Open-sourcing Refraction image editor


#1

You might remember Refraction image editor (http://www.xentronix.com/products/software/refraction) which once was considered as ‘Photoshop Lite for BeOS’. Last time it was updated around 2005 and after that the development stopped. There were news about the rights being sold to yellowTab and then Magnussoft but these companies also never continued the development. I’ve contacted the developer, Frans van Nispen, regarding open-sourcing Refraction and here is his reply:

"The cost to be able to opensource it would be around 10.000 Euro’s. That would cover the cost to update the licensing, double check the code for any licensing issues, deal with our former associates, etc…

This does not cover our intellectual property, nor the cost of development, though we would be willing to donate that part to the Haiku community. Meaning that if you can raise the 10k by crowd funding, we will opensource it."

What does Haiku community think of it? Is Refraction still important as native BeOS/Haiku software and if yes - is it possible to raise requested sum? AFAIK all other BeOS native image editors (Becasso, Artpaint etc.) have been abandoned much earlier and even being open-sourced they don’t have feature-parity with Refraction (and sadly nobody contributes to them it seems).


#2

There surely must be an open source equivalent that could be ported rather than wasting that sort of money on an application that only a few people would use. How about the GIMP(?).


#3

I think I always liked Refraction. It’s been a long time… still got the registration code, though. :slight_smile:

While I’d chip in if anyone really started a crowdsourcing effort, I doubt the Haiku community is big enough to come up with $10k. We’d need 400 people donating $25 a pop. Maybe if there were a couple of sincere devs with the plan to develop the app further, a few people would donate bigger sums. But sincere devs seeking a project are a rare species.

Regards,
Humdinger


#4

Maybe this is what the Haiku community needs to get exciting again and attract new developers and users.

There has been a few posts about crowd funding:

The one by mmadia (https://www.haiku-os.org/blog/mmadia/2013-05-25_research_crowdfunding) provides insight into the back fees also involved with such a campaign.

The one by lxstoian (https://www.haiku-os.org/community/forum/kickstarter_haiku_campaign) and the community comments centered on producing a HaikuBox.

There are fees from the crowd funding platform and payment processing entities to be aware of. Aiming at 10,000 Euros for the project it-self means raising ~13,500 Euros. Also, since it appears that the whole code base, including the intellectual property, would be considered, Haiku Inc. would like have to seek legal advices for which there are usually fees to be paid. It may be possible to find a lawyer with knowledge in this area and is enthusiastic enough about Haiku to do this “pro bono”.

In the end, to get the necessary 10,000 Euros for the project, the crowd funding campaign would likely have to aim at 15,000 Euros.

Bringing Refractions under the Haiku Inc. umbrella could be a start of a providing a suite of excellent applications as part of the R1 distribution.

Another thing, this could be an excellent well-defined way to practice crowd funding to tackle something much bigger/challenging - like getting Productive, bringing Wine to Haiku, or even designing a HaikuBox.

As an end-user, I have a preference for applications which have been developed originally for BeOS, or eventually for Haiku, than a port from Linux attempting to mimic a major commercial application.


#5

Doing crowd funding for Refraction is a pretty neat idea. It would be useful for someone, perhaps Akuji, to provide a review of features and functions of the application. It would be interesting to know how compatible Refraction is with Haiku.


#6

Forget the ten thousand Euros. Where is the team of people to develop and maintain the software? Frans van Nispen also worked on a simple audio editor, SampleStudio, this too was “open sourced” at once point, and then later in 2008 Tunetracker Systems acquired the code and announced they’d be working on it - but crucially they didn’t have anyone to actually do the work. Seven years later, what is actually the legacy of the money spent? Nothing.

You sometimes see this sad habit with railway enthusiasts. They raise money to buy a long obsolete locomotive, in need of a lot of work, and then a few months later, realising that “a lot of work” means more than staring at it wistfully and experiencing nostalgia for a half-remembered youth, they lose interest - back to raising money to buy another obsolete locomotive. Soon there are three or four rusting hulks in someone’s storage yard. To what purpose?

