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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Downloading on Torrents

Just for fun, I searched for Frank Lion's Blue Moonlight Vista theme to see if it was available on torrent sites to download. According Frank, this theme is donationware was available for free if you donate money to him for his projects. He mentioned that the theme was no longer going to be offered because of people who were abusing the system. I figured that meant people were able to download on torrent sites without having to donate to him. I found this theme on several torrent sites and tried to download it to see how easy this was.

I found that some of the sites you had to be a member so I passed. Then on a couple of sites I was welcomed to the site with a bunch of naked women and links to sex sites.

How nice to see what the people who take our themes are doing with their time. That isn't much a of a shocker. These people that are bashing me and telling me that I am contributing to the demise of open source software load my themes and distribute them without my permission are connected to the porn industry. One person tried to justify doing this by saying the GPL allows them to distribute my work. While this may be legally true (I need to read it more carefully) it does not coincide with the intent of the GPL that they so vocally claim to be defenders of. The intent is not to distribute another person's work just to spite them because you don't think their time is worth anything and you feel that you are entitled to take things for nothing.

I received an email from seme European college student who called me names and told me how his professor used me as an example of how people are going to destroy open source. Sorry Mr. European college professor, the people that destroy open source are those who take the hard work of others and attempt to render it useless. It is these people that lead to companies putting such strict and limiting restrictions on their work such as all the major software comanies like Adobe, Microsoft, and the others. Work is worth something. The idea behind open source is that it is just tha, open. It is not free of charge but freely available to look at and use for your own projects.

When people start taking that work and spitting on it because they feel they are entitled to do so, that is when open source will go down. Open source is about the ability to be creative and then do what you want with it. That could mean to charge for it or give it away for free but it is naive to think that open source is about the greater good of all mankind. There is too much money behind the giant open source corporations to be so idealistic.

That does not make them bad. Mozilla and Firefox, Ubuntu, Flock, Red Hat, Suse by Novell and so many others are using open source to give users alternatives in software. However, their goal is still to make a profit and that is good. Capitalism, while considered so evil by many, brings competition and competition leads to better products and better products lead to happier users. Some of it may be free to the users, some may not. That should be the decision of the developer and not for a group of unhappy users who don't like the developer's decision.

With that being said, I am working on updates and should have them available shortly. Major issues addressed are display issues with Mac OS and Tab Mix Plus.

Oh yeah, go see Wall-E. I thought it was pretty funny. I thought it could be Pixar's first bomb but it definitely did not come close to that. You may like other Pixar films better but you will laugh. It is worth seeing.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mac Version of Aero Fox

I have a test version of the Aero Fox basic for Mac. You can download it here.

For any Mac users of Aero Fox, it would help out of you could test this out and let me know if you notice any issues.

Right now this is not the fully skinned version and has the standard Mac scrollbars and gray status bar. The Windows structure and Mac structure of the default themes are very different so I had to rebuild a lot of the theme in order to get it to display correctly on Mac OSX.

I am sure there are some issues but I will take care of those as I hear feedback. I know now that the drop arrow does not display on the back/forward buttons. It does display when icons and text is selected but not with icons only. I think there is an issue with the throbber but I may be wrong.

To those of you who will help out with this and those of you who have purchased my themes this week, thank you very much. I appreciate your help and support.

Side note to those who continue to criticize me and provide links for people to download my premium versions for free. This is why I am offering two versions. The basic version is for people who only care about the main toolbar and nothing else. I have spent 4 days trying to get this to display correctly on Macs since my Windows theme has issues. It is now almost midnight on the 4th day and I am just getting it ready to have people test it out. In a few hours I have to get up and go to my real job. Then, after they test it, I will have to spend many more hours getting it ready to upload to AMO before I start on a fully skinned version that I can call a premium version.

That is just for this theme. Then I have to create a Mac specific version for Aquatint Black, Abstract Black, Abstract Zune, Aquatint, Abstract Classic, Purpletint Black, Greentint Black, Abstract Amethyst, Abstract Emerald, Aero Fox Silver, and others.

So, before you go around accusing me of being greedy and unethical because I have the audacity to think my time and efforts are worth something and start taking my work and distributing it on other sites without my permission, you should take a long look at yourself and question why you are so upset with me and why you are entitled to have my work for free when honest people are paying $0.99 for it.

It is very easy for your to get outraged and steal my themes while I am doing all the work to make sure my themes are high quality and were ready to be used for the release of Firefox 3.

Misidentified Pirate

It has come to my attention that Danny was misidentified as the person who uploaded my theme to a software download site for pirated materials. While Danny was thanked as the person who uploaded my themes and shared them for people who feel my time and efforts are not worth anything and don't feel they need to pay, the credit should have gone to armedking.

I apologize to Danny for the misunderstanding because he has purchased a couple of my themes and was not the one responsible for uploading them.

As for armedking, apparently he does not believe in the intent behind free open source software and the general public license as he claims. He, and those who are very critical of me, like to claim that they are the ones who really understand and stand up for the principles of open source software and that is why they are obligated to take my work and distribute it on piracy sites.

Yes armedking, my work is done under the GPL and is open source but that does not entitle you to take my work and distribute it as you are. It is this exact license that allows me to create my work and distribute it as I see fit, not you. The license says that you can use my theme's code and build your own themes off of it without having to pay me license fees or royalties.

You have rationalized that what you are doing is for the common good of the Firefox community at large but you are doing nothing but demonstrating your lack of real ethics and a sense of immature entitlement.

Obviously there is little I can do to prevent people from doing what armedking has done other than hope and rely on the common decency of people who want to do the right thing and use my free version or support me in my efforts by giving $0.99 for my full versions.

Again, to Danny, I am sorry for identifying you as the person who did this.

Friday, June 20, 2008

By the way

Someone commented on my previous editorial that they felt bad for me because of the response I was getting from people who are now telling me how stupid I am and how much they hate me. He went on to mention the fact that, for the past year and a half, I created themes on my own time while working as a high school teacher making no money (over the past five years) while having to deal with "jackasses" all the time. They often felt compelled to tell me how much they hated me and how stupid I am. All this while I had a Master's degree and they didn't know how to add fractions.

Another person commented that they did not know this about me. This is true, and I find it quite funny and ironic. I was teaching for no money and donated my time and ability for free to the Firefox Community for over a year while I created themes for Firefox 2. Now, I am no longer teaching and I am creating themes full time. I decided that, due to the time and energy that goes into creating and maintaining themes, I would offer my free basic version and my $0.99 version. This idea was welcomed by a bunch of people telling me that I should do this for free, telling me how stupid I am and telling me how much they hated me, all while they refuse to look at the actual General Public License for open source software and the actual definition of open source software which I provided in my editorial.

I guess not much has changed, I still have people telling me how stupid I am and how much they hate me while trying to pirate my software by uploading it to other sites. I guess there is one difference, they are demanding that I work for free while they call me names. At least with teaching I could call in sick and have a substitute.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Editorial on "Free"

I have just set off a huge debate within the Firefox community with my decision to offer a free (gratis-no cost) version of my themes as well as a $0.99 version of my themes available for download at my new website. This has made a group of Firefox users very upset because they believe that Free (libre) Open Source Software (FOSS) should be free of charge. This is where the misunderstanding of the clumsy English word "free" comes into play.

In terms of software, free (in the case of free open source software) is used in the libre sense of the word. Free is speaking here of the software being open for anyone to view the code, change it without having to pay license fees and redistribute "freely". As Wikipedia puts it:

Free software or libre software is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with minimal restrictions only to ensure that further recipients can also do these things. In practice, for software to be distributed as free software, the human readable form of the program (the "source code") must be made available to the recipient along with a notice granting the above permissions. Such a notice is a "free software licence", or, in theory, could be a notice saying that the source code is released into the public domain.

Open source software exists for freedom of information, not freedom from having to pay. As the Wikipedia article goes on to discuss, often times open source software is free or very inexpensive but it does not have to be gratis (free of charge).

The free being used here is the same as "free enterprise", "free market", "free speech", "free press" and so on. Free enterprise and free market do not mean they cost nothing but that they allow people to make their own choices on how they want to conduct business. Free speech refers to people's ability to speak without fear of retribution, it does not mean that their speech costs nothing. People are paid quite often to give speeches, does that mean they do not have "free speech". No, because the free is not referring to cost, but to liberty.

