Below is an excerpt from an interview I recently published with Desurium contributors anagromataf, Jookia, karolherbst, INtense and lodle. The full interview can be found here: Cheesetalks.twolofbees.com
How did the decision to release the Desura client's source under a Free Software licence come about?
lodle: It came about due to the fact that we felt Desura missed the mark by a couple of years in terms of competitor steam. In open sourcing it we can use the community involvement to make changes and fixes at a much faster rate then what is possible with the hired developers at Desura.
Jookia: I'm not sure how personal it is, or if it's for me to say, but lodle was working full time on the client for the past 6 years or so. Burnout and a few other factors led him to move on to other projects. DesuraNET has about two developers, excluding lodle. So he decided open sourcing it would be a good idea as it'd allow the community to maintain the client as it'd pretty much be beneficial for everyone.
INtense: We are a niche provider of games, so our ability to develop at the pace we liked was limited. We've long seen how well opening up your software has worked for companies so we felt it made sense. Especially since the Linux community is so amazing in that regard.
Prior to the release of the source code, several community members participated in a code review of the existing Desura client source. Can you describe that process?
Jookia: We were given access to a private GitHub repository, and from there the code was available for scrutiny. We also had the IRC channel #desura at Freenode to communicate about any issues. The main thing we were meant to look out for were security issues.
lodle: There really wasn't much of a formal process. Most of the review was making sure the code compiled and there was no closed source code left in the code base. A lot of issues where also brought up during this time (i.e. compiling dependencies over using system deps) which as a company supporting a product didn't matter but during open source they would needed to be fixed.
With Desurium being a community developed project, progress is defined by the skills of those contributing. What would you say are the current Desurium contributors' strengths, and are there areas that could benefit from contributors with additional skill sets?
lodle: I think the current skill set has a really strong linux focus which is great as its an area that im not to strong at and this will help the client be more linux like.
Anagromataf: We would really need a Windows developer.
Jookia: Windows developers. Need them. Right now we have a lot of awesome people who've rebuilt entire systems, but it's mostly just Linux users. That, and we need to fix bugs.
Karolherbst: Yes, we need much more contributors, which are focused on desura on Windows. But if you ask me personally I don't think about something like that. Everyone has his skills and everyone contributes his own part. I don't like it to say: "Yes, he is the best for this, and he can do this best". So it is hard to answer a question like that for me. At the moment we have to find more devs, who want to help us. But if I would be forced to give a proper answer I would say: "I don't know"
What role do you think DRM will play in Deusurium and Desura in general? How important do you feel its visibility in the client is (#93)?
INtense: We've released a few hundred games now and only a handful use DRM. We discourage it and don't provide support for it so not a huge role at all, as we mostly deny games with DRM incorporated.
lodle: I think DRM is bad and shouldn't be on any games at all. They are going to end up on torrent sites no matter what and in the end hurt end users, but i cant speak for all game companies though. I also feel that DRM should be told to the user before they buy the games as it should be up to them on how they play their games.
Anagromataf: While I think the desura client will not impose any DRM the developers are free to do so but I really want to have it clearly visible.
Karolherbst: Transparency is nice for gamers, so they know, what they are allowed to do with the games they own, but in general DRM is such a big philosophical topic. One of the advantages of desura is the ability to run games without a running desura. I like the idea, that game devs should handle DRM on their owns. So desura won't be involved in the DRM question of game devs.
Jookia: I don't follow the whole DRM thing with games, but I think the user should know who has control over their game. As for Desura's part, I feel it's best to keep the DRM part of the games and not the client. That said, some DRM has been moved server side.
Don't forget that you can read the full interview at Cheesetalks.twolofbees.com