A Nerdy Proposal…

Seeing that it’s a Friday here in the New York tri-state area, I figured I’d take a break from all the over analysis that Martin and I conduct and relate a slightly humorous, if not sappy, example of the fallout that open source and community-driven software is having on people’s attitudes within the software industry.

I came across this story in the local newspaper this week. Bernie Peng, a financial software programmer from Jersey City altered a homebrew version of his girlfriend’s favorite game, “Bejeweled,” so when she reached a certain score the screen would clear and a ring and marriage proposal would pop up. Lucky for Bernie she said yes.

But get this. Rather than being upset that their game was hacked, PopCap, the Seattle-based company that manufacturers “Bejeweled,” is flying the couple to Seattle as part of their honeymoon and supplying over 200 copies of “Bejeweled 2 Deluxe” as gifts to wedding guests.

According to the story, Peng, who recreated the program for the Nintendo DS, used the C++ programming language. This, despite the fact that PopCap has never produced a version of “Bejeweled” for the DS, which is known as a difficult system to program.

“Most video game companies would frown on people manipulating their games,” said Garth Chouteau, a spokesperson for PopCap, in the article. “This is somebody who knows what they’re doing.”

Ten years ago, a reaction such as this would have flown in the face of everything that the software industry held true. Simply put, many in the software industry have caught onto the notion of community-developed…legal or illegal…software initiatives, and open source is no doubt to thank for that.

On the flip side, at least Peng didn’t resort to using one of these: