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Supporting offer for abandoned add-ons

Discussion in 'Resource Discussions [Archive]' started by xfrocks, Jan 8, 2012.

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  1. xfrocks

    xfrocks Well-Known Member

    Hi guys,

    I can see that a few fellow developers have been busy with their real lives and temporarily abandoned their add-ons. I'm busy sometimes too so I totally understand that (btw, my apologizes to all people here who have tried contacting me one way or another during some of my busy times). For now, I'm having a little free time and I think that would be great to offer help with those abandoned add-ons and try to cheer up some upset users here. Here goes my offer:
    1. I will offer support (including bug fix, compatibility issue, general query, no feature requests) for other people's free add-ons that posted here in the Add-on Releases forum (the list will be included at the end of this post).
    2. The work is of course free of charge and it's not a guaranteed thing. Don't harass me if I don't offer support for a particular add-on (it may be too complicated for me to understand, etc.)
    3. If you are also a developer and you have some free time, please dive in and help people. Not everybody is tech savvy enough to patch a few lines in a PHP file.
    I'm not quite sure about privacy policy so I will need at least one "XenForo insider" approval before starting to do this. (Hey Brogan, Kier or Mike: What do you guys think?)
    The way of doing this is:
    1. A list of supported add-ons will be selected:
      1. [waiting approval]
    2. A new thread will be posted in Add-on Releases with link to original add-on. New package will be updated to the first post of that thread when it's available. All question and answer should be in that thread too. It would be great if the original thread can be locked with the last post link to the new thread. List of threads:
      1. [waiting approval]
    Will this work? :D
  2. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    I've asked Mike for his input but I would say that the original developer of any add-on being included in this list would have to give their approval.

    Some developers for example have explicitly forbid their add-ons being developed by anyone else.
  3. xfrocks

    xfrocks Well-Known Member

    I was afraid of that. Sounds kinda stuck since we are back to the very first problem: find the original developer :confused: Thank for your quick response (as always) though (y)
  4. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    I think the XenForo t's+c's should include that any addon released/advertised at xenforo in the addon relases forum should be subject that if the developer is absent for more than 90+ days without good cause that the rights of the addon will shift to the community.
  5. Mike

    Mike XenForo Developer Staff Member

    While I respect the idea, there's no way we'd do that. Developers have the tools to simply do that by changing the license of their code or simply stating that they give people permission to extend their works.

    As Brogan has said, unless add-on authors give permission to this explicitly, you can't (re-)distribute another user's code/intellectual property. You can provide support and perhaps even make patches (as modifications used to be distributed), though even that can be a grey area. But you cannot distribute another's work without permission (either granted to you explicitly or via licensing that allows it).
    ankurs, Veer, Forsaken and 5 others like this.
  6. mrGTB

    mrGTB Well-Known Member

    Very nice gesture indeed, but you need the authors permission really there no way around that one, don't land yourself in trouble!
  7. RobParker

    RobParker Well-Known Member

    How about some "official" encouragement from XF for authors to change the license if they plan on abandoning their code? I'm sure you, Brogan, etc getting in touch with a request would carry far more weight than us asking people and maybe some sort of formal system in pace would meet the problem half-way?
    Reeve of Shinra likes this.
  8. yavuz

    yavuz Well-Known Member

    I worked many times with xfrocks, very cool person. Not suprized he did offer such help. Thumb up my friend. (y)

    As for the license issues, it seems that the only solution is relasing patches which could added to the original thread like Kier made for the "The Happy Place - Clickable Smilies Under Editor Control addon.
  9. ChemicalKicks

    ChemicalKicks Well-Known Member

    Here's the get out of jail free card :)

    Nothing to stop someone creating a couple of patch files for distribution.
    gordy likes this.
  10. xfrocks

    xfrocks Well-Known Member

    Understood Mike. Thanks for you input :) It's probably better just to remake the whole thing (completely rewrite) I guess.
    Manu Ruiz Esteve, high1976 and Luis like this.
  11. iTuN3r

    iTuN3r Well-Known Member

    You should go for your own Add-on's . It's better to have more choices rather than depending on one person .
    gordy likes this.
  12. Deepmartini

    Deepmartini Well-Known Member

    There needs to be some policy on what to do with unsupported addons. At least make it known that anyone downloading addons is at own risk. Wordpress is undergoing a plugin process to make things clear. Xenforo should consider the same.
    gordy likes this.
  13. Forsaken

    Forsaken Well-Known Member

    Anyone who doesn't know that downloading and using add-ons is a risk shouldn't be running forums.

    As for an enforced policy on unsupported add-ons, that will just drive away many developers. It actually isn't that common for developers to abandon a large quantity of add-ons (I'm not including the people who do 1-2 small add-ons that are amateur at best), and when there are generally circumstances that have lead to it.

