Inclusion of MXit plugin into Pidgin

Mark Doliner mark at kingant.net
Wed Oct 14 03:31:50 EDT 2009


On Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 7:17 AM, Pieter Loubser <Pieter.Loubser at mxit.com> wrote:
> On Thu, 2009-09-03 at 18:58 +0200, Ka-Hing Cheung wrote:
>>
>> _If_ MXit is included in the Pidgin repository, and _if_ we receive a
>> patch that takes out the splash-screen (maybe not very intrusive but
>> certainly not very useful), what do you suppose us to do? Reject the
>> patch?
>
>
> As MXit will be supporting and maintaining this plugin, we would look at
> each patch individually and decide based on its merits and our knowledge
> of the MXit platform if it should be applied or not.
>
> In regards to the patch mentioned above, we would vote against it.

We kind of left this discussion dangling and I'd like to try to
summarize a few things.  Please correct me if anyone feels my
perception is flawed.  From my point of view I feel like there are two
roadblocks preventing the inclusion of the MXit protocol plugin into
the upstream libpurple source tree.

1. I'm not sure users will be able to get the help they need from the
Pidgin/libpurple project in order to properly use MXit.  Some support
folks the MXit team have answered some users questions on our support
mailing list (thanks guys!), but there are also a few unanswered
questions from the past month.  I don't think this issue is very
important, especially considering the low volume of questions, and I
think we could improve things over time.

2. This email thread, including the emails quoted above, seem to
indicate some differences in opinion between MXit and Pidgin/libpurple
developers.  I'm not sure how severe these differences in opinion are.
 Some Pidgin developers are ok with displaying advertisements that
benefit MXit, since MXit created the plugin.  Other Pidgin developers
have the opinion that the MXit code is GPL, why wouldn't we rip out
the advertisements when we distribute it?

I recognize that the Pidgin project isn't the easiest open source
project to work with--we're a bit closed to outside influences and we
tend to hold Stallmanistic[1] ideals about free software.  We also
tend to give our developers free reign over our source tree.  Once
we've vetted a new contributor and given him commit access, we're
basically ok with him changing whatever he wants.  (We do of course
review each other's changes and object when we see something we don't
like.)  But what would happen if one of our developers desired to
remove the advertisements from the MXit protocol plugin?  I would hate
to see a tug of war between a current Pidgin developer and an MXit
developers, where one person removes the advertisement and the other
person ads it back.

If the MXit developers would like the plugin to retain the
advertisements mentioned in this thread and the plugin were included
with libpurple then it seems this difference of opinion could strain
our relationship quite a bit.  Hearing other people's thoughts on this
would be helpful here, but it sounds like it will be difficult to
distribute the MXit plugin alongside the official Pidgin binary :-(

-Mark

[1] In regards to Richard Stallman, the creator of the GPL.
Describing him as a free software zealot isn't unreasonable.



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