I hadn't intended to post here ever again, but I do feel obliged to comment on some of the replies.
i blame myself for not spotting early on when markham just started submitting improved versions of CD that to comply with eric's CircleDock GPL license, the source code for the new versions should have been posted all along the way.
First of all, I want to clear-up some misunderstandings here:
- Eric Wong issued his last update, version 0.9.2 Alpha 8.2, at the end of September 2008. The last time he posted here, his SourceForge Project page and the Circle Dock wikidot site was around the 2nd week of October 2008 since when he has not returned to either place.
- Over the course of the next year, the Sarge has made continuous attempts to contact him to no avail.
- From investigations that the Sarge and I have conducted, we have learned that Eric Wong was attending a Canadian University and was suddenly recalled back to China at that time. It would appear that he was denied an Exit Permit to leave China and resume his studies in Canada; also, his internet access appears to be severely restricted: he has only accessed his YouTube page and that was within the last 6 months.
- You should have been aware, because it was posted here, that, towards the end of last year, we had discovered that certain unscrupulous individuals had taken the source code published by Eric Wong as GPL and had simply recompiled it and were selling it as if it were their own creations. In view of this, the Sarge and I took the hard decision to restrict the availability of the source code.
- Only one person has formally requested up to date source code, namely "DrWicked", and it was provided to him towards the end of January - and that was the source code to 1.0 which we released earlier that month.
- In removing the files from his server, Mouser has inconvenienced not only new users but also all the current ones who've downloaded and installed since version 1,0 was released. A good number of the files removed were the "live help" system which is directly accessed by Circle Dock's help program. Comments like "it's not such a horrible thing if the downloads are down for a week" are both untrue and weasel-words, in my opinion.
My second point is that the Sarge and I have taken every precaution to preserve Eric Wong's Intellectual Property Rights. Since taking over the project, I have had to rewrite very large parts of his original code, firstly to eliminate the huge number of bugs and inconsistencies and secondly in order to be able to add new features in a structured and orderly manner. Version 1.0 contained less than 50% of Eric Wong's original code and this has since dropped to less than 10%.
Mouser goes on to say
by the time the issue came to a head, i think markham had done so much coding and invested so much time and made so many plans that it was just out of control.
What he omits to tell you is that it is he
who forced the Sarge and myself to plan for Circle Dock's future. Whilst I was in the UK during the month of June, Mouser PMed me and told me to make alternative arrangements for the future hosting of the Circle Dock downloads which at the time, were being hosted on the Members' server. He had previously offered me the space to do precisely that and, with the benefit of hindsight, I foolishly accepted not knowing that he would serve an eviction notice when Circle Dock became popular. Which it did.
It is Mouser who forced us to consider "commercialising" the program to the extent that our costs would be covered. Both the Sarge and I are retired and live largely on fixed incomes. Neither of us can afford the hosting costs and certainly not for the huge bandwidth Circle Dock has been taking - measured in Terabytes per month. Coincidentally, we were both working on integrating Circle Dock with the Dexpot "Virtual Desktop Manager" at the time and we looked at their licencing arrangements. That allows individual users to use Dexpot on their own PCs providing such PCs are not used for revenue generation but charges for commercial use of the program. The Sarge and I both agreed that this was a good model since it would generate sufficient income to pay for our development and hosting costs whilst at the same time continuing to supply the product free of charge to individual users.
I posted a message to warn everyone that the licencing model would be changing with the release of Version 2 and gave an outline of the new provisions. One user, whose native language is not English, misinterpreted the post and wrote in those terms - this sparked a rash of posts, mostly from non-users but which were, in the main, supportive of the changes, once the background and rationale had been explained. However, it seems that Mouser read the thread and took it upon himself to immediately cease Circle Dock's availability and in so doing, caused the removal of every other file I had stored on the DCMember's server.
Some believe that my decision to remove myself was made in haste:
One lesson I've (hopefully) learned: when in an upset state, don't make big decisions, and don't post stuff publicly. Take a few big steps bag and breathe deeply.
It wasn't. I thought long and hard all Wednesday before coming to what I believe is the only decision I could take, given the circumstances.
Whilst I do agree with "lotusrootstarch"'s first two paragraphs, I take issue with him regarding the Sarge's involvement and spokesmanship. The Sarge is a member of "Team Circle Dock" and as well as being the designer of numerous graphic images is the marketing and public voice of the team.
As for the future, Team Circle Dock will take the program forward, as a fully non-GPL semi-commercial product, and likely to be under Microsoft's BizNet umbrella. This Forum will continue to support Eric's GPL'd version and I have already modified the download links to point to the SourceForge project where his last released version resides. The Sarge is already hard at work rolling-back the Circle Dock wikidot page to as it was when Eric Wong had sole ownership. All threads and discussions relating to versions issued by me are likely to be removed since they will not apply to the issued version and would be confusing for any user of the program.
To anyone who is considering continuing Eric Wong's legacy as a GPL'd program, I wish you the best of luck. There are many issues you'll need to resolve to get the program in a stable state to run under Windows Vista and Windows 7 - not least of these will be the mouse handler which caused me many sleepless nights. Most important, you will have to consider if it is truly worth the effort since there are no tangible rewards; the code is almost devoid of comments and very buggy. The code you'd be working with is, after all, an "alpha" release and not really intended for distribution in its current state. If you accept the challenge, good luck to you.