GrafX2 - Free Software
After a long - very long - period of stagnation, GrafX2 is reaching a new stage in its life.
We really wanted to continue its development, encouraged by the repeated requests from users, but we now have to admit that we don't have enough time to carry on with our program. Some people asked us to port it to Linux (we have even been asked for a Mac version!), or to release it as Open Source. At that time, we refused. Partially by pride ; the pride to let the understanding of other platforms programming for another day, the pride to refuse free access to sources that took us quite some time. But above all, to avoid showing the whole community how ugly our code is.
Time passes. The code becomes dusty. So does our memory of the structure of the program. Add that to a code sometimes hard to read, with comments that are not always relevant for understanding, when existing, and you'll see why we have problems ourselves to dive back into it.
Time passes and our pride is starting to change. Under its current shape, GrafX2 has no more future. VESA is to disappear. It's a matter of months, of weeks, of days. For some of you it's already done. I'm even asking myself why writing the sentence using the future. Do we have to forget all this work? Hasn't it any chance to be useful to anyone, somehow?
I remember the first intensive month we spent to design/write GrafX2, when we were always asking "HOW the f*ck do they do?!". It's a big question because it requires reflection, creation, comparisons... You make lots of tests to see if one method can work, if it is as good as other programs you use as models. Would it be better? How can we propose something that goes further, better? But the time comes when you can't guess everything by yourself. Because you don't have the time to build everything from scratch by yourself. Because you don't have the required knowledge. And then you seek for information somewhere else. You try to find articles from demomakers that could give you hints ro reaching your goal. In the worst case, you try to dig in some scientific research papers, but you never find all the practical information you would need. And then you start dreaming that a huge book called "This is HOW we did!" exists, and that you catch it...
Thus, GrafX2 is mutating. After being a simple tool written for our own needs in its original version, then an application designed to meet the graphists who grew at Deluxe Paint's and Degas Elite's school, entering the hard drive of a few video games designers thanks to people like Profil or Made, then completely occluded by big programs like PhotoShop, Aura, Painter, Promotion... the time we spent to make it can now be used in two ways. The first one would be that some motivated and gentle people take up the torch and push it further on new OSes. You have the choice : Windows, Linux, Mac, every Unix oriented systems (Solaris, Dec, MacOSX, ...), BeOS, LegoOS, or even game consoles (why not, after all?). The second one is to exist under the shape of available resources for programmers who, as we did before, would ask themselves: "HOW the f*ck do they do?!". Of course, we're certainly not using each time the best techniques, but at least they're working.
In order to facilitate the work of people who would like to jump in the adventure of reading and understanding our code, we propose a few things: Making a set of web pages explaining what looks the most important to us, and maybe what is the least clear, such as the different parts of the engine (graphic operations, interfaces), or some techniques like a robust floodfill, circles/ellipses plotting, ... Making a list of people who would like to continue GrafX2 and make new tools, to help them having contacts if they want help from other people like them. We won't be able to take the time to translate all the code and its comments in English, but to help non french-speaking people, we think about making a small dictionnary of the most frequently used words in our code.
Hoping that, under this new lighting, GrafX2 will find a way to be useful to you, we wish you good luck and courage.
Robinson & X-Man