Well it seems I'm obliged to eat my own foot, the demo's not finished. The coding is even harder than I first expected, but I'm making progress, and I'm hoping to have it ready by this time next week. One of the course criteria is about setting goals and deadlines, hopefully the focus isn't on meeting them.
Meanwhile I wanted to talk about free-ware and open-source, see over the exam period I tinkered with a program advertised on the class blog called endorphin http://www.naturalmotion.com/index.htm (natural motion software, character physics simulation, basically rag-doll on steroids), it's not free-ware 'gah' but I got the trial edition. Even with this free version it was clear to see that it didn't follow an open source philosophy. The program itself is entertaining, easy to use and relatively glitch free, but the endorphin user community is one of the most irritating and frustrating groups around.
You install the program, and instead of getting straight into it you are re-directed to the endorphin website where you are made to enter your name, email address, age, nationality and a whole bunch of other stuff. After this is done they tell you to check your email, five minutes later you receive the email telling you to go back to the endorphin website and activate your account. Only once you have registered as an forum user can you get the little bit of code which allows you to use the program. What's more is every time you open the program it will try to log you on to the endorphin website and encourage you to buy the full version.
Now imagine the whole process on dial-up, and that's pretty much why open-source is the best thing ever. Think that's a weak argument? I don't care.