Launchpad should be free software (free as in freedom)

Reported by Kurt Kraut on 2006-06-22
228
This bug affects 14 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Launchpad itself
Medium
Mark Shuttleworth
Ubuntu
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

Launchpad is a good project but still a bad tool. It is buggy, crashy and many features are missing. As a member of a few teams, I'm unable to complete the majority of my tasks and I feel a huge lack of opportunity when tasks could/should be done with Launchpad. Doing the translations of Ubuntu is very painful and not manageable.

This could easily be solved by publishing the Launchpad source code under a free software license like GPL. So everyone would be able to enhance Launchpad, and add more features as fast as our need for an integrated development environment grows.

Besides that, as Ubuntu is 'free and always will be', we expect as soon as possible that Launchpad, an essential tool for Ubuntu developing, should be free too.

Most of the FUD raised about Ubuntu and Canonical (like Mandriva did for instance) are based on the fact of non-free Launchpad, so it should be fixed as soon as possible.

I do know that this is already planned, but a schedule with a deadline should immediately be set, so that Canonical can state clearly to the community the intention of making LP free software.

Kurt Kraut (kurtkraut) on 2006-06-22
description: updated

Eat your own dog food. ;)

Translations: If you are in a translation team, you shouldn't have problems. I would also like to have more options to translate things without joining the translation team, BUT on the other hand some people would make false translations,... (that's my opinion).

It is buggy, crashy and a lot of features are missing.: It works fine for me. Yeah, you are right, some features are missing, but Launchpad is still a young project. I think we'll see more useful features in the near future :-).

Changed in launchpad:
importance: Untriaged → Medium
status: Unconfirmed → Confirmed
description: updated
brunoalves (brunowl) wrote :

Even for translators there are lots of things that could be improved to make the task easier.

Examples: unsuggested filter, click to approve suggestions.

Just the two above would make translation be a lot faster and easier.

kresp0 (kresp0) wrote :

First of all: sorry about my poor english.

As a new launchpad user, I want to say that this project/tool works OK for me, and I think that this is a good idea.

When today, a friend say to me that lauchpad was not free I was very surprised. I've been readed the FAQ, but I can't really understand this.

If tomorrow Canonical dissapears (I'll pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster so that it does not happen), what will happend to our work?

I can understand the fact that Canonical need to offer some services to survive, but using this propietary software (although is property of themselves) harms seriously the image of the company.

Thanks,

towsonu2003 (towsonu2003) wrote :

ubuntu should be using open source software for all its functions. The current situation is contradicts "Ubuntu Philosophy" (at http://www.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/philosophy ) in that "our work on Ubuntu is driven by a philosophy on software freedom" but we're still using a proprietary software to manage Ubuntu. The use of malone as it is now also contradicts "Ubuntu Licensing" (at http://www.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/licensing ), especially by forcing "The Ubuntu team [who] is committed to Free and Open Source Software" to use a proprietary software.

I also agree with https://launchpad.net/products/launchpad/+bug/50699/comments/4 in that

> If tomorrow Canonical dissapears (I'll pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster so that it does
> not happen), what will happend to our work?

I also propose the severity of this bug bumped up as it endangers the future of Ubuntu development, as illustrated by the above comment.

Caroline Ford (secretlondon) wrote :

It's not malone and launchpad. Malone is part of launchpad.

Malone ->Rejected

Changed in malone:
status: Unconfirmed → Rejected
John Leach (johnleach) on 2006-11-27
Changed in launchpad:
assignee: nobody → sabdfl
Chris Wagner (chris-wagner) wrote :

I am concerned about this as well, so let me add a little more noise. :)

I know that Mark had originally said Launchpad would eventually be opened up, however, I recently watched a talk that he gave at Google (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2728972720932273543) where he mentions that (referring to Launchpad) he does not believe software services should be held to the same standards of free-ness as, for instance, the software running on your home computer. I agree, and I use such non-open services everyday, but I would hope that Mark has not changed his mind about opening Launchpad, using this reasoning as an excuse.

Ubuntu has been a beautiful example of what can come from open source and an open community, and having our central communication mechanism be non-open-source tarnishes our image and respectability (at least amongst the other free software communities). Although Launchpad may make the community a bit more productive, I don't think it's worth the proprietary wart... At least, it has me seriously questioning where I want to contribute my time.

Could we get a statement on this from Mr. Shuttleworth, himself? Is the plan *still* to open Launchpad? When?

Jorge Juan (jjchico) wrote :

I have been a Debian user since late 90's. Ubuntu is just what Debian needed to get to the masses. Now I can really introduce my students and friends to Linux using Ubuntu, something that is not possible in general with plain Debian.