If this is to be a business, it needs a business plan. I doubt one can be developed. So then it’s a hobby, and you must find quite a number of dedicated hobbyists to staff it or most likely it will soon be abandoned and begin to rust. Don’t bother raising €10 000 until you have found the people who’ll actually turn that expenditure into a useful investment.


#7

The open source version of SampleStudio is called BeAE. BeAE was forked and given a new GUI in the Faber project, which will have its first public release later this year.


#8

Ah, Inferno. First none of this goes anywhere without an OS on the same level as BeOS 5.3, for the world it lived in. From an end users point, and as a user of BeOS for years, Haiku is not. No Haiku for the masses, then zero need even for a perfect version of Refraction for FREE.

The best out of the past bag on that would be an earlier BeOS Inferno version for free, with a name change maybe to something like My Little Devil. Without a very complete commercial type OS it still would not matter.

Things have changed a lot in 15 years, and even in the last decade. Today it is not just the crude Linux, or Microsoft, or Mac OS, and not even just desktops where BeOS 5.3 existed. Today there is a big question as to how much farther, or how much longer any desktops will be used, by the end users and this is still rapidly evoling, as we are well into the nano world and early commercial AI.

As far as graphics today there is plenty, that even if not open source, but still free may be available from Google and others, that didn’t exist in the days of Refraction and Inferno the end users today might like more.


#9

[quote=NoHaikuForMe]
You sometimes see this sad habit with railway enthusiasts. They raise money to buy a long obsolete locomotive, in need of a lot of work, and then a few months later, realising that “a lot of work” means more than staring at it wistfully and experiencing nostalgia for a half-remembered youth, they lose interest - back to raising money to buy another obsolete locomotive. Soon there are three or four rusting hulks in someone’s storage yard. To what purpose?

If this is to be a business, it needs a business plan. I doubt one can be developed. So then it’s a hobby, and you must find quite a number of dedicated hobbyists to staff it or most likely it will soon be abandoned and begin to rust. Don’t bother raising €10 000 until you have found the people who’ll actually turn that expenditure into a useful investment.[/quote]

Actually the question is: what is the goal behind it - in this case the methaper of the locomotive is not usefull. Because if we can buy refraction - it will keep on runnig :slight_smile: .
If we have a decent image editor as default for haiku - wich is nativ and feels nativ and the moste important - makes a differece to windows and linux thats more worth than the 10.000 € because it will run - also if no one “invests code” in the furture deveopment - and the whole system will benefit if it - becauseso we can povide a stable and good native image editor buy default.

So pls go for this … if we can just find 200 people wich pays the original price then we have enought… i would totaly support his so pls go for this… it would be such a great addition for haiku.


#10

[quote=Paradoxon]
Actually the question is: what is the goal behind it - in this case the methaper of the locomotive is not usefull. Because if we can buy refraction - it will keep on runnig :slight_smile: .[/quote]

This is an incredibly naive approach. Without developers, Refraction will not adapt to any change whatsoever. Whether that’s an architectural change, an operating system API change, or just changes to how people prefer to use their software, it means that immediately it’s an antique with quirks that must be justified to new users and worked around by old timers and this only gets worse year after year.

Try it, get a mid-1990s program like the Mosaic web browser on Windows, or the original Winamp 1.x. Now, try to use this program today. It should “keep on runnig” right ? But alas Mosaic doesn’t understand how to render a modern web page, Winamp can’t handle modern audio formats, neither of them understands Emoji or how to cope with advanced input modes, they’re like a person who has freshly awoken from a twenty year coma, they haven’t changed, but the world has.


#11

Does anyone have screenshot’s of the program running, the name seems familiar but cant quite remember the actual application.


#12

I have made a page for it on the crowdfunding website FreedomSponsors.

It uses a pledge now, pay later system. You can pledge in Bitcoins as well.

