21 votes

The free and open-source digital audio editor Audacity has been acquired by Muse Group

12 comments

  1. [7]
    suspended
    Link
    As far as I can tell the article doesn't mention how this will effect its open-source status nor whether or not it will be free moving forward.

    As far as I can tell the article doesn't mention how this will effect its open-source status nor whether or not it will be free moving forward.

    12 votes
    1. [6]
      mat
      Link Parent
      Correct me if I'm wrong (and I am not a lawyer so I might be) but isn't one of the main points of the GPL that if something has once been GPL, it must always be GPL?

      Correct me if I'm wrong (and I am not a lawyer so I might be) but isn't one of the main points of the GPL that if something has once been GPL, it must always be GPL?

      10 votes
      1. [5]
        hungariantoast
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Yeah, contributions to Audacity do not include an automatic transfer of that contribution's ownership to the Audacity project or maintainers. So as far as I understand, if someone wanted to change...

        Yeah, contributions to Audacity do not include an automatic transfer of that contribution's ownership to the Audacity project or maintainers.

        So as far as I understand, if someone wanted to change the license of Audacity they would need approval from all... 126 contributors on GitHub, as well as any other contributors from elsewhere (assuming those contributors contributed code, and not documentation, which is under a different license).

        That is not an impossibly high number of people to get approval from for a license change. It has been done before by projects seeking to change to a different free-software license, but I seriously doubt it could be done for the purpose of turning Audacity into proprietary software. Almost certainly someone would object and not consent to their contributions being converted.

        At that point I guess the project would have to remove and rewrite that contributor's code to be able to change the license.

        Finally, even if they did make the switch to Audacity being proprietary software (and just so we're clear, I don't think Muse Group is going to do that at all), the final version of the software under the GPL license would still be available and retain all protections under the GPL. That final free version would be "forkable" and there really isn't anything that Muse Group could do to disallow that. That's just how the GPL works.

        And this is why copyleft licenses should be the default license for any project

        17 votes
        1. skybrian
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          You can always fork the last version for any open source license. Also, the difficulty of relicensing is similar for any open source license where they didn’t do copyright assignment up front....

          You can always fork the last version for any open source license. Also, the difficulty of relicensing is similar for any open source license where they didn’t do copyright assignment up front. (There might be less reason to relicense the whole project, though.)

          Incidentally, it looks like Musescore does copyright assignment and they are moving from GPLv2 to GPLv3. The tricky bit is that they depend on third party libraries that didn’t do copyright assignment and didn’t grant the “any later version” permission, so those dependencies need to be removed.

          3 votes
        2. [3]
          mrbig
          Link Parent
          If they're not going to close the code, than what is motivation to acquire it at all?

          If they're not going to close the code, than what is motivation to acquire it at all?

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            lionirdeadman
            Link Parent
            Could simply be management. From what I've seen, the Lead Designer of MusicScore (another project which got acquired by Muse Group in 2017), Martin Keary, wants to help with designing Audacity....

            Could simply be management. From what I've seen, the Lead Designer of MusicScore (another project which got acquired by Muse Group in 2017), Martin Keary, wants to help with designing Audacity. So, that's part of the acquisition.

            7 votes
            1. Apos
              Link Parent
              I feel like this video could deserve it's own post.

              I feel like this video could deserve it's own post.

              3 votes
  2. ImmobileVoyager
    Link
    There seems to be much confusion about what actually happened and what "to acquire" would mean in the matter of a FOSS. Audacity's own website does not mention anything remotely related to this...

    There seems to be much confusion about what actually happened and what "to acquire" would mean in the matter of a FOSS.

    Audacity's own website does not mention anything remotely related to this "acquisition".

    This could be one of those cases where corporate mumbo-jumbo reaches a copywriter with limited abilities for understanding.

    3 votes
  3. [4]
    Pistos
    Link
    Hm, interesting. I don't use Audacity much any more (I've been using Ardour instead for a few years now), so my greater concern is about MuseScore, which I use for notation. I didn't know it was...

    Hm, interesting. I don't use Audacity much any more (I've been using Ardour instead for a few years now), so my greater concern is about MuseScore, which I use for notation. I didn't know it was acquired. Anyway, it doesn't look like I have much to be concerned about, but hopefully MuseScore doesn't take any wrong turns in terms of UX or pricing or licensing.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      MuseScore is a bit odd in that there is musescore.org (the open source software) and musescore.com (the score-sharing website). It’s never been clear to me what their relationship is.

      MuseScore is a bit odd in that there is musescore.org (the open source software) and musescore.com (the score-sharing website). It’s never been clear to me what their relationship is.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        Pistos
        Link Parent
        I never looked into it, but I always assumed that it was the same person/people developing MuseScore the FLOSS and maintaining musescore.com, and I considered musescore.com just an honest attempt...

        I never looked into it, but I always assumed that it was the same person/people developing MuseScore the FLOSS and maintaining musescore.com, and I considered musescore.com just an honest attempt at making a little money by offering a service related to MuseScore the FLOSS. I never really got on the musescore.com bandwagon, but I do use MuseScore a lot. I'd be disappointed to see it (the software) tainted by business interests, so hopefully that doesn't happen.

        1 vote
        1. skybrian
          Link Parent
          There seem to be a lot of contributors, but the original founders retired in 2019.

          There seem to be a lot of contributors, but the original founders retired in 2019.

          2 votes