On Muse's Audacity

Ranting Jun 3, 2021

Let's begin with saying that Muse's introduction to the world, as the newly minted owners of the Audacity project hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows. It's been quite the opposite in fact.

Among their first decisions were to try and introduce telemetry. While it was supposedly not going to contain any sort of personal information, users were quick to react negatively towards this announcement. As there always are going to be, there were a number of brain dead morons who were spewing all sorts of baseless accusations, insults and hatred towards the team; however, by far the most common, were the objection towards their use of ǝlƃooפ and xǝpuɐ⅄ for its data collection – a very much justified objection, especially so when considering what we know about these giants today. Trading integrity for ease, Muse initially considered this to be a non-issue. When faced with the autistic wrath of the collective OSS community, however, they quickly said that the scope of collected telemetry data would be scaled back, and that those services would be traded for their own hosted solution.

Now with Muse having faced a rather strong backlash for their quite frankly stupid decision, one might be led to believe that they would have learnt their lesson. But no, they did not. Following quickly afterwards, Muse announced that they would be changing the license from the old GPLv2+ OSS license, to a proprietary license of their own. Or not; but almost.

An announcement of a shiny new CLA (Contributor License Agreement) came next. Along with this came the information that the license would change from GPLv2 to GPLv3. This apparently much needed change were explained by their desire to release the application on ǝldd∀'s, and ultimately monetize the project – this being the one and only way of them to finance, and thereby justify the work on the project. Although the current code would continue to be licensed under GPLv3, the CLA effectively transfers total control of the code to Muse; and, in their own words, means that although the code would be GPLv3'd, they would own exclusive rights to the code – effectively crippling the nature of the license.

Now, I wont deny that Audacity has its issues – the UI being one major example of such. However, generally the program is perfectly fine to use – though, that's said by someone who doesn't use it professionally in any sense of the word.

Finally, if the tradeoff for an improved UI, is going to be loosing control of the OSS-community around it, and the forfeiture of any rights to the code, then I certainly would not be considering this deal to be worth it.

Thoughts, comments, or whatever else on this piece? Feel free to post your violent death threats in the comment section below.