In the same way, free software means that the software is available under general public license for others to use and distribute without having to pay a license fee. If you look at the definition of open source you will see that the first thing listed when defining open source is that the license on the open source software may not restrict anyone from selling or redistributing the software and no license fees or royalties may be imposed for anyone selling that software.

By setting up my themes the way I have, in no way have I violated the idea or intent of free open source software. I have put great thought into my decisions on how I want to structure this idea which is why I decided to offer a free (gratis) basic version that will have minimal support and will only contain the major components of the theme such as the toolbar, icons, tabs, and certain menus. Because I enjoy doing themes, I want to create the best themes possible which requires enormous amounts of time and energy. In order to do this, I started charging $0.99 to compensate not only the time needed to create and maintain the theme but to provide support via email and this blog to those who are having troubles.

I have spent the past 3 days answering close to 100 emails on how to download, install, and use the themes. I have also set up a user forum to provide a community support group of users who want to discuss issues relating to Firefox themes as well as provide answers to support questions for those who are having troubles.

While some of you have made your mind up that I have sold out and sought after greedy intentions, the opposite is true. I have taken my theme development to a new level of support to create and offer the best themes available which I believe will help out Firefox in the long run. Some developers may follow suit as some fear but that, in my opinion, will only improve Firefox. If people can earn a little money by offering themes for a small fee, better developers will start making better themes which will lead to a better offering of Firefox.

I may be wrong and the market may reject my idea but that is the beauty of free (libre) markets. I understand that no matter what I say, certain people will always hate what I am doing and do what they can to hurt me. My question is, what is the reason behind those feelings of anger and resentment and what is the purpose behind trying to stop me from what I have decided to do?

Regardless of what you feel or what you decide to do in response to my decision, my intent is to continue to make the best Firefox themes possible and get them to as many people as possible, whether it be my $0.99 version or my free (gratis) basic version available on AMO.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mac and Linux

It appears from some email questions that there are some text coloring issues with my darker themes. I will try to get an update put together soon for my 6 dark themes to see if it takes care of the problem. That update will not cost anything for those of you experiencing that problem. My hope is to be able to replace the existing file and then have you be able to re-download the file from the same link before.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I got an email asking about whether people had to pay again if they wanted an updated version of the theme. That got me thinking about the logistics of paying/not paying on updates. For now, I am going to make the download available for 30 days after it is purchased. That way, if you purchase a theme and I update the theme within 30 days, you can get the new version for no charge.

I don't plan on making overly frequent updates so you are not going to have to spend a dollar every few days to get the new version. Unless there is major issue that requires and update, I will probably update every few months and clearly explain what the update is for so you can decide whether or not the new download is necessary.

Twitter will be the best way to stay on top of updates.

Please be patient, this is new and I know a little unpopular with some people. I am trying to make all sides happy which is hard. Remember, you can still get the free version of my theme from AMO.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Issues with Vista?

Has anyone tried my themes with Vista? I have heard a couple of people say that themes will not work with Vista as their OS?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Firefox 3 Coming June 17th.

With the release of FF3 coming in a few days, I believe I am ready to upload all my new themes by this weekend. I am also going to launch an improved website showcasing all my themes. I will also keep this blog around to give updates and may create a user forum to go along with it. I am not sure what the purpose of it would be other than to have a user forum. I will put it together and see if there is enough interest in it to keep a forum around.

Stay tuned. I should have it all up and running by Saturday night.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Stay Tuned

I am working on a new website and some new themes for when Firefox 3 is released.

There are some minor changes to the themes but overall they look and feel the same as before. I hope you will find some of the changes to improve the themes. Due to the change in structure of the themes by the Firefox developers, I decided to redo the way the tabs look and operate. They made it very difficult to change the tabs but I think you will like the way they look. The changes should also prevent any issues related to extensions that add functionality to themes. Most of the changes I made were done to keep my themes more compatible with popular extensions.

On a bigger note, I have joined the team at Flock theme development will now become my profession. After teaching high school for five years, I am excited for something new and what could be better than doing something I love to do and have been doing as a hobby for the past year and a half.

I will announce my new site soon so stay tuned.