This is the first post in a forum category that is closed just for contributors. I’ve done this because the topic generates more heat than actual signal, and I’m (at this point) interested what you all have to say more than the internet at large. Note that this group doesn’t cover all contributors (not everyone is registered at the forum) and any discussion here is in no way binding - any license change needs to be done formally via a Github PR. Once the discussion here has reached a conclusion, whatever it may be, I intend to move this post to the general dev topic so that it’s visible for everyone.
Hello @rumpelsepp, @marco_m, @timabell, @asdil12, @Nutomic, @cdata, @bigbear2nd, @cqcallaw, @Zillode, @pyfisch, @frioux, @bsidhom, @gilli, @mdz, @jpjp, @filoozom, @KayoticSully, @AudriusButkevicius, @Cathryne, @Rewt0r and @marclaporte.
There’s always a lot of discussion going on about the license. It’s always going to be like that - some people love MIT, some love BSD, some love GPL, and of course some couldn’t care less. I’m personally an MIT kind of person, and that was the original license. Then we moved to GPLv3 for reasons. One of the things a GPL license prevents is distribution on an App Store with DRM - that’s primarily the Apple one, but probably also a Windows one etc. This doesn’t make me particularly upset, if for no other reason then just because Go stuff doesn’t really run on iOS devices anyway, and Mac users can always install it themselves.
However it seems that from the next or so version of Go, darwin-arm will be a supported architecture and iOS apps written in Go (or with a significant Go component) are possible. I think it would be neat if we could make and distribute an official Syncthing iOS app. I also think that would mitigate the “threat” of someone else taking Syncthing and charging for it without giving anything back to the community.
To accomplish that, we could go in two directions:
Switch back to the MIT license. This is a fairly simple license, being pretty much “do what you like”. People can sell syncthing in any form, modify it without contributing back, and so on. It also makes it maximally useful to the open source community and may help it become established as a de facto standard. Maybe - what do I know, I’m just speculating. This is slightly simpler than any other change, bureaucratically, since we only need to relicense the contributions made under GPL, the others are all ready MIT.
Switch to the MPLv2 license. This is a much more involved license, considering stuff like patent grants and so on. As far as I can tell, the maximum simplification is “do what you like, but you must publish source”. So it’s still fine to sell the code, incorporate it into closed source products etc, but if you modify syncthing to do it then you must publish those changes.
We can also ignore the issue, screw the app stores and license whiners, and continue using GPLv3. This is a valid choice, there’s a bunch of stuff out there that works just fine with this model.
Personally I prefer going with either MIT or MPLv2 rather than staying with GPL at this point, but I don’t care enough to try to force it on everyone else if I’m a minority vote.
For the record, these are the (43) Github nicks who will need to approve a change to MPLv2, sorted by number of commits. (Edit; this was originally a list of email addresses.)
1484 calmh 234 AudriusButkevicius 10 cqcallaw 10 KayoticSully 9 filoozoom 7 uok 6 jedie 5 pluby 5 krozycki 4 tojrobinson 4 seehuhn 4 pyfisch 4 jpjp 4 alex2108 4 Zillode 3 snnd 3 rumpelsepp 3 peterhoeg 3 marclaporte 3 frioux 3 bigbear2nd 2 veeti 2 qbit 2 marcindziadus 2 kozec 2 bsidhom 2 Cathryne 1 tnn2 1 timabell 1 piobpl 1 philips 1 mvdan 1 gillisig 1 facastagnini 1 ceh 1 cdata 1 brendanlong 1 asdil12 1 andrew-d 1 Vilbrekin 1 Rewt0r 1 Nutomic
I would like to hear from each you who see this what you think. Something as simple as “Whatever, dude” works, as well as a four page rant on the evils of GPL, but the more constructive the better - I’m already sick of this discussion.