However, I am completely committed to free software and it does not make much sense to me to base Ubuntu development in a closed-source system like lauchpad.

I think it is ok that Canonical will give some support for commercial applications if they like, or provide non-free drivers for the benefit of the users who want to get the extra functionality, but being forced to use non-free software to collaborate with Ubuntu (like posting this comment) is a major stopper for a wider adoption of Ubuntu among free software lovers like me.

One of the best news for the current year would be to see the Ubuntu development infrastructure open to everyone. If this happens I compromise to cooperate more with the community: bug reporting, translations, etc.

Dan O'Huiginn (daniel-ohuiginn) wrote :

I believe this is a critical bug - I was tempted to bump up the importance, but triggering a flamewar wouldn't do any of us much good. Nonetheless Ubuntu is suffering badly through launchpad not being free. Rather than rehashing the practical and philosophical arguments about it, maybe it's useful to have a view of just how much this is increasing people's mistrust of Ubuntu

 - complaining about it was part of the platform that got Sam Hocevar elected as Debian Project Leader [email at http://lists.opensuse.org/opensuse/2006-11/msg03788.html, which Sam cited in his manifesto at http://www.debian.org/vote/2007/platforms/sho]
 - The formation of Gnewsense was driven in part by launchpad not being free. Open-sourcing launchpad would make it much easier to bring these people back into working directly on ubuntu [http://www.fsf.org/news/gnewsense]

There are dozens more examples of worries over Launchpad's non-free status worrying the open-source community, making people unwilling to use/support Ubuntu:
 - http://www.joachim-breitner.de/blog/archives/60-Launchpad,-Google-and-why-Microsoft-is-not-the-problem.html
 - http://eskar.dk/andreas/blog/?p=219
 - http://charismacode.blogspot.com/2007/01/powers-and-repositories-ubuntu-and.html
 - http://www.lucas-nussbaum.net/blog/?p=218#comment-7715
 - http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/blog/2005/06/07
 - http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=123418
 - http://azure.humbug.org.au/%7Eaj/blog/2005/09/04#2005-09-04-launchpad-freeness
 - Bug #55486 is also related ('FAQ should address why LP is not yet free software')

Personally: although I love Ubuntu, it really hurts that if I want to contribute to Ubuntu I must do so with non-free software. I can't fault the people who refuse to use Launchpad on principle, even if that hurts Ubuntu.

Finally, I'm concerned that this bug isn't 'in progress'. Is nobody at Canonical actively working on making Launchpad open source?

We are all actively working on making Launchpad open source.

However, we are not going to do that until there is a clear revenue
model to be able to pay the salaries of the developers working on the
platform itself. There is absolutely no point in taking a step which
would (a) make it impossible to pay the salaries of the developers, and
(b) result in multiple incompatible Launchpad instances each of which
divided the eyeballs currently focused on Launchpad.net.

We have a roadmap to get there, and if all goes according to plan we
will deliver a free Launchpad in due course. I have no objections to
anybody writing an alternative to Launchpad that is free software. I
also respect the wishes of someone who chooses not to use Launchpad
because they do not have a copy of the code. I trust those same people
refuse to use Google search or mail, and SourceForge.net.

 status inprogress

Changed in launchpad:
status: Confirmed → In Progress
Francis (francis) wrote :

The revenue point seems to get down to the same old questions of "can you make money with free software?" But I know at least that it's dangerous to dish out exceptions on 'accepting' proprietary software (on such grounds), and unfortunately sometimes ones' goals blind this.

Anyway, the point of 'multiple incompatible instances of launchpad' just doesn't float at all for me. Launchpad is a web project management piece of software. Why the heck shouldn't other people have their own deployment of it and then determine exactly how it works? And so what if Launchpad.net doesn't directly get the attention? I don't really see Bugzilla developers insisting on only one location for people to file bugs and use the software; same goes for Trac, Mediawiki, etc etc.

That it's okay to do this on the grounds of Google and SourceForge doing it is not really justifiable.

Then multiple launchpads wouldn't be 'compatible' together. Again, so what? Why should they have to be? It would be silly to use multiple instances of launchpad within a single product, and that's the only way I can see that you'd really want some compatibility between multiple launchpad accounts. But what if KDE, or Amarok, or Limewire want to have their own Launchpad?

I'm hardly going to maintain that all proprietary software is evil, and of course I have no problems using launchpad or sourceforge. If the revenue issue is really the driving force for keeping it proprietary, then why not just put ads on the site (which may well generate enough revenue) and be done with it? Ads suck, indeed, but I'd be very interested in seeing the person who would choose to not have a few ads on their site over freedom. Of course you could also have a donation drive, which I'm sure would generate some $$.

