The beauty of Mastodon is not only that it is free and open but that it’s federated. You can fork it without losing access to the network or your social graph. There’s no reason a hundred forks couldn’t exist.
Also, when did forking become an insult? As far as I’m concerned, it’s the biggest compliment you can pay a project. And if you fork and stay federated, you’re actually helping to strengthen the fediverse!
What you can’t do is force people to build what you want out of entitlement.
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@Glatorius And therein lies the issue (I think). Many, including me, believe that the power and beauty of this place is the community that has developed here. Sustaining that seems only possible taking a community approach (always with the freedom and encouragement for personal projects that fork off from the community). We just have to figure out how to get from where we are now to there. 🌸
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As far as I can tell, forking is taken as an insult by a toxic vocal minority who think isolationism is normal. Other developers would be willing to help them out if they weren't proudly proclaiming how targetted online harassment of individuals "works".
... or maybe, "you won't do things the way we want you to, so we're going to do things the way we think they should be done".
And that's a fine thing.
Honestly, I look to the existence of healthy, functional forks as one of the firmest existence proofs that the upstream project is truly free, and lacks any hidden "secret sauce" that makes it forkable <*ahem*> in name only.
Not all forks succeed, though. Not every parent project survives the fork. Sometimes one branch will be absorbed by the surviving branch, sometimes under the name of the parent, sometimes of the fork. There is risk and cost, yes. But generally it's a healthy process, in the way that doing work to move forward out of conflict is healthy.
This is reasonably well-trod ground, now, although it's fascinating to be able to watch a community come to the process with fresh eyes.
I have the feeling that people miss a important aspect if they suggest forks as a solution for the current "problem". A important part of long term success is building a healthy dev community. Hundreds of one-person forks aren't sustainable and will slow down progress. Think about a world where all KDE, Gnome or Linux devs would work on their own fork instead of working together. I hardly believe that this would result in a better and more sustainable ecosystem.
@bjoern @aral Agreed, however it can also be a healthy thing if the forkers are simply at odds with upstream and cannot peacefully cooperate. There's less of a problem with forks when federation is involved and they remain compatible. Also, most of the new features of Mastodon are still being developed by a single person, I don't think the fork is going to subtract from the Mastodon technical/contributor pool significantly. Also, they can also merge back in the future, see Node.js/io.js
@shellkr @MatejLach @aral The protocol is only the foundation, without any value if there are no implementations. Most likely ActivityPub would be already dead without Mastodon. In order to have good implementation(s) for many years to come you need a healthy (dev) community, and as said, that's not what one-person forks with a handful of users are, imho. I'd even go as far as to say, that forks as discussed right now could kill both Mastodon and ActivityPub in the long run.
The typical issue with one man forks would be if Eugen burnt out or god forbid would experienced an accident and no longer capable to continue.
The thing here is that then a fork could continue as before.. Forks makes the "project" more resilient. It also prevents some of the pit holes.
I think this are not good counterexamples. First (highly personal opinion) I would be surprised if most of the GNOME/KDE forks you mentioned would still exists in 10+ years as healthy and active projects. Second, non of them split up in multiple one-person projects, most devs stick to the "original", same for most users and distributions. I don't think Mastodon has a size that can handle it. When 15 of the 20 devs split up, sustainability is at risk
@bjoern @aral Regarding the examples, MATE and Cinnamon are wildly popular desktop choices! And I think it's completely irrelevant what the landscape looks like in 10 years time. Software is way too dynamic to even plan that far ahead. Not even speaking of forks being the normal modus operandi for all Linux kernel development.
@bjoern That wasn't the point at all. It seems like you missed every single actual argument I made. Linux is forked by default. It's doing exactly what you fear they shouldn't do since they existed, and they literally invented Git in order to scale up forks to 7 commits per hour.
I didn't followed the Linux development closely. But I think Linux was never and don't is in a state where it is spread across multiple one-person forks. Most development happens in the mainline, that's where all the companies contribute, and what most (all) distributions ship and with that also most users are using. If I'm wrong I would be curious for some pointers.
This is my personal Mastodon.