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20 January 2010, 13:41

Mozilla's Bespin rebooted, to be GPL compatible

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The Mozilla Labs Bespin project, to create a web based integrated development environment which makes use of cloud functionality, is undergoing a reboot aimed at making Bespin easier to work with and extend. Bespin was introduced in February 2009 by Ben Galbraith and Dion Almear. In September 2009, Galbraith and Almear moved to Palm, which in turn led to an opportunity to remodel the project. The reboot's progress has been detailed in a posting by Kevin Dangoor on the Mozilla Lab's Bespin Blog.

The release of an alpha version of Bespin Embedded 0.6, (codename "Ash") is a step on the path to completing the rebooting of Bespin. The new version includes support for plug-ins, a rewriting of the editor as a SproutCore component, the merging of commands and actions to a simpler command system, an improved editor command line and the ability to install the system either as a easy to "drop in" version or as a fully customisable version.

Possibly more important for a developing project, it has become easier to become involved in the development of Bespin. The developers have now made the system available with snapshots of the tools used to build the software. This includes the SproutCore JavaScript Applications Framework, the Closure compiler and the YUI compressor JavaScript minifier, along with Bespin's Python based 'dryice' build tool.

Originally, Bespin was released under the Mozilla Public Licence, but the Free Software Foundation say that the MPL is not compatible with the GPL. After feedback and with "the kind permission of Bespin contributors from around the world", Bespin is becoming tri-licenced under the MPL, GPL or LGPL. This is the same style of licensing as used with Mozilla's Firefox and allows developers to select the license they wish to use the software under.

Update - Kevin Dangoor, Bespin project lead, has commented on this story pointing out that the reboot project was conceived during the summer before Galbraith and Almear moved to Palm, despite the timing making it look related. "We just had a lot of learning from the first phase of Bespin to roll into the code".


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