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 Apr 06, 2010 - 12:00 PM - by Michael
* Prefab FTW

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PC Games/Hardware/Microsoft
Looking to "open source" a closed-source program? Take a look at Prefab, a screen-aware utility option.

Rather than trying to break into the program code and have to deal with ensuing legal challenges, James A Fogarty and Morgan Dixon from the University of Washington have come up with a way of manipulating just about any software application at the pixel level and effectively redrawing it together with any user interface enhancements or controls added in. "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," said Fogarty.

Almost everything that appears on a display is made up of prefabricated blocks of code (such as buttons, dialog boxes, scroll bars and so on). The Prefab tool looks for such code blocks as many as 20 times per second and alters the way they behave. So adding elements from one program into another is made possible without so much as touching the code that runs either.
It's not available for the public yet - but here's hoping!
 

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