Screenshot of Refraction is available on the page.

https://freedomsponsors.org/issue/700/open-source-the-refraction-image-editor


#13

[quote=NoHaikuForMe]

This is an incredibly naive approach. Without developers, Refraction will not adapt to any change whatsoever. Whether that’s an architectural change, an operating system API change, or just changes to how people prefer to use their software, it means that immediately it’s an antique with quirks that must be justified to new users and worked around by old timers and this only gets worse year after year.

Try it, get a mid-1990s program like the Mosaic web browser on Windows, or the original Winamp 1.x. Now, try to use this program today. It should “keep on runnig” right ? But alas Mosaic doesn’t understand how to render a modern web page, Winamp can’t handle modern audio formats, neither of them understands Emoji or how to cope with advanced input modes, they’re like a person who has freshly awoken from a twenty year coma, they haven’t changed, but the world has.[/quote]

Its a valid point. But there are two differences - both wherent opensourced (ok moasic where opensourced 2010 … lol 23 years later :-D)

So the community couldnt jump in and develop this further. So if we have the codebase from refraction opensourced … and compiling for haiku os - It will run. And if its breaks with futher versions of haiku - it could be adjusted with little afford.
I think there are also ways to get new developers - maybe we just make a donation plege to hire NoHaikuForMe :smiley: … But i think - we maybe - should hire him more for the mediakit (a really simple object oriented api and a robust design there would be necessary for R2!)


#14

[quote=richienyhus]I have made a page for it on the crowdfunding website FreedomSponsors.

It uses a pledge now, pay later system. You can pledge in Bitcoins as well.

Screenshot of Refraction is available on the page.

https://freedomsponsors.org/issue/700/open-source-the-refraction-image-editor[/quote]

Richienyhus can you write an artikel on this so that one of the admins can put it one the front page?


#15

I would like to encourage everyone to go to Richie’s FreedomSponsors link above and join us in making a contribution to the Refraction open source project. We only need 50 - 100 people making small contributions to make this happen. It would be a major contribution to the bring excellent applications to Haiku.


#16

It was a cool application, but with all due respect I think you could port a number of modern Qt5 apps to Haiku for that price.


#17

Hey Dio,

I’m not that familiar with Qt5 image editing apps. Do you have any examples?

I would also point out, that a native BeOS app is likely to be better designed for Haiku than a Qt5 app. But it would take a review to know for sure. Something we should definitely do to know for sure.


#18

There is Gipshop and there’s also Krita

http://www.gimpshop.com/
https://krita.org/

Both completely free and open source. Why would we buck on Recfraction when this two are far more superior. Using modern algorithms of image processing and gpu management. U can’t compete with 10 years of upgrades and modern hardware support just by open sourcing a Recfraction. I’m a professional artist and speaking for myself I’m not gonna use Recfraction which will take years to compete with Gipshop or Krita.

Tho I do think that lack of powerful graphic editor is a huge downside for any OS. Browser, Office Suite, MultiMedia, 3D/Vide compositing(Blender?), Graphics editor and maybe Gaming is an must. Because that’s why you need an OS right? unless you’re just a server.

p.s. It’s kinda impossible to work on huge things like this imo. We don’t have a solid OS experience yet


#19

Is Qt5 already available for Haiku? Therefore before trying to port any open-source alternative, which is already complex task, Qt5 port ahould be finished first.


#20

I’ve asked Frans regarding what exactly will be removed during open-sourcing Refraction and how deeply does Refraction depend on Zeta-specific code:

"What will be stripped out (not sure if we already dropped it for release) is a page curl plugin and an
image to ascii plugin. There is some code in the codebase that was not used or ready for release,
it’s been too long to exactly remember what that was.

Refraction does not rely on any Zeta specific code. It used to rely on the Locale kit, but we got many
request about BeOS 5 back in the day, so we added locale kit alike code to Refraction it self. The
most recent version compiled on both Zeta and BeOS 5. If there is any Zeta specific code in there,
it will be minor and easy to adapt."