    Quite honestly, I'm pretty fed up with the self-entitlement I've seen here; free add-ons aren't required to have support, and support given is done as a gesture of good will. Paid add-ons should have support, but no one can see what will happen in the future that prevents it. It sucks when they go unsupported, but you (hopefully) knew the risks.
    yavuz and Bob like this.
  14. mrGTB

    mrGTB Well-Known Member

    I agree with all you've said there. Over time I've spotted one or two here installing "mod after mod" and thought to myself. Oh dear, these people are going to come unstuck sooner or later and seen it happen with some since! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying people shouldn't use mods. Although these days from my own experience, I personally try and avoid using any. I can't stress enough, be very cautious about using mods, they are the single main biggest cause of forums running into problems later. Or even getting hacked!!!
  15. Morgain

    Morgain Well-Known Member

    What is a reasonably safe level of using mods? I have installed and tested a lot more than I'm continuing to use.

    I have Jake Bunce's nodes-as-tabs;
    Anthony's Help;
    Fuhrmann's Profile Tabs.
    They seem reliable to me.

    I like the look of the Conversations mod and the Likes one where you give different kinds of votes as Likes. Oh and Favorites. I haven't tried them yet though.

    XF would be very bare without its mods.

    I have one custom mod done for me, but I believe the developer is going to make it available to everyone soon. It creates social groups.
    Then there's the Articles Manager.

    I don't see how I can run a comfortable board with depth of service without most of these.
  16. Ashley

    Ashley Business Guy Staff Member

    There are a boards that are run without add-ons. Add-ons are not for every forum and for others, add-ons are crucial. Whatever your preference, "XF would be very bare without its mods" is untrue.

    Lets get back on topic.
    CapnLuffy, digitalpoint and Forsaken like this.
  17. Morgain

    Morgain Well-Known Member

    Sorry Ashley I thought this thread was about abandoned addons and therefore how important addons are.
    The issue of being cautious about addon risks is part of this. I agree with mrGTB we need to be careful not to load too many mods. But I wasn't clear where the boundaries would be on that. It's difficult as we do need some of these things.

    I did not mean AT ALL that there was anything wrong with XF for focusing on the core functions and making them so superb. I think that's an excellent policy.
    But most admins feel the need of some additional features even if only one or two. The other policies about XF being helpful to mod developers are also very good and very welcome in this area. The mix works well.

    Except we do carry risk about mods disappearing or going unsupported when their owners decide that way.
    Recent events have brought this to the fore temporarily.
    The discussions are helping to clarify where we stand and how to cope with it. This thread is very useful in clarfying what can be done - and just as much, what cannot be done due to intellectual copyright.
  18. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    If the terms of the license permit a user to modify a file for their own needs, there is no reason that another person can't help them as long as they are not profiting from it and as long as the files do not get redistributed. If a mod on my server doesn't work, I can give you access and you can do anything you want to it not including downloading the files or setting up access for others to download it.

    If I manage to make a worthy addon at some point I have no problem with someone redistributing it modifying it or whatever else they can think of...if the addon is free and (I/you/anyone) can't give the time or effort or in my case have some of the skills necessary then why not let the community help make the addon better.

    (More addons working = more XF customers = more addon developers = more motivation) = repeat cycle.

    IMHO it is better to try and keep any decent mod alive (free addons at any rate) by modifying it if need be and crediting the original author for his/her work...rather than finding a quiet graveyard for sleeping mods to die.

    As it stands though...for now it is just best to try and contact the author and ask them...the least they can do is say no in some fashion or be rude and ignore you...and that's only if they are too pigheaded to understand that the reason you would be doing said task is because people like and want to use their addon. If that is the case, they and their mod are not worth the time you could be using to rebuild similar mods from scratch when possible.

    That is just my opinion and it is what it is. If I had more skill I would help you in this venture XFr. It is an awesome thing when people see the good that comes from helping out when it comes to the big picture.

    @ the OP...much respect to you. FOLLOWING
  19. Gene Steinberg

    Gene Steinberg Well-Known Member

    OK, I posted a question about this thread elsewhere, and rather than point me to this thread, I was warned by the moderator for being off-topic, even though I was talking of the future of an add-on in a thread about that add-on.

    But I'm glad to have found this place.

    I have used several add-ons from Ragtek, including one for new users and birthdays. Obviously I'd like a way to continue to use them. Unfortunately, Ragtek created his own framework, which conflicts with the widget framework. I have installed the latter mainly to add the widget about recent threads and polls. The first replaces one Ragtek plugin. If someone found a way to update Ragtek's work and make them function without breaking widget framework, I'd be happy.

    I'm also using two XenFans.com add-ons, for popular content and for adding tabs to the nav bar. At least they still work, although the first is a tag flaky. So I'd love to see a little ongoing support.
  20. Sadik B

    Sadik B Well-Known Member

    Hi xfrocks. A very good gesture I must say. The way to do it, is very simple. Just go to the Addon's thread which is abandoned and post the updated Addon as an attachment in a new reply in that very thread. That way you haven't created a new thread and no one can say you are "taking over" the addon and the community can get the update. I did this with a couple of addons I used in vb.org which were abandoned. Basically what I did was since I was using that addon and updated it for my site, I posted my updated addon in the Addon thread. So other people if they wanted it, they could take a look. No obligation of support on my part and people get a new update and the addon author if he returns, he can do as he pleases! :)

    Of course this solution is only viable if the addon thread is still open. (Hence my objection a few months earlier when one particular Addon author was posting Addons and asking his threads to be closed.)
    Luis likes this.
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