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I think Aero Glass should be open source. Here's why.

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(Note: this text is written for and directed at Big Muscle. Just pointing it out in case that the "you"s looks a bit wierd to you (the person reading this text))

Let me first get the most important thing out of the way: You CAN make money with open source software. In many ways actually:

  • You can charge for the convenicance of auto updates
  • You can charge for direct support (for example, via email or via a private discord chat)
  • You can charge for the convenicance of having an already compiled binary version (which is especially true on windows; on linux for example, you usually git clone the repo, cd into it and type `make && sudo make install` and that's it. On Windows though...)
  • You can make (optional) donations

Speaking of donations: what you offer on your website, those are NOT donations. Those are payments. It is NOT freeware. You just get a free demo version. A donation is something optional. The point of a donation is not to get something back from it (besides maybe the knowladge of having helped someone/-thing or maybe getting a "Thank you" mail from them), but purely to support someone/-thing. And I want to mention that that is the only reason why I actually paid 5 bucks for it: not because I care about the watermark (if that would be my only reason, I could have just used a cracked version, and yes, I DID have a working one back then, but I didn't use it), but because I want this project to stay alive. In other words: I am pretty shure that a lot of peole donated just for support, or at least partially.

Anyways, I of course know that there are not only positive things about open sourceing this software, namely:

  • You may not make the exact same amount of money from "donations"*
  • You may unveal your secrets*

However, both of these arguments are very weak. The first one I already talked about above. For the second one: opening this app would mean that a lot more developers could integrate it (as in making their app compatible with it, not as in stealing your code; the only app I know of that supports aero glass is Winstep Nexus, and that one only works when it really wants to, which, as a dev explained to me, is not their fault). It would allow other people to learn about windows from (because, as described on glass8.eu, it uses undocumented windows features). TL;DR both arguments are... bad.

Now let's finally get to why I think it should be open sourced:

  • You (Big Muscle) are not able to maintain this on your own, or at least not in a way that I would concider acceptable for a paid app. Often times, this app gets a fix about 1-2 months before the next major update comes out, which will break it again. And again. And again.
  • This app would be accessable to a lot more people.
  • It would improve the user experiance since it will allow updates to be completed much, much faster.
  • You would not have to stem this project all on your own anymore, which, again, you're not able to. Almost the entire forum is just "It doesn't work" posts.
  • As described previosly, third party compatibility could also be improved massively.

A concern you may have is others missusing your code to make money on. This is actually not a problem. You can either use the GNU GPL (or similar), which will technically not prevent your code from being commericallized, but since every modification that is being made availably has to also be opensourced under the same license (or a newer version), it is very unrealistic to think that someone would actually do it, exept maybe in those ***** bundles. While some apps (like OpenOffice or 7-zip, see here ) do suffer from this problem, I, again, don't think that such a tool like AeroGlass would really suffer from this. Alternatively, you can also write your own license, for example like this (this is not legal advaise):



AreoGlass sample open source license. Copyright © 2013-2020 Big Muscle. All rights reserved.

You are allowed to share this program, in binary or in source code form, in a modified or unmodified state, as long as you follow these terms:

  1. The original, unmodified license and a link to glass8.eu must be provided alongside the program / the source code.
  2. This program or its source code may not be sold, rented or otherwise be used in a way that commerical gain is achieved by any form of use of this program without prior written permission from its author. Specifically, it may not be included in "software bundles" or "bundle discs". You may not share this program in a "bundle installer" which installs programs unrelated to AeroGlass, specifically it may not inclued "adware" or other forms of ads without prior written permission.
  3. The license may not be changed in any way without prior written permission from its author.



Of course, the above mentiond "license" is only one of many ways it could be done (and, again, it is not legal advise).


I hope that you will change your mind about this program and it's licensing and distribution, as it would gain both you and even more so it's community. Cheers.

Edited by SkyyySi
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Perhaps another option could be to include a few other devs who can help squash bugs and prep AG for upcoming Windows builds while keeping the paradigm the same. Of course, these devs would need to agree and be trusted by @bigmuscle but this could be a sensible middle ground.

Edited by emkay85
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  • 2 months later...

Some folks may be being a bit naïve here...

Hypothetically speaking, what if an author of unsanctioned software became legally compelled not to reveal his algorithms (nor to reveal even a hint that he is so compelled)?  It is clearly NOT allowed to reverse engineer any part of Windows.  Microsoft's wealthy; their reach is long. 

Hate to say it, but the arrangement of the electrons in your SSD is not yours; ignore the rules at your peril, especially if you influence others.  Everyone has to live in this world and no one can remain anonymous, especially not if there are financial transactions involved.  Business law is arguably the most powerful branch of law.


Think for a moment about software that flies in the face of Microsoft's Marketing, who absolutely want THEIR system to look a certain way WITHOUT any augmenting tools by meddling hackers.  They HAD Aero Glass, which worked great with GPUs far less powerful than the ones we have now, and they eliminated it ON PURPOSE.  Not because they found it difficult to do technically, but because a change in look and feel are important to marketers (who, by definition are paid to manipulate customers).  They have an agenda and their goals may not be even close to what most folks think they are or should be.

Also, when Windows fails, who do you think provides support (however nearly impossible it is to get and useless it may be)?  Even someone having to download their own new copy of Windows and re-activate costs Microsoft, who run the servers and pay for the internet access.  And what about good will?  If you add something questionable to your copy of Windows, then post online "what a POS Windows is when it keeps crashing", who's paying for even one potential customer who read that and didn't buy (or delayed buying) a license?  Microsoft hating seems common, but it's still not good for Microsoft.  Why do you think the big companies keep edging toward walled-garden App Stores?  More control, less cost.

I believe we've seen the end of an era.  Thanks, Big Muscle, for all you did to ease the pain of transition from something elegant to something else.  RIP, Windows 8 and earlier.


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Excuse me, but is is possible you replied to the wrong thread? I don't see why changing this tool from closed to open source would change ANYTHING for Microsoft. If this tool has been developed by clean room reverse engineering, which bigmuscle states he did,  there's nothing Microsoft could do about it. And why should they? It's not like this tool becoming open source would suddenly hurt Microsoft. Like, at all. If anything, big muscle currently sells an app based on Microsoft's design.


> but because a change in look and feel are important to marketers


It was actually done simply because a gaussian blur effect and other 3D effects are very resource hungry. If you look closer, you'll see that Windows 8's design is just a (in a few places made boxier) small variation from Windows 7, at least in terms of traditional Windows apps. The desicion to remove the aero was made pretty much at the end of development, *probably* because that's when they began optimizing it for tablets in terms of performance. See:


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MS is putting Acrylic into so many parts of the OS that we really don't need Aeroglass any more.  Windows looks just fine without it, and the development of Aeroglass has always been at least one year behind development of Windows so I, even having donated, haven't used it in years.

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On 11/25/2020 at 12:45 PM, dhjohns said:

MS is putting Acrylic into so many parts of the OS that we really don't need Aeroglass any more.  Windows looks just fine without it, and the development of Aeroglass has always been at least one year behind development of Windows so I, even having donated, haven't used it in years.

Yeah I stopped using it a few builds ago when it stopped getting updated. I liked it, sure. Great app. But now I use Curtains which does just what I need. Shame really that MS just wont put acrylic into the things we want lol.

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