How Lightworks Falsely Rides Open Source Publicity Train


2 years ago, Lightworks made a promise to the open source community.  A promise that has made them darlings of the open source spotlight.  A promise that the have yet to fulfill.  One blogger takes serious issue with this lack of fullfilment, and rightly so.  Blogger Nekohayo offers in depth insight into the failed promises of Editshare.

What’s interesting here is where Nekohayo points his finger.  In this case, his finger is pointed squarely on a lie they’ve been telling.  The lie of being open source.

From the post:

EditShare announcedtwo years ago their intention to make Lightworks “open-source” someday, and that’s it. They have never released any source code since then. A code drop was planned for 2011 and it was postponed indefinitely. Calling Lightworks an “award-winning open-source video editor” currently is a lie. Even if they do open-source it someday, until the very day they do so, that statement remains a lie. Such a statement can only be a “truth” when you start saying it after the source code has actually been released under an open-source license.

He certainly has a point.  You can’t call your project open source prematurely.  Doing so would naturally make potential users eager to see the code.  But in this case, Nekohayo claims that they’ve been able to ride the open source publicity train due to journalistic ignorance masking their inability to deliver.  He doesn’t go so far as to say that this has all been a publicity stunt, since that has yet to be seen.  Though it certainly seems that way from this writer’s vantage point.

His words:

However, after all these years, most of the blogs or news sites (including the most popular ones) still don’t bother checking for factual accuracy and just blindly accept what corporate press releases tell them they should believe. I would have thought they would have woken up and grown more careful with time, but the situation has generally not improved, to the point where I am now compelled to say this now, officially, in public: Lightworks is currently not open-source and never has been. Furthermore, if it ever is open-sourced,it most likely won’t be anywhere close to a truly open project.

 What do you guys think?  Let us know in the comments.

Source | Nekohayo!

About Dean Howell

Aside from being a huge Sega fan, Dean is an LPIC certified Linux professional with over a decade experience. In addition to spending his free time burning through the classics from Sega and evangelizing open source, he's also the editor-in-cheif of The Powerbase.
  • terry

    Ive produced a few award winning films on Youtube using KDEnlive and Audacity, two open source programs. Most of what is written is true, just like Lightworks sound bytes.

    Open is the new green man.

    It doesnt have to ‘mean’ anything man… its ‘open’ is one of those things that gets its own air quotes.

    I have to agree with the blogger. It is NOT an open source project and should not call itself as such.

    • Bombix

      As a student filmmaker, I have to point out that the ‘open source’ question is simply moot for someone like me. It is a competent editing software package that costs virtually nothing. I’m a great believer in open source as an ideology, but practically speaking, from the point of view of many users, it has little impact on our side. Just saying.

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  • dslf

    I absolutely agree on that. Editshare made just a PR stunt. If you criticise them on their forums for just that, you’ll get banned.

  • jaeming

    Sorry, I know this post is quite old now but I just came across it. I think they did announce things too early with their intent to open-source. However I do think there is a lot of good-will with the Editshare guys, they took on a very ambitious project when they acquired Lightworks. I know many old Lightworks users are glad they did as the alternative would have been an end of life to this classic NLE.

    Now they’ve released a free version for everyone to use and are only charging a small subscription price to users who need more codecs and features. I think this subscription price would barely cover their licensing fees for the codecs, not to mention their time put into software development. I think the announcement of open sourcing the product was to answer users questions as to what they planned to do with their Lightworks acquisition. Many people thought it was going to die and still worried after Editshare picked it up, so I see that Open Source announcement as their clarification that not only were they continuing development, but they were taking measures to ensure Lightworks would never disappear again.

    I don’t think it’s fair to condemn them yet as they’ve not actually finished the ports for Linux and OS X.

    It’s taken them a long time to get the code ported to Linux (The Beta development is now moving pretty well) and we haven’t even seen an OS X alpha yet. It does seem they are prioritizing the Linux version over the OS X port, which is strange from a commercial perspective as they would probably have much more luck getting Pro subscribers from the Mac crowd, who as marketing sense tells us, are more prone to spending money on software than Desktop Linux users.

    This tells me that the announcement to open source, while somewhat premature, was not done from a marketing perspective.

    I, myself am looking forward to them getting to a place where they can release a stable version on Linux, after which I foresee them moving on to the next priority of releasing the code.
    Then any interested developers can add support for more codecs or features and the community developed version will most likely become more powerful than the Free version currently available.

    Or that’s my hope anyway. Time will tell.