part of the shoot. After the shoot is over different versions of scenes can be edited and scored by different people, multiple versions of Special Effects applied, and more; all using the same distributed collaboration via the website!

So is this going to be total anarchy?

While having a completely open “codebase” can be considered anarchistic, a project that has leadership overseeing development of a main trunk, branch or fork of the codebase usually brings with it a set of controls and oversight on what is considered “official”. This allows the end users and developers to use and refer to a particular version, allowing them to stick with known, safe choices or venture into the more untested areas, or even add further hacks! Many of the largest projects on the Internet, such as Linux, are guided by a “benevolent dictator” or a core team that determines the focus and goals of the overall effort. We want to allow people to express their creative side no matter what aspect of the project they are working on, and allow experimentation and side branches to exist while still allowing the creative oversight of the main creator(s) to guide their visions to fruition.

So anyone can mess with my ideas and work?

Within the framework of the website we want to make sure that collaboration, multiple versions and ideas are easily explored and supported. We also want to make sure authors are the final arbiter of what appears on their own wiki pages, with participation from others on each wiki page’s individual discussion. And if an author so chooses, we want to allow child pages to be created that further explore branching ideas, modifying or replacing sections of the “canon” parent page. This does not necessarily mean that you give up your rights to the work, or even that you need to use the additional creative commons licensing options. We are still investigating the legal options available, and we want to make sure everyone can collaborate without worry of the end product being restricted by a single copyright holder. It is an unfortunate fact that copyright issues between multiple collaborators has delayed or derailed many projects, and we will take what steps we can to ensure the project can continue no matter what the individual participants contribute. This is what we are trying to avoid, the situation that Heavy Metal found itself in:

Legal problems with the copyrights for some of the music used in the film prevented a commercial home video release for 15 years, although the film was in rotation on some cable channels, including Cinemax, HBO, and TBS, which allowed fans to record it and circulate bootleg copies. Heavy Metal may be the canonical example of a popular film or album that was unavailable to consumers for a long time for obscure reasons, despite popular acclaim or success.

The project will remain under our control and guidance so that no one’s work will be wasted. No outside sites will be influencing our materials either directly or indirectly, and any distribution partnerships will be tightly controlled even when using “open” methods like Torrent technologies and wiki collaboration.

So will it work? Why not get involved and find out!

About HEX

Speak Your Mind

*

Visitor Statistics - - www.HEX.xxx
Best CDN