Make any program open source

Well, kind of. A system out of University of Washington effectively does that, by manipulating pixels instead of code

Imagine if all software were open source and you could, with a little tweaking, customize everything to your liking.Prefab. Here's a video they created to show how Prefab would "add new functionality to Adobe Photoshop, Apple iTunes, and Microsoft Windows Media Player":

I'm not even going to pretend I understand how this works, but a pair of computer science/engineering profs at the University of Washington have come up with a system that will allow you to do just that, called

Basically, just by maneuvering pixels and imbuing them with the original funcationality, it enables the user to manipulate software while working within another program - editing an Adobe Photoshop file without having Photoshop open, for example (among the examples in the video).

Fogarty explained in an announcement from the university:

"Microsoft and Apple aren't going to open up all their stuff. But they all create programs that put pixels on the screen. And if we can modify those pixels, then we can change the program's apparent behavior."

The implications for such a system are huge. It also could allow people with various disabilities to layer over adaptations that make it easier for them to work with certain programs, as the Seattle PI pointed out. They're delivering a paper on it at the Association for Computing Machinery's Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems conference next month in Atlanta.

But most of all, it'll make proprietary software makers really ticked off and lots of users pretty happy, no?

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