Original Col will always be "The Game", as will Civ 1;
But it's time Firaxis relased the source code, so the game can finally be played smoothly on modern hardware without special tools, as well as without the ancient memory limitations, units disppearing during the game, etc. (Heck, they've made a WINDOWS version of the game, with inferior graphics but with all the 16 bits limitations. Makes tons of sense, doesn't it. I played the original in the 90's and believe me, that was upsetting even then.)
I have faith in Free Col, however, not as "Free Colonization", but as the project,which keeps eveolving towards making our dreams of Col 2 a reality; something that designers of the original Col or it's remake never cared to do.
Sarcasm or not, that's another reason for them to do so!
Didn't Firaxis announce their intent to relase Source for some classic titles like Civ & Col in the near future?
It may not be a common practice but it's not that uncommon either. It's simply very nice gesture towards faithful fans; when a compamy has long ceased to deveop a program which still enjoys popularity. With games they typically relase the code but keep the multimedia copyrighted, so you still have to own the title to play it legally. Activision has already relased Source code For Civ: Call to Power on those terms.
I would love them to release the original Col Source code because the original is even better than the remake and dont get me started on freecol thanks to its heavy use of Java it runs slower than dirt.
Original Colonization have good old school graphics. It is pity, that graphics and text are hard encoded in files and exes (both in PC and Amiga versions), so it is not possible to "mod" it. I once had idea about making modern colonization game based on original, for example modern way of re-colonizing Africa or something like that.