Mark Shuttleworth (sabdfl) wrote :

Francis Giannaros wrote:
> Anyway, the point of 'multiple incompatible instances of launchpad' just
> doesn't float at all for me. Launchpad is a web project management piece
> of software. Why the heck shouldn't other people have their own
> deployment of it and then determine exactly how it works? And so what if
> Launchpad.net doesn't directly get the attention?
The point of LP is to aggregate information from many sources. For
example, linking each bug in Ubuntu to the relevant bug in upstream,
Debian, and other distros. That "cross-project view" is what makes LP
somewhat different.

It seems silly to expect people to do that work multiple times - once in
each "instance" of Launchpad.

A better engineering solution to this would be federated communication
between bugzilla instances, and roundup, and sourceforge, and Launchpad.
I spoke about that at length in the recent ACCU conference. However, it
will take time to put the relevant standards and API's in place to make
all of those codebases exchange information automatically, and Launchpad
is a stopgap solution that we built to address our need to collaborate
effectively with those other projects without requiring them to change
their infrastructure at all.

We are working on API's that let you talk directly to LP, so you can
automatically extract all the data you put into it at any time (you can
already get easily-parseable text views of bugs, and translations as PO
files). The goal is to make it easy to adopt and abandon as you wish.

Please don't be cavalier with other people's livelihoods. If you have a
genuine plan to build a better alternative, then please enter the race
and do so, that's the nature of competition. I wish there had been
something like this in free software when we started, we would have used
that instead. As it is, I think we have a reasonable plan to get
Launchpad to the point where we can release it as free software and
still fund ongoing development on it. It may take us some years to get
there, but we will keep working on it till the scenario becomes clear.

Francis (francis) wrote :

> The point of LP is to aggregate information from many sources. For
> example, linking each bug in Ubuntu to the relevant bug in upstream,
> Debian, and other distros. That "cross-project view" is what makes LP
> somewhat different.

That's one of its things, yes, but like I said, it's also a web project management suite (and that's what it's more famously known for).

I fully agree with your comments on integration between free software projects, that it's an admirable goal, and I'm hardly disagreeing with any concept of generating revenue from proprietary projects, my point was that your grounding above for it was a little curious. That is, (i) that keeping it proprietary is necessary in funding developers to work on it, and (ii) that detraction from launchpad.net itself is necessarily a bad thing.

Thanks for your responses, Mark.

>However, we are not going to do that until there is a clear revenue
>model to be able to pay the salaries of the developers working on the
>platform itself.

It's sad that even a company like Canonical feels it needs to protect
its revenue with closed-source code. But if you say that's the case,
then I'll take your word for it, and put up with a non-free launchpad
as a necessary evil.

> A better engineering solution to this would be federated communication
> between bugzilla instances, and roundup, and sourceforge, and Launchpad.

This sounds like a good long-term solution, yes.

>I also respect the wishes of someone who chooses not to use Launchpad
>because they do not have a copy of the code.

Indeed; when the 'ultra-orthodox' Ubuntu emerges, I hope it (we?) will
set up an open-source bugtracker &c for it - but one which interacts
with Launchpad as closely as possible.

--
Dan O'Huiginn

Alex Mayorga (alex-mayorga) wrote :

I do believe that the importance of this should be raised.
More so if "Ubuntu is and always will be free of charge." given that Launchpad is a key piece if Ubuntu.
IMHO opening it up would foster community involvement from various fronts.

SoloTurn (soloturn) wrote :

mark, what do you gain by not putting the source code in public like it is, and not caring what happens to it?

you might want to use some distributed version control which allows cherry pick some change sets back to you .... like http://darcs.net.

"As it is, I think we have a reasonable plan to get
Launchpad to the point where we can release it as free software and
still fund ongoing development on it. It may take us some years to get
there, but we will keep working on it till the scenario becomes clear."

"We have a roadmap to get there, and if all goes according to plan we
will deliver a free Launchpad in due course."

Is there a "critical point" in the path to liberate it?, you say that it will be only when some revenue is viable, but if such a thing don't happen in say 2 years, or the plans say that in 1 year you will be able to liberate it?

verb3k (verb3k) wrote :

Listen people, sabdfl revealed that one of his main objectives with ubuntu is to make it sustainable.
You should be able to see the long term effect of temporarily maintaining LP as closed source. That would make your beloved distribution alive and kicking for the next years. I don't care how open source software is developed as long as it remains open source, and rocks!

