Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Question concerning pull requests

We have received a first pull request to our project (not related to translations, wich we process differently via excellent webtranslateit service. That's actually big news, because it's first ever code submitted to our project. Fairly speaking, code is pretty small and easy, but in raises one very important question... rights for code and application store rules. 

So far, we own all rights to all published code, so while releasing it to public under GNU GPLv3 license we still can distribute this code under any license we like. This is very handy if we'll need to submit our app to some (evil) appstore that requires some evil DRM features that would be incompatible with GNU GPLv3 terms - we can just say that all rights to publish this code is our own, and that despite code published on Github we publish this very instance of an app under our own evil proprietary license. 

We won't have this option if we just accept code from our contributors under GPL license. And we don't want to rely on 'trust' in Google that it won't change Google Play developer terms that it won't be incompatible with GNU GPLv3 (we also don't want to see our app pulled from store because of complaints by some contributors - such things did happen in the past and it wasn't pretty).

Xabber Contributor Agreement?

Many companies avoid these kind of problems by enforcing all contributors sign some form of contributor agreement (most famously Mozilla Comitter's Agreement, and (infamously) Oracle Contributor Agreement). 

An agreement like this would grant us sufficient rights to code so we won't have to worry about problems like we've covered above and would also make us carry quite a burden of administrative work processing & storing all the legal papers. That would also make contributors less likely to submit code to us and we'll also look evil to many-a-developers. 

We'll also be able to screw community in grand way like Oracle did with OpenOffice.org, but all we can do now is to promise not to.

What do you think of it? Should we have such agreement to ensure future of Xabber in various appstores, or should we just accept all the code under GNU GPLv3 and not bother about possible GooglePlay problems?

Please use comments below or just mention @Xabber_XMPP on Twitter. We need your opinion.

GNU GPLv3 is incompatible with Apple Appstore terms and we'll definitely have to think of something similar to solve this problem when we release Xabber for iOS (wich we plan to later this year, btw, work is already in process).

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Xabber is released under GNU GPL v3

Hello everybody, this one is brief.

Like we promised, we have released sources of Xabber on Github under GNU GPLv3 license. Updated version was also uploaded to Google Play, it features slight improvements to MUC. Perhaps we should also update screenshots of Xabber interface, especially this one.

I also express our sincere gratitude to all members of open source movement and especially all our followers on twitter for their support. It really helps, you know.

We have also planted an easter egg in source code. First one to find it out and report to @xabber_xmpp will get a special reward. :) 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolutions for 2013

Hello all,

As you may have heard, we are planning to release source codes of Xabber this month. I believe we should share our vision of future of Xabber. There are three main objectives before us:

  • Redesign with new Android design guidelines in mind. We love menu button, but powers that be chose otherwise. So, no menu button, holo-like theme support, action bar (or close resemblance of it);
  • Tablet version. This one is a long-time planned. It was postponed due to utter ugliness of all Android 3.0 tablets, but this has finally changed. Xabber in tablet mode would look alot like Gajim run in single window mode — contact list as you currently know it on the left side of screen, current conversation on the right;
  • Support for other protocols but XMPP via plugins. This move is rather controversial and will piss off many XMPP zealots (disclamer: I'm one of them too), but the reality is such that main IM network today is Facebook. I get lot's of msgs on that network and since i do get them anyway, I want a decent client to chat with.
We are also contemplating making a client for iOS. Someone finally has make a good XMPP client for those poor Apple users!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Xabber is going open source in January 2013

Short version

We are happy to announce that we plan to release Xabber under GNU GPL v3 license in January 2013, thus making arguably best XMPP client for Android free and open software.

Redsolution, a 'shady Russian company with no public info' behind Xabber is a long time supporter of free and open source software, so this move is very natural for us.

Longer version

As you may have known, this summer we've launched a campaign to make Xabber open source if we get 50K followers on Twitter. We owe you some explanation why we had such an exotic request. We were planning to make our app opensource since the very beginning. It was mostly a side effect of an argument within our team if people really care about their software being opensource. 

Optimists said that people do care, and that we'd easily gather as many followers as we have users if we promise to go FOSS. More down-to-earth team members said that quite a few users care about free (as in freedom) software. Obviously, the latter won.

While we've seen a spectacular enthusiasm on the web and quite a number of posts, we failed to reach 50K followers. Currently counter stands at 4725, and I want to thank everyone who did take part in our little social experiment and supported free and open software. My biggest thanks go to those active users who fueled our campaign by creating numerous posts and retweets. You support was very heartwarming. 

So, back to opensource. We took this special day for this announcement (best day to share gifts with the world, right?), but we need some extra time to add comments and remove some junk from code, add license files... It's quite a task, actually. After we're done, code will go live on GitHub. Stay tuned for updates, they'll be coming shortly. 

Merry Christmas everyone!