Bruce Momjian: Will Postgres live forever? – Software Life Cycle

This is the craziest open source story I’ve ever heard. And I just want to kind of give you an outline of what this is. And I only know about it because my oldest son loves playing a game called Falcon 4 which was released in 1984. Or, I’m sorry, started developing in 1984. I think the first release was maybe ‘89. And they released all the way through the ‘90s. I’m not sure I remember what year he was really involved, it was in the late mid to late ‘90s, that he was involved in this game. And in 1998, they released their final version, which is Falcon 4, okay. Spectrum Hollobyte was the company they owned the software, they were proprietary, so they kind of controlled it. 

And then 1999, they decided we’re not going to develop it anymore. There wasn’t a market for it. They didn’t feel they could really innovate anymore, and just kind of stopped on it. But then a weird thing happened in 2000. Somebody leaked the software to the internet. I don’t know who it was, it was only leaked for maybe a couple of weeks. But it was leaked long enough. So some people grabbed it. And they created a group called Benchmark Sims, which effectively took this lead software, and laid it over top of the installed software. So even though they had control of all the software, they knew legally, they weren’t allowed to sell or use that software, so they could only enhance somebody who already owned the game. 

So 2003, they released something called Benchmark Sims, which is community modifications on top of this proprietary game 2005, a company called Lead Pursuit takes the open source mods, and includes it in a new game. So it goes back to closed source, and something called Allied Force, then in 2015 10 years later, people are still playing this game, and they can’t find the CDs anymore. 

So as well as released, actually the CDs you could buy for Falcon 4 for the game from 1998. It’s been on Steam since 2016. So it’s another way to get it. And then in 2021, in October this year, two months ago, BMS released a new version of this game, so it’s gone from closed, open to closed to open to closed again, I don’t even know where it is now. In fact, the current version cannot be sold as a product, there’s a license requirement. So it’s not like open in the same way. So I don’t even know how to explain it. But my point is, and this is illustrative, that because of the leak of the software, this game is still around 20 plus years after it’s ended development. 

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