Mark Shuttleworth (sabdfl) wrote :

That's true, but we also want to make sure we help set best practice in
the fields we work in. There's a whole interesting situation developing
"in the cloud" where people trust data to code they never see. I think
we can open source the pieces of Launchpad that will (a) help people
gain confidence in the platform security and (b) help people contribute
code to fix issues or add features that they want on LP.net. We're
working on ways to do that without also devaluing LP.net itself.

Bhavani Shankar (bhavi) wrote :

I am for this... Launchpad should be made open source... Because where ever i go and speak about ubuntu other foss guys will ask a question that "Is Ubuntu Free Software?" If so where is the code for launchpad? Because of this and various other reasons (like usage of restrited software without any permission for ex.) and opine that Ubuntu is neither Open source nor free software...(for ex: http://www.linuxforums.org/misc/why_ubuntu_got_it_all_wrong.html) and its nice to see that ubuntu has launched gobuntu initiative which uses all free softwares only..Thereby justifying ubuntu to the GNU catchword Free as in freedom..

Go Ubuntu...!

Bhavani Shankar.

Bhavani Shankar (bhavi) wrote :

And this Bug should be marked as high priority i think........:)

William Grant (wgrant) wrote :

Not a bug in Ubuntu. Don't mark them as such please.

Marcelo Atie (marceloatie) wrote :

Hold this Bug with status "In Progress" and when LP become Open Source change to "Fix Released"
We need wait the Roadmap of LP, follow the plan ! please !

If Mark S. and all your team planned to release LP in Open Source on future, it's should be better, so lets wait.

Changed in launchpad-answers:
importance: Undecided → Low
status: New → Confirmed
importance: Low → Medium
Joey Stanford (joey) on 2007-11-15
Changed in malone:
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: Invalid → Confirmed
Changed in rosetta:
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: New → Confirmed
Przemysław Kulczycki (azrael) wrote :

I don't want to revive any flamewars, but I want everyone to note a specific thing about licensing:
Launchpad is a web service. Even if it were open source (under GPL, or even BSD), it's source could still be kept secret because Launchpad is _not distributed_.
Same goes for Sourceforge or Freshmeat.

Hi Przemyslaw,

This is not a matter of distribution. Launchpad should be free software in order to receive multiple colaboration on its development, bugfixing and feature implementation. The reason is, anyone who used free software, strongly belive that a community building a software is much more powerful that a single company developing it.

While Canonical is not releasing Launchpad as a free software, for me, is a clear evidence that Canonical does not belive in the power of Free Software since it is not using the free software business model.

I think that Canonical is doing a fine job with free software, and they
have the stated intent of opening Launchpad at a certain point in the
development of their business plan. If they don't, then I'll start
hounding them to open it. But until then, they've already expressed
their intent, and the general schedule for the carrying out of that
intent.

Mark Shuttleworth (sabdfl) wrote :

For the record, I think Canonical has a very sophisticated view of the
free software model. We directly fund a huge amount of free software
development, through Ubuntu, Bazaar, Storm and other projects. The vast
majority of the code we work on and publish is published under the GPL.
So we know where we get a lot of participation, and where we don't. Our
expectation is that Launchpad would not attract a lot of participation.

The pattern that has emerged in my mind is that the more frequently
developers actually execute a piece of code on their laptops, the more
likely they will participate when they can. Bazaar (bzr -
bazaar-vcs.org) has attracted an amazing community, because lots of
people use it every day. CSCVS is another piece of Launchpad that we
released, and it gets virtually no participation, because virtually
nobody actually runs it. People use it via LP, they don't run it themselves.

I do expect Launchpad will be fully open source in time. I discuss this
regularly with the Launchpad team, almost all of whom are significant
open source contributors to Python, Zope, Bugzilla, Bazaar, and other
major projects. We all want to get to that point, we also all don't
think that releasing it in one lump will actually help.

Right now we are trying to figure out a standardised way to export all
data in LP so nobody worries about data lockin. That at least is
establishing a best-practice for web services that I hope other sites
will follow.

Alex Mayorga (alex-mayorga) wrote :

Mark,

Wouldn't it be a good idea to collaborate in something like http://dataportability.org if just for the sake of avoiding "data lock in"?

Shirish Agarwal (shirishag75) wrote :

Wouldn't it also be nice/cool to have a sort of matrix or a graphic showing how much of launchpad is free software & how much not?

It just breaks my heart to see how much of ubuntu infrastructure is still locked up, whether its the forum or launchpad iteself :(

The link to dataportability.org is useful, I'll pass that on to the team
doing API design.

