This piece is about two things: to compile or not to compile, and to sell or not to sell. I'll address the compiling issue first.
The single reason why I've released all of my LScripts uncompiled was simple: for LScript writers who are starting out, or even those who have already begun, uncompiled, dissectible LScripts are, as they say, "a tremendous resource". As such, when I started out, the only ones available to me at that time were Bob Hood's examples in Inside LightWave 3D, in addition to, of course, the ones already included with LightWave. If I had started writing scripts when The Spread came up, I would have been, in some modest estimation, thrilled. And, of course, that was the main mission of my uncompiled LScripts. There would be gratification if indeed such mission was accomplished. But owing to a lack of proof, I am not gratified, and therefore continuance of this practice of keeping my scripts uncompiled is challenged by the inherent 'nature' of compiling at all:
The two main reasons why LScript writers compile in the first place are:
1.) Commercial Distribution: needless to say, if you're going to sell your LScript, you must compile them to a format that is not easily read, and therefore not easily distributable. Which brings on the actual issue of...
2.) Protection of Source Code: this is where the writer becomes "selfish" because he wants to keep his code from everyone but himself, though he does not necessarily intend to sell it; he just doesnt want it out. The most common rebuttle to the accusatory finger is the most obvious one, and the one that I've actually italicized for emphasis: it's his code, and he has the right to dispense with it anyway he pleases. But another possible rebuttle is that there the writer has no one to be selfish to. If no one wants the code, it doesnt matter if it is compiled. So the question arises: who would want the code? Who even cares about the code?
In the world of LScript, those who care about the code are those who write it. There's not a terribly huge market for LScripts that hackers would go even a mile to crack it - though I reckon they would not need to go that far. And it's not so much of a worry for me whether or not somebody decides to compile my scripts and/or sell them, because it's just a matter of providing some form of announcement to say that the same LScript and/or its corrival functionality is available at The Spread... for free! So in the end, in this kind of situation, I'd probably win. It hasnt happened yet, and probably wont due to the reason aforesaid.
There is, however, a bigger pot brewing, and it isnt about piracy. Though in fact, it is the bastard child of piracy: the first time I've heard the pithy "Give credit where credit is due" was in the 3D community (i.e. LightWave community). And it was rather recently that I had to uphold the "claims to credit" (or simply "claim credit") in the same community. It's a shameful thing for both me and the community to have to assert what ought to be reciprocated. And it was very unlike me to do so, and I have doubts to whether or not I should have (I do not wish to state the circumstance in detail). Needless to say a reevaluation of my 'part' was called for. It is easy enough to share - scripts, techniques, knowledge - when you know that credit will be given "where credit is due." Or failing that, at least credit will not be given where it is not due and thus avoid frustrating the other man. Or as a third acceptable outcome, the gift has been offered and received; the community is thus benefitted but no answer will be given to anyone's call for glory, fame, or even recognition.
In conclusion to the topic of compilation: I've decided thus to compile my LScripts henceforth, the primary reason being of my solicitude over the community in the cirumstance I mentioned above. My secondary and augmenting reason is that no one practically benefits from uncompiled scripts, at least to my knowledge. All existing uncompiled LScripts belonging to The Spread will, at the soonest time possible, be replaced with their compiled counterparts. The only exception will be those whose performance suffers, or is inoperable, when compiled. I am open to the option of sending the source code to some of my scripts if any script writer feels that he / she would learn something from it. Just drop me a line so I can assess and then decide.
Now we come to the topic of "to sell or not to sell." Money makes the world go 'round, doesnt it? Now I need to address this commercial issue lest the statements that I made above regarding compilation, reinforced by LScript's "non-commercial" demeanor, is misconstrued to assume that LScripts' functionality level is perpetually sub-par with plug-ins compiled from the SDK (e.g. .p plug-ins), for the primary reason is that the only plug-ins that have been 'traditionally' sold are those of the SDK-category. A fellow LightWaver and LScript writer related a story and expressed that, through his interactions with some people who used his scripts, to some these people, the costlessness made its functionality to be perceived less than what was actual. This "less-functionality-because-it's free" mentality is, obviously, nonsense and there is no need to discuss the vacuity of such a presumption. From my point of view, however, I do not care much for perceived worth: either it's useful to some or useless to others. But the real problem wasnt so much of the perceived worth, per se, as it was resulting cavilling attitude towards these scripts, and eventaully towards the script writer. Is this a qualified reason to start selling LScripts? Or is my friend's opinion erroneous? I do not truly know, and I have had only one situation that vaguley resembles such a cirumstance (also something that I do not wish to specifically delineate.
Now, the other side to this is that of this egalitarian streak I have (if you hadnt picked up on it by now). I've always prided in the community who made free things and contributed in the spirit of helping rather than to make some name or some money only ("only" being an operative word). But I do understand fully the want (if not the need) to make money out of writing plug-ins, and I absolutely nothing against those who do sell. In fact I am truly glad for them for that people would go and buy their plug-ins or LScripts because it was very useful. I would like to expound on the egalitarian aspect more, but it's rather left-of-center than what I suppose more than some are accustomed to. So I think I'll pass.
To conclude the topic of commercial distribution: I do not plan to sell my scripts, at least in the near future. The issue I really ever had with selling scripts is that others may not be able to benefit because it is not free. I am unsure how true or how false this is. I do not believe in attaching a price tag to denote how much something is really worth. What I do believe is respect and gratuity. But sometimes I do honestly wonder the threshold of such respect and gratuity when they arent adorned with dollar signs.
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