Monthly Archives: May 2014

A Free License Isn’t Enough

Today, GitHub announced that Atom, their full-featured IDE, would be “Open Source”.

GitHub, that’s not enough.

You announced Atom several months ago and told the community that it would be “hackable to the core” but that you were “aiming for a common ground between fully-closed and fully-open”. You shamelessly doublespoke to your community, and you promised them that you would be mistreating them by disallowing them the right to change the core of the application.

Now you’ve changed your mind. Well, I don’t buy it.

I don’t buy that a company dedicated to providing a system that traps free software developers in a non-free ecosystem has the best interests of the free software community at heart.

I don’t buy that a project once described as “between fully-closed and fully-open” should ever be embraced by a community that actually values continued freedom.

I sure as hell don’t buy that GitHub is done deliberating on this matter.

Atom users: Fork now. Don’t let GitHub keep your code on their servers, under their control. Make sure you still have your freedoms when they decide to stop distributing updates to you under the MIT license.

Others: Don’t use Atom. There are lots of other great editors out there. You don’t need this one to be a successful programmer.

And while you’re at it, stop using GitHub. Gitorious and GitLab are awesome alternatives to it, and removing the network power from GitHub will help chip away at their influence that lets them toy with their community this way.