Syncthing is going to be relicensed as MPLv2

References for those of you who don’t already know them by heart because you don’t spend your evenings reading licenses:

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You have my permission to license my one trivial contribution as you see fit.

+1 for staying GPL and screw the app store.l

I have no problem with my email address being public. It’s in the git logs anyway :wink:

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I would prefer using a copyleft license like MPLv2 or GPLv3. I wouldn’t like MIT that much.

I am fine with any of those 3 licenses.

I’m one of those that doesn’t spend my evenings reading licenses however after a “quick” glance at them all and looking at what you @calmh, have had to say, I vote for the MPLv2.

I like GPLv3 the most, because no one can take the code, close it down and sell it. MPL also sounds good. Though I wouldn’t oppose a change back to MIT if a majority wants that.

I’m also putting the license change for syncthing-android on hold until this is decided.


I am ok with any of the licenses proposed by @calmh for my trivial contributions.

I vote MPLv2 but would be fine with any of these three.

Hey Jakob. My 2 cents, in order of priority: MPL2, MIT, GPL. Any choice you make is fine :smile:

Hi Jakob & all!

Thanks for bringing this up.

My preference would have been to keep MIT as it was in the beginning. But then, as now, I support whatever the project leadership thinks is best. This was the thread:

I was part of a team that moved Bootstrap from Apache to MIT for easier inclusion in (L)GPL web apps. Over 350 committers had to agree and in the end, we couldn’t reach some people, and some commits had to be rewritten: Migrate to MIT License · Issue #2054 · twbs/bootstrap · GitHub → Not fun. Syncthing is still young. The longer we go, the harder it will get to make such changes. If we are to make a change (and I prefer that we do), let’s do it now, even if that means rewriting some commits. It’s much easier to move in one direction (towards GPLv3) than the other (MIT) because you can say the project is now license X, and it includes all this previous code of a more permissive license. This being said, we see that licenses are a touchy subject and some get an uneasy feeling when a project changes it. So ideally, we would stick with this license for foreseeable future.

The most important thing is that Syncthing can be deployed to all kinds of platforms and it becomes a universal solution to sync anything with anything. So an official iOS app will be a big win. Down the road, I would love to be able to buy a phone / tablet / TV / hard drive / NAS / router / whatever with Syncthing pre-installed. I am not worried about some trying to close up the code. Code evolves and especially for a P2P app, it’s in everyone’s interest to upstream and keep in sync with the community.

The license shouldn’t make it unduly difficult to include code we may want to include. I am not aware if this is or not a real issue, but just mentioning it in case.

Aral Balkan reported being OK with MPLv2 or MIT:

So this reduces friction to collaboration. I realize projects have different goals, and code bases will diverge more & more over time, but even if we only get a few fixes, it’s a good thing. And we can hope for more.

Ideally, all downstream projects (installers, wizards, system trays, etc.) would use the same license to minimize any potential friction of collaboration or transfer. I expect they will all follow suit, if asked.

So all in all, slight preference for MIT, all fine with MPLv2. Let’s get this done and get back to making Syncthing even more awesome!!

Best regards,

M :wink:

Some related links: (MPL 1.1 not 2 on the current chart) Discussion of license implications (GPL, LGPL, MPL2, MIT, iOS, App Stores)

Syncthing seems to have been under real threat of being forked at least once (thinking of, and I hope that the license Syncthing uses enables Syncthing to benefit equally from important or novel changes made to the fork.

Your stewardship of this project has been excellent and fun to watch. I’m not a lawyer, but I trust your judgement with regards to switching to a more permissive license. If MPLv2 makes the most sense to you, let’s switch to it.

Ignoring app stores would IMHO be an unwise move, hence +1 for MPLv2 from me. MIT would be fine as well. In either case: thanks for starting this discussing and involving even the small contributors :smile:

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Cool. So far I’m hearing a consensus that says MPLv2 is acceptable – some do have a preference for MIT or GPL instead, and again some have objections to MIT or GPL, but no one has voiced an objection to MPLv2 so far.

Fully agreed. This project will change license at most once more, and then never again under my leadership at least. :wink:

I’m contra MIT (doens’t protect the freedom of the work), slightly contra MPL and pro GPL. I’m just not entirely sure who will help defending us with a MPL license (in constrast to GPL and FSF).

If we stick to GPLv3, we should initiate a contribution agreement, similar to owncloud ( or chatsecure ( This would allow us to distribute the ST core to the appstore without problems.

We could do GPLv3 + CLA, yes. That would require setting up a recipient for the CLA though (a foundation or corporation of some kind) and is generally more work than I feel up to. So for practical reasons I kind of ignored that option in the original proposal, even though it’s certainly a possibility…

I am contra MIT as it doesn’t protect the freedom. If somebody want’s to sell his own syncthing like program he could implement his own based on the MIT licensed protocol. I personally prefer GPL and I would screw the app store (or do that GPLv3 + CLA thing until apple experiences an epiphany).

I am also ok with MPLv2 even though I am a bit worried about that scope thing. But I am not a lawyer and I think you will go in the right direction.

It sounds like most who are active on the forum and have an opinion have chimed in and I find that there is no significant opposition to changing to MPLv2, and I think it would be good for us to do just that. I’m going to open this up, and start the relevant bureaucratic processes…

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Topic changed to “Syncthing is going to be relicensed as MPLv2” (from “Should we move to a more liberal license?”) and moved to dev category.

From those choices, MPLv2.