Grayjay (Frontend)

It’s worth mentioning that the FUTO Temporary License Grayjay is licensed under does not meet the Open Source Definition or Free Software Definition. While this license is temporary, I have seen comments from those involved suggesting they wish to retain the exclusive right to commercial exploitation, and also prevent redistribution of both modified and unmodified versions of Grayjay.

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Because they don’t want malicious versions of Grayjay to be released, like what happened with NewPipe on the Play Store, or versions that have ads or any other crap. This licence allows them to go after people who try to distribute such versions.

Hm. I guess we’ll see, but I certainly hope not. Surely Rossmann realizes free software is equivalent to repairable hardware :slight_smile:


Based on his video, it sounds like he’s trying to solve a trademark problem with a weird copyright license. This doesn’t seem like the right approach. They can obviously prevent malware from being uploaded with the Grayjay name even if Grayjay is free software, Mozilla does this with Firefox forks all the time.

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Thank you. I thought I was going crazy when no one brought this up. Anyone interested in how free software projects like Firefox can be protected with trademarks should look into the Debian-Mozilla Trademark dispute, which resulted in Iceweasel for some ten years. Trademark infringement on Google Play can be reported here.

Rossmann answered a lot of questions in the comment section for these videos, but I screencapped one I thought was notable:

It appears he intends on publishing a video where FUTO’s stance on ‘Open Source’ is made clear.

For a little more information, we can look at the FUTO website for their three pledges:

  1. We will always be transparently devoted to making delightful software. All FUTO-funded projects are expected to be open-source or develop a plan to eventually become so. No effort will ever be taken to hide from the people what their computers are doing, to limit how they use them, or to modify their behavior through their software.

This pledge could describe a “source-available” program.

Rossmann speaks a bit about “changing the culture of open source” in the first video. Namely, that developers shouldn’t be afraid to ask for money or to profit from their work. It’s a point I actually agree with, as does the GNU Project. But these restrictions make it…not open source. Grayjay uses “the honor system”, where users can choose to lie about having a license regardless, so it seems strange to choose a non-free license to “enforce” this.

Rossmann also talks about how “non-commercial” or “personal” modification of the source code is permissable. This seems to line up with the license, aside from the part where they say they can decide to go after you anyway:

  1. We may suspend, terminate or vary the terms of this license and any access to the code at any time, without notice, for any reason or no reason, in respect of any licensee, group of licensees or all licensees including as may be applicable any sub-licensees.

That was all the digging I could do, but clearly we’re still missing the complete picture. I suppose we’ll need to wait for that video.

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Hm. Seems like an uncharacteristically bad take on open source, but I’ll hold my final judgement until he posts his future video I suppose.


Right, the culture of open source is already commercial-friendly, he doesn’t need to make up licenses and new definitions of “open source” to achieve the results he’s looking for lol

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Sorry for posting again. I remembered where Rossmann talked about wanting to retain the exclusive right to commercial exploitation. It’s quite a long post that answers a few of the questions raised in this thread: larossmann comments on Should interest some people

The license is there because FUTO wants to retain the exclusive right to profit off of the software […] Given that the org has put millions into a bunch of different projects that the owner openly admits will probably be a money pit for the rest of time, I can understand that. If someone modifies the software for their own use nobody here really cares.

The license we have now was essentially something scribbled on a napkin until we come up with a more formal version of what we feel is a license that allows people to enjoy the benefits of understanding what code is running on their computer, while allowing us to profit from the sale of that software if someone chooses to buy it rather than use the infinite trial part of the honor system involved in the no-drm payment method.

This is something free software does not allow you to do, even with trademarks. Combining this with the “honor system” they have doesn’t make much sense to me, though.

I love the idea; I think this is exactly the sort of interoperable software we need to diminish monopolistic platforms’ influence, but the source code ambiguity and purchase requirement concern me.

I would much prefer a free app that is donation funded. Want to see more development? Donate! Or contribute if you’re able. This would be much better for privacy. If I’m using a purchased app, the developer knows who I am. If I’m funding a free app, the developer knows I donated, but they don’t know which client I’m using (if any).

That’s this blog’s analysis as well. It strikes me as incredibly shortsighted that Rossman/FUTO’s solution for the problem of video service centralization is… a centralized client.

Rossman may trust himself and his team to be good stewards of the app, but why should the rest of us have to? It does not inspire my confidence, much less my patronage.

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Or another way to encourage donations/payments is to offer some “premium” feature(s) that are unlocked for a fee.

It’s worth mentioning that, from what I’ve seen of how it’s implemented, it uses the “honor system”. Which means you can say, “I paid for it” even if you didn’t. This also means you can pay for it using some method that isn’t linked to the app, say you paid for it, and use all of the features. The business model doesn’t preclude this.

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I have been using Grayjay for about a wekk and I must say I am very impressed, especially in lieu of the fact it is still a “test version.” As it is I find it more stable, faster, and more usable than NewPipe as I can subscribe to and download content across various platforms, not just YouTube.