Contributing | Documentation | IRC | Technology
MousePaw Media believes that the best ideas are worth sharing. This is why we've decided to make all of our core technologies open source! This way, individuals, educators, students, and many software projects can use our code and technology! Everyone is free to read, modify, use, and share our open source work.
We welcome you to take part in our development process through experimenting, testing, reporting bugs, and contributing ideas and code. We've opened our development network to you, so come on in!
View our Contribution Guide to get started.
FAQs: Open Source
(Click a question to view the answer.)
What is open source?
Open source is a software distribution model that promotes the free and unrestricted use, sharing, and modification of computer code. More information can be found at the Open Source Initiative website.
What license(s) do you use?
Our projects are generally licensed under the BSD-3 License and the GPL 3.0. Code presently licensed under the latter will also be offered later under another non-permissive license. An additional non-free license will be offered for GPL'd code for anyone who wishes to use that code in a closed-source project, and a portion of those profits will be donated to the Open Source Initiative.
Why aren't you closed-source like most game companies?
For the past 25+ years, the educational software industry has been dominated by a profit-first, closed-source model. In many cases, this has produced expensive software with design flaws and bugs, destined to be discontinued rather than improved.
We envision a game engine that allows our games, and anything else anyone builds using it, to survive the waves of changing technology. Maybe our games can even outlive the company itself!
If your code is all freely available, how can you even make money?
Open source is an amazing idea! There are a few ways to stay open-source and run a viable software company. Our method is best described as "free the code, sell the content." We aren't selling the code that runs Operation SpyRat; we are selling the story, animations, and educational content within it. It's a little like selling a movie you made, but giving away the awesome film-making equipment you used to make it.
Why aren't you completely open source?
Making high-quality educational software requires a lot of work, and we believe we can best accomplish it as a company. In order to pay our wonderful team, run our servers, and keep the lights on, we need to make money somehow. We believe that selling many of the games themselves is the best way to do that.
In short, our code is open-source, while our content and graphics are closed-source. We ultimately sell the final combination thereof.
Why "Open Source" instead of "Free Software"?
We were inspired to join the movement often collectively called "FOSS" (Free and Open Source Software) or "FLOSS" (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) by Eric S. Raymond's Cathedral and the Bazaar. As far we can tell, the open source vision has the best track record of the two movements for leveling walls and encouraging collaboration among people, FOSS groups, and software companies. That's why we have thrown our support behind the Open Source Initiative.
While we recognize that the "Free Software" movement has spawned many great pieces of software, it also has a long history of building walls of distrust among well-meaning software companies, and even between FOSS groups themselves. We want to make peace and software, not join another war.
Why do you use the GPL, then?
The GPL, or "General Public License," is the core of the Free Software movement. While we don't agree with the doctrine behind the license, we recognize that it can be used judiciously to further the place of free and open source software in the market.
We only use the GPL for certain major pieces of our game engine, to ensure that they are only used for free to create more free and open source [FOSS] projects. If anyone wants to use our game engine for a closed-source commercial product, they can purchase a license. Part of those proceeds will be donated to the Open Source Initiative. Either way, FOSS wins!
Why this licensing setup?
We are strong proponents of the Open Source movement (contrasted with the Free Software movement). However, we believe that our development staff deserves to get paid a living wage down the road (once we start selling our games). Thus, if someone else wants to profit from the fruits of their labors without also sharing in kind, our developers deserve a piece of that pie.
It is worth noting that a part of those profits are also earmarked for supporting open-source software projects that we use.
What open source projects do you participate in?
We actively promote a variety of open source projects, and contribute bug reports and code to some of them. Find a list of the projects we use and support on our Technology page.