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Another Project Goes Private: Amara Stops Being Developed As Open Source

Published by Slashdot on Sun, 19 Jan 2020


Slashdot reader northar writes:Subtitling project Amara closes its repository as focus is shifting... Amara was AGPL up until going private. While future improvements to the code base from the Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF) will not be public, a copy of the last public code base has been preserved at Gitlab, should anyone be interested in the work done up until now. Note that no support is given from PCF for this code From Amara's official statement on the move:The Participatory Culture Foundation began as a nonprofit in 2006 with a focus on creating open source software to ensure that emerging video technologies were accessible to all.... For an organization like PCF, which relies on revenue generated from sustainability initiatives to fund social impact work, we believe the risk to these initiatives outweighs the potential or perceived public benefit from maintaining open code. Releasing software as open source unfortunately does not provide protection against well-funded technology firms that are driven by profit... Without the proper market position and resources, a smaller organization that relies on revenue from software they build can be outmaneuvered or overpowered with the very technology they created (assuming their code is open source). This is not only a threat to smaller organizations, but has also become a bigger debate that much larger companies are also hashing out. For venture-funded or publicly traded firms, the open source approach can be a calculated risk that makes business sense. But for less-capitalized organizations or nonprofits, like PCF, who lack significant market power, making software open source puts other more well-resourced players in position to leverage the technology in ways that may undermine the sustainability and/or the values of the original developer. With these shifts in the computing landscape, PCF has not seen individuals or communities as the primary beneficiary of releasing Amara code as open source. Instead, we have unfortunately had firsthand experience with a venture-funded organization deploying code we created and using it in ways that we did not think aligned well with our values.... As we undertake this shift in 2020, we are aware that the computing landscape will continue to change and thus we remain open to newer and better strategies for making source code available in the long-term. Future strategies might include data trusts and/or new licenses that better align with our sustainability initiatives and mission.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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