I wrote a huge rant in response to the Oct-Nov discussions about my dismay of switching to GPL, and now I am very pleasantly surprised to come across this more recent discussion and see that Aral / ind.ie came to the realization of the limitations of the GPL!! I’m all for a Stallmanian utopia where all software is GPLv3, we all have Star Trek replicators so no programmers starve, but we aren’t there yet, and in today’s world, GPL is brutally impractical, (especially for something like syncthing that might be useful as a library,) and therefore repulsive to a huge chunk of developers.
I think SyncThing/Pulse looks awesome and set up a bunch of shares across 6 devices, but then was about to write it off as a user due to lack of app store compatibility. I want an open source bittorrent sync replacement, and I have that on iOS/Android but it looks like SyncThing can’t go on iOS, and new features/bugfixes can’t be brought over to the swift port since they are derived works of GPL software…problem!! And I was about to write it off as a potential developer who could contribute bugfixes/small features, because I work on mobile apps and games that get deployed to app stores (I’m actually considering a sync mechanism for a mobile and perhaps console game, as well as some eventually open sourced (MIT libraries) to support it), where GPL and LGPL are both no-go’s. When I see *GPL, my brain thinks “you’re dead to me” and moves on. It’s not a philosophical choice, it’s my reality. And I am not alone.
As much as I wanted to unload my beautiful unabridged rant against the anti-freedom GPL and LGPL (MPL is ok with me), it looks like peacemaking is needed now:
Guys, PLEASE don’t let petty misunderstandings undermine what could be a great synergistic relationship, or put the future of what should be a BitTorrent Sync killer (and eventually DropBox et al killer, and foundation for a facebook killer,) in jeopardy! So take a breath! 1) Aral makes the dig at spyware companies as part of his regular ind.ie schtick – it’s clear to me it wasn’t directed at Jakob. 2) Also, Aral wasn’t being disingenuous/FUDding about the GPL and derived works. Jakob has a very valid point about fixes being derived works of a GPL, but what constitutes “so inspired it is a derived work” is very much a fuzzy thing that is open to interpretation and Aral just didn’t seem to be as concerned. Why? First, he has a point that algorithms (such as trivial bug fixes?) can’t be copyrighted in their purest form, so that may eliminate the need to find alternative fixes in some cases, (albeit the person who reads GPL syncthing code to determine what is a trivial fix may be “tainted” and unable to contribute to a MIT codebase.) But perhaps Aral does not fully understand how being inspired by GPL bugfixes/commits may taint code as derived work of GPL and therefore be infected by the GPL virus. Or maybe he thinks he and his people have the resources to do clean-room implementations. In any case, there’s no reason for the discussion to get heated. 3) In the context of Aral’s grandiose vision of displacing Facebook, pulse/syncthing is just one small component, but to Jakob and users like me, syncthing is a pretty big deal right now as a standalone cross-platform application! We each have different perspectives about how it is useful to us – don’t get bent out of shape. Some of us think BTSync replacement is big potatoes, while others think that Facebook replacement is big potatoes (and anything else is small potatoes.) And I want to include some sort of peer to peer sharing/sync in apps I make – that could be the kind of thing Aral was referring to when he said it could be a component of something larger. 4) I would think it would be good to not resent ind.ie for not contributing back yet – I’m guessing they have a lot of software to write and adding v2.0 features to syncthing will come but it’s not the biggest bang for their limited buck at this point.
I have been waiting for years and downloaded tons of crappy closed source non-cross platform sync software over the years (one was so good, FreeFileSync, I put up with it even though it defaulted to install Conduit malware in its installer, and I accidentally installed it once. Holy cow! So much for my extreme disdain for malware purveyors.) SyncThing/Pulse/ind.ie is too good of an idea to blow up from misunderstanding in a few messages. BitTorrent Inc., closed a thread in their forums that was advertising SyncThing too much. That’s how I found out about it. You’re sticking it to the man! Keep it up!
You two appear to be prone to emotional overreaction, and hasty decision making (so don’t feel bad about changing your mind – making bad decisions is fine as long as you’re not too stubborn to fix them.) Realize these weaknesses and be prepared to gracefully deal with the consequences, (as you grow out of these weaknesses.) But neither of you guys is mean-spirited. You guys should be friends. Trust me.
So I say pick MIT (or MPLv2) and get on with making beautiful music together!