As an update on this bug, I'm pretty confident that you will be able to
do anything with bugs or branches programatically by the end of July.

Mark

Bhavani Shankar (bhavi) wrote :

Hello..

How about adding an assignee system to launchpad answers like bugs...? In the sense If a person gets stuck at answering then the assignee system removes the support giver as an assignee to the question... Basically Launchpad answering system mails questions to those people who have set themselves as an answer contact to ubuntu..

By adding this feature more people can see the questions and assign it to themselves(Based on their specialisation) so that we can have a lesser number of open questions..

Bhavani Shankar.

Przemysław Kulczycki (azrael) wrote :

Bhavani Shankar: please file a separate bug about it.

SoloTurn (soloturn) wrote :

big companies miss a software like launchpad inhouse for their software development. in future they might probably choose between a google appliance and ... i do not see anything else currently but launchpad.

SoloTurn (soloturn) wrote :

data api will not solve that big companies want a software like launchpad internally. including some support contract. there is no comparable offering in the market.

Rami Al-Rfou' (rmyeid) wrote :

I am now assigned to setup software engineering tools for a new company, i hope that launchpad will be free so i can use it. I love launchpad as a comprehensive tool for bug, issue tracking. Launchpad + git + freedom will be wonderful.

Emil Tullstedt (sakjur) wrote :

Ramy: Totally agree..
I'm helping in a project (not oss :() and would love to be able to use Launchpad as bugtracker...

TAA (gpgnews) wrote :
  • unnamed Edit (1.0 KiB, text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1)

Hello,
I do not want to issue criticisms for the usefulness of launchpad, which I
consider to be useful for the any project that want to use inorder to
increase its productiveness. Unfortunately we cannot share our experiments
of use of other tools as Launchpad (who cares ;)).

Regards

2008/5/27 SakJur <email address hidden>:

> Ramy: Totally agree..
> I'm helping in a project (not oss :() and would love to be able to use
> Launchpad as bugtracker...
>
> --
> Launchpad should be free software (free as in freedom)
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/50699
> You received this bug notification because you are a direct subscriber
> of the bug.
>

Zubin Bhuyan (zoobean) wrote :

Freedom is Free, so can(is) Launchpad be!!

Jeroen T. Vermeulen (jtv) wrote :

Nothing Translations-specific here, so Invalid for rosetta.

Changed in rosetta:
status: Confirmed → Invalid
Richard (mailme-richard) wrote :

LaunchPad has to be made free. Infact it will be good for Canonical too.

Joey Stanford (joey) wrote :

The marking of the other products as invalid doesn't invalid this bug. We're tracking all items against the launchpad project itself for triaging purposes and this bug is filed against that.

Changed in malone:
status: Confirmed → Invalid
Changed in launchpad-answers:
status: Confirmed → Invalid
Fabián Rodríguez (magicfab) wrote :

In case not all people subscribed to this have noticed:
http://popey.com/Launchpad_to_go_Open_Source_by_next_OSCon

Joey Stanford (joey) wrote :

N.B. - the roadmap has to be approved yet and some further detail
added to it but we're thinking about this seriously.

On Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 23:54, Fabián Rodríguez <email address hidden> wrote:
> In case not all people subscribed to this have noticed:
> http://popey.com/Launchpad_to_go_Open_Source_by_next_OSCon

Diogo Matsubara (matsubara) wrote :

Closing the launchpad task as this work will be tracked on launchpad-foundations. We're now using launchpad project as the initial triage queue. Bugs filed against launchpad are then re-targeted to the appropriate launchpad sub-project (e.g. malone, rosetta, foundations, launchpad-bazaar, soyuz, etc) after the initial triage. Thanks

Changed in launchpad:
status: New → Invalid
Karl Fogel (kfogel) wrote :

Note that there is a date and a roadmap for Launchpad becoming free software now.

As Mark pointed out, we're doing it in a way that encourages development to stay focused around Launchpad.net, to maximize the "cross-project view" potential. People can fork the free code if they really want to (that's part of being free), but we're trying to arrange it so that improving Launchpad.net itself is the easiest and most desirable option for developers. Please see https://dev.launchpad.net/OpenSourcing for more.

Karl Fogel (kfogel) wrote :
Changed in launchpad-foundations:
status: In Progress → Fix Released
Changed in launchpad-answers:
status: Invalid → Fix Released
Changed in malone:
status: Invalid → Fix Released
Changed in rosetta:
status: Invalid → Fix Released
Changed in launchpad:
status: Invalid → Fix Released
Changed in ubuntu:
status: Invalid → Fix Released
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