Ever since my post about TRM hitting its limits, I’ve been in discussions with a reputable company who has offered to let the MusicBrainz community use their fingerprint server in exchange to a free license to the MusicBrainz live-data feed. While I am not ready to reveal who this company is, I do feel that I can trust these folks — this is not the first time we’ve chatted.
The straw-man deal that we’ve put together makes sense for MusicBrainz and this company. Unlike MusicBrainz’ relationship with Relatable, this relationship would be more balanced. Plus, we would not have to maintain the server ourselves. All around I feel good about this proposed deal. There is just one little snag.
They are uncomfortable with open sourcing their client.
While I am not an open source license Nazi, I have received tons of complaints about MusicBrainz using a technology that is not fully open. As a matter of fact, my most unpleasant dealings with the general public have been on this point (that the TRM server is closed source). And I’ve had unreasonable people shout unreasonable things at me over this point. Quite frankly I am not really interested in having to defend my position on this any further, but I fear that not having a working fingerprint solution may be more of a hassle than having to defend a closed source solution.
So, my question to you is this:
- Do you value having access to a fingerprint solution as part of MusicBrainz more than MusicBrainz being an end-to-end open solution?
- What arguments can we make for having this company open source their client, as Relatable did? I’ve argued the standard open source arguments and I think that there is still a small chance that we can persuade this company to open up. I need to construct a better argument and perhaps meet with them in person to hash this out further. What things should I argue?
Please keep your idealistic everything needs to be open arguments to yourself. I simply won’t bother reading them or responding to them. I really care to see if we can find a balance where we can maximize the value that MusicBrainz presents, even if it means compromising our values slightly. If you’re not ready to make a balanced argument, then please don’t.
NOTE: If we were to start using a closed source fingerprint solution, nothing else would change. None of the existing licenses for MusicBrainz would change. So, keep your pants on and stop frothing at the mouth.