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Zero-day open source contributions

Add Comment! By Jeffrey Rosen on May 12th, 2010
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         LUGARU.HD.INDIE.0DAY.CONTRIBUTIONS
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            M  MM+                      
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       M    MMMMMMMMM          MM       
      M     MMMMMMMMMM          MM      
     M     MMMMMMMMMMMM         MMM       WOLFIRE
     M     MMMMMMM  M  M         MM           GAMES
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    M      MMMM M    M MM        MMM        presents    
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    MM      MMM   MM M  MMMM    MMMM       LUGARU HD 
    MMM    MM  M  MMMM    MMM  MMMMM     ZERO DAY
     MMM  MM   MMMM MMM MMMM M$MMMM          CONTRIBUTIONS
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greetz out to                               david
               bash       losinggeneration      `teh1
                    King_InuYasha               icculus

Within hours of releasing the source code to Lugaru as part of the Humble Indie Bundle, people are already creating patches to help out! Remember how we mentioned that the Windows project wasn't working yet? 'bash' got it working within a few hours: you can check it out here. Similarly, 'King_InuYasha' and 'losinggeneration' created a CMake system and set up a Google Code page. There were other improvements, including repaired PNG files, system libraries on Linux, and dynamically linked libraries on Windows.

When I saw this flurry of positive contributions, it immediately reminded me of its mirror image -- the rush to be the first cracker to crack each new DRM scheme. Whenever a game comes out with some new and more 'uncrackable' form of copy protection, crackers jump in and work night and day to prove that they can crack it.

It makes me a little sad to see all this effort expended on games with DRM. Could it work the same way in reverse? When Aquaria, Gish, and Penumbra Overture open up, I hope the community will help build them up with the same vigor that crackers tear DRM down.