Present Perfect


Picture Gallery
Present Perfect

Free Software at work

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 10:27 am

10:27 am

Today someone at work asked me what graphing component our stats portal uses. I didn’t know either, so I took a look in our website code. Seems we use something called Open Flash Chart. I’m not a big fan of Flash for the obvious reasons, but it sure does get the job done and looks pretty doing it.

Quote from their website:

And it’s really free?!

Yes. Once upon a time I had to deal with a company who sell flash charting components, their component had a bug that I needed fixing, so I emailed them about it asking when it’d be fixed. (Remember that I had paid real money for this software.) They were so incompetent, rude and obnoxious that after three or four weeks of emails I thought to myself “I could learn Flash and Actionscript and write my own charting component, release it as Open Source, host it on sourceforge and build up a community of helpful coders faster than they can fix a single bug.” And that is what I did. And that is why it is free. I guess the moral of the lesson is: don’t piss off your customers.

How can any Free Software hacker not like that story ? Don’t piss off your customers, put into practice.


  1. You’ve got to love the example chart for the “Gothic Department”

    Comment by fons — 2008-5-7 @ 11:05 am

  2. That project website is awesome. It’s like how the SQLite site was before most of the content was moved off the front page to make way for the sponsors. It describes clearly and easily for anyone who stumbles upon the project exactly what it does and how you use it. Would that more free software websites had front pages like that, instead of the advertising gunk and blog effluvia you usually get.

    – Chris

    Comment by Chris Cunningham — 2008-5-7 @ 11:46 am

  3. Thanks for the link, I got quite a bit of traffic from it :-)

    There are some nice people who program Gnash (GPL flash clone) who are trying to get the charts working in Gnash.

    I am also praying that Adobe do the right thing and open source the flash player. At the moment you can compile flash apps using a GPL compiler that they released. So one day it may become GPL from start to end…. *crosses fingers*

    Any hoooooo, thanks again :-)


    Comment by monk.e.boy — 2008-5-26 @ 6:59 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment