Giving users the power to customize proprietary software

  1. Listen Featured Audio

Download MP3iTunes

Researchers at the University of Washington are working on a project that could, in effect, make any proprietary software open source.

Prefab works not on the underlying software source code, but on the pixels that all programs put on screens. Prefab would allows users to change those pixels around to create new features in all their programs.

Guest: James Fogarty, University of Washington

2 Responses to “Giving users the power to customize proprietary software”

  1. david z says:

    You’ve got an serious misunderstanding of what open source is. It does not refer merely to programs that you can tinker with. It involves programs that you can tinker with easily and share with your friends and neighbors.

    Making some changes to the user interface of a program doesn’t make it open.

    Changing the UI doesn’t allow me to port the program to a new computer. It doesn’t allow me to share it with someone else. It doesn’t allow me to make fundamental changes to what the underlying software can do.

    Just because the software authors raise the open source label doesn’t mean that it should be used in reporting on the technology.

  2. Jon Gordon says:

    You make a fair point.