ashes999's picture

Is OpenTK Dead? [solved: no, it is not]

Hi all,

Is OpenTK still under development, or is it dead?

I noticed some disturbing signs, like:

- Forums get one post per day max
- No nightly releases since March
- No official releases since 2010
- No news or blog posts since 2010


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AndyKorth's picture

Hi Inertia, it's great to hear an official-(ish?) response to the concerns in the thread.

I understand the goal behind limiting the number of people with commit access. It's a good idea to have some protections in place. However, it would be nice to have someone active who could consider patches. It looks like the_fiddler is the only one with commit access, and it seems like he's missing and you're pretty busy yourself.

Regarding some of your concerns with a fork... I suspect some of us have a different perspective on OpenTK, but I'm not too concerned about sabotage or backdoors in an engine where keyboard input doesn't work right, the examples don't run, etc. I think there's some great tech here, but it just needs a bit of maintenance or help with non-windows platforms. In fact, the latest SVN, even though it's a bit dated, has a number of very important fixes that aren't in the nightly build, so we're already on track. Even just a new official build based off the nightly would help.

Making a fork is one solution, but it's important to be able to point new users of the library towards these fixes. When I started using openTK, I almost gave up before realizing the official build suffered from this issue that makes it unusable on a Mac ( http://www.opentk.com/node/3130 ). I get the impression you'd not be interested in mentioning a fork on the webpage, or having nightly builds of that fork available. But I appreciate the honesty, if there's a reluctance due to lack of time, and moving forward with the project is unlikely, it would be great to let the community know so we can plan our projects accordingly.

Thanks, Andy

nythrix's picture

1) In my opinion, we are missing a clear and decisive standpoint to start with. I'm fine with Fiddler having no time for the project anymore. What I'm not fine with is this sort of information fog. I'd really appreciate, if Fiddler could step out and say that he's done with OpenTK or whatever else he feels like saying. I know, it can be extremely hard to part with something one has given so much to. Unfortunately, without that the community will never be able to move on to the next step.

2) Slap a large and wide "DEVELOPERS WANTED" on the main page. Big, Bold and Red. No, sorry, patching OpenTK here and there as a side hobby in the long term won't do. Not without at least someone dedicated solely to the project. Which, in turn, brings us to our next biggest obstacle.

3) Everyone, who eventually ends up here has his own project. I bet you, noone will step up to maintain OpenTK. Not without giving up or severely cutting on his own plans anyway. And definitely not without these pages letting him know.

4) If you feel like forking or even improving on OpenTK, stop looking for excuses and do it. If you're good enough, people will eventually find you and your work, no worries. You don't need our "permission" or "blessing" (though you do need to observe the license :).

+1 on Inertia's request concerning the name of this post-OpenTK project. And yes, OpenToolkit is out of the question either :)

P.S.: In case anyone is wondering. No, I am not able to contribute to or maintain OpenTK in the foreseeable future. Cloo is having its own troubled times for that matter...

P.P.S.: I always felt that OpenTK is missing on "donation marketing". I wonder, if things would've gone differently. Oh, well...

Inertia's picture

I cannot make any "official" statement besides my own opinion, haven't spoken to Fiddler for months and starting to get worried about the missing lifesigns, too.

OpenTK lacks a biz/pr guy who monetizes it, so the people required to maintain it could live from their work. The ads don't cover server cost. Noone can do a coding dayjob and do more work at night and at the same time stay healthy (both mentally and physically) and have a relationship. The crowdfunding suggestion was not about profit, actually the opposite: a win-win situation to get Fiddler back without any bean counters involved. But it didn't raise enough money to found a non-profit organization and hire someone, it was hardly enough to buy a Macbook (unless someone using Apple's stuff actually reports and fixes problems related to it, chances of it's state improving are zero). After 6 years of free ride obviously noone likes the idea to donate anything. Reality called though and there's no other way: abandon family to live under a bridge eating trash and steal wlan to keep OpenTK running is just not going to happen xD

nythrix's picture
Quote:

I cannot make any "official" statement besides my own opinion, haven't spoken to Fiddler for months and starting to get worried about the missing lifesigns, too.

That's a pitty. I haven't received any message from him either. I hope he's just "not interested" anymore.

Quote:

OpenTK lacks a biz/pr guy who monetizes it

This is another dead end I'm afraid. Such problems affect most of open source. Non-commercial projects don't attract enough non-developers. Sometimes a project makes up for it through the sheer "brute force" of its community. Not in our case, unfortunately.

Quote:

After 6 years of free ride obviously noone likes the idea to donate anything.

This isn't totally fair. As far as I can tell, there's very few old timers left around here. What's more (as I already pointed out), OpenTK has never officially asked for donations. What would actually happen if we did that? Money requests/offers/polls scattered around the forums isn't the same, imho.

Quote:

Noone can do a coding dayjob and do more work at night and at the same time stay healthy (both mentally and physically) and have a relationship

I fully agree.

djk's picture

I am one of the long term users of OpenTK, probably going back 5+ years now. Is there an existing Foundation/Entity that would be suitable for approaching with a plan to Fork and continue developing the spawn of OpenTK. I am pretty sure Xamarin has forked a version for their Mono-Touch/Android product lines. Having said that, I have not seen a graphics/OpenTK expert on the Mono forums.

Finally, does anyone have direct contact information for Fiddler and be willing to reach out to him?

AndyKorth's picture
djk wrote:

I am pretty sure Xamarin has forked a version for their Mono-Touch/Android product lines.

I believe they use: https://github.com/mono/opentk

Additionally MonoGame suggests that they use openTK , but only some of the features. Monogame just includes the dll: "This OpenTk dll is based on r3125 from http://www.opentk.com/project/svn"

Inertia wrote:

I cannot make any "official" statement besides my own opinion, haven't spoken to Fiddler for months and starting to get worried about the missing lifesigns, too.

.... No one can do a coding dayjob and do more work at night and at the same time stay healthy (both mentally and physically) and have a relationship..... After 6 years of free ride obviously noone likes the idea to donate anything.

nythrix wrote:

... No, sorry, patching OpenTK here and there as a side hobby in the long term won't do. Not without at least someone dedicated solely to the project.

Hopefully I didn't give the impression that I thought a fully fledged replacement project was the only solution. It's true, I don't have time to dedicate myself full time to maintaining a project.. but I was hoping that I could contribute with just a few patches here and there. I guess I'm surprised by the response on that.

nythrix wrote:

4) If you feel like forking or even improving on OpenTK, stop looking for excuses and do it. If you're good enough, people will eventually find you and your work, no worries. You don't need our "permission" or "blessing" (though you do need to observe the license :).

+1 on Inertia's request concerning the name of this post-OpenTK project. And yes, OpenToolkit is out of the question either :)

So as pointed out earlier in this thread, there are currently a few dozen forks on github- they still bear the name "OpenTK". Do you feel that another would be in a violation of your requests regarding the name? Maybe the difference here is rooted in the idea of what a fork is on github. One stray click will create a fork, and you don't really have the option of changing the name that way. If I made one, it would show up as "andykorth/opentk". For example: https://github.com/search?q=opentk

My current plan, unless the community objects, would be to create my own github fork and at least get the Mac stuff working. I'm not looking to be a full time maintainer.. hopefully someday the_fiddler comes back and can port the fixes he deems worthwhile and do an official build.

I still have concerns about people downloading the old non-working nightly build, but I agree that it's better to stop looking for excuses and get some actual coding done.

Sound okay?

nythrix's picture
Quote:

Hopefully I didn't give the impression that I thought a fully fledged replacement project was the only solution. It's true, I don't have time to dedicate myself full time to maintaining a project.. but I was hoping that I could contribute with just a few patches here and there. I guess I'm surprised by the response on that.

Andy, I see that my point didn't quite get across so I'll rephrase that (also I wasn't really targeting you or any other single person, it was more of a general point, so no hard feelings). Tens of different OpenTK forks, each being patched as their respective maintainers see fit for their own main projects/purposes will not keep OpenTK itself automagically going. I do understand that said developers would gladly contribute their changes back to OpenTK. However, without a dedicated or at least mildly enthusiastic proper OpenTK developer the whole thing will, sooner or latter, crumble. It's inevitable. So yes, a dedicated developer is in my opinion the only option available. If this is not fullfilled, OpenTK is effectively dead.

Having said that, I guess I'm fine (for now) with them forks bearing the name OpenTK mainly because they're parts of bigger puzzles (and I guess they're still 99.999% unmodified OpenTK anyway). Aiming for the OpenTK "market" so to speak is, however, quite different.

Inertia's picture

@djk I know no phone numbers or snail mail address, we did pretty much all discussions regarding OpenTK in the forum, so others could contribute ideas and opinions aswell (private dialogue is just too volatile, we even abandoned IRC due to that). All online means of contacting him have not been answered so far, the only possibility of contacting him I can think of is through whois opentk.com.

One problem why he is not responding may be, that people ask a really big question: "is OpenTK dead?" This is no simple yes/no answer, and since people will consider Fiddler's statement as "THE official thing" and quote him to the letter, he will not make any statements unless he is 99.5% able to stand behind it.

@andy what nythrix said about the difference between fork and fork ;) As stated in a previous posts I will support the one-big-pitch-fork by editing the nightly build button to point towards the github page and possibly write some "official news" statement explaining in detail who/why etc. (assuming it is done by someone as skilled and trustworthy as flopoloco, and not jonsmith1337)

@nythrix Haven't been ignoring you actually the contrary: Largely agree with what you said besides the "DEVELOPERS WANTED", because that implies one of us has to handle the recruiting, training, proofreading, delegation or work, pampering unpaid workers feelings etc. (tbh I left OpenTK because working without pay was poison for my self-esteem, had nothing to do with the work itself or colleagues) If someone is willing to fork OpenTK and merge all the "other forks" into it, that person is the one to contact regarding this imo.

[difference between donations and crowdfunding]
Donations basically means you can spend the money on blackjack and hookers, there's no explanation what is done with the money. This can also lead to a situation where you have some money to buy hardware, but cannot hire someone to work on the issues with the hardware. Imo this is no win-win in the current situation.

Crowdfunding sets clear goals and only bills once the target is reached. Those asking for that "official statement" get just what they want: when the goal is to hire someone for 1 year to work on the problems and it succeeds, the development is guaranteed to continue for that year and the issues will be dealt with on a daily basis - not at random intervals of someone's spare time.

nythrix's picture
Inertia wrote:

Haven't been ignoring you

I know. I was referring to Fiddler :)

I think I have an email address that was given to me in case of "communication emergency". I'll see if I can find that and contact him.

AndyKorth's picture

@Nythrix: Thanks, I think I'm on the same page as you now. I appreciate it. I much better understand the need for a much more dedicated developer/organizer of the project now- I think I was just a bit frustrated earlier.

So my plan is to go forward with my mini-fork, with no desire to supplant openTK, and just hope that someday it makes it into official... which I'm happy to play by ear.

Also, I believe this is our guy's public profile, in case anyone who knows him better wants to get ahold of him.
http://www.linkedin.com/in/stapostol