By Deane Barker | May 16, 2008 | 3 Comments
(Note: Read the first comment to this entry. There’s more to the story than what I wrote here.)
Oh Yeah? Fork You!: Pidgin, the IM client, forked over — get this — a resizable text entry window.
The developers, for whatever reason, dug in their heels on this one and refused to budge. You can read through some of the commentary on the bug ticket to get an idea, but the general tenor was combatative bordering on hostile. The bug was eventually closed as “won’t fix”.
The community’s response was swift: Oh yeah? Fork you!
Jeff points out the possible outcomes:
The fork dies […] The fork merges […] The original dies […] Both original and fork survive
None of those sound great to me. I hate forks.
I am Justin Hayes, AKA WildTangent, the co-founder of the project, now known as Carrier Instant Messenger, not Funpidgin. I have been a long-time reader of your blog, and this is the first post where I feel I must correct you on a few points.
The reason we forked the code was not, as many seem to think, over the text entry window. This was the event that finally made it clear to Connor and I that the attitude of the Pidgin developers wasn’t going to change anytime soon, and there were many people who felt that this fork was a long time coming, so we did. And our mission is to accommodate our users as best we can.
Forking is just a cycle of life for an open-source application. Forks lead to new developments in the code, it fosters creativity and even competition, but in the end whether both survive or one or the other dies, the software has progressed and become better. This benefits everyone.
We actually have been in long discussion with the Pidgin developers in our IRC channel, and you could say we’re even collaborating on some issues, discussing new ideas, etc. Forks aren’t a bad thing at all.
Actually, if you’ve ever had a commercial product add some horrible, hateful feature that you didn’t discover until you had irretrievably upgraded, then I think you’re actually for forking.
Also — find someone with a mac — your adverts are ironing over the right fourth of the content on this type page. Thanks!
looks fine for the other 90%+ of us.