So Gab has decided that their own code that they spent $5M of investor money developing is so unsalvageably bad that they're going to use Mastodon's code instead, with the added bonus of leeching off of our apps (with Gab apps being banned from app stores)

This is an early warning to fellow admins to be vigilant and domain-block them on sight, when/if they appear (unconfirmed whether they intend to federate), and to app devs to consider if blocking Gab's domains from their app is necessary.

One has to wonder if their investors feel ripped off about this... After all, there are more than 2,000 installations of Mastodon and the costs begin at $5/mo, not $5M

@Gargron man imagine ur code base sucking so much mastodon is better than it

@Gargron wonder how feasible it is to have a LICENSE that explicitly forbids it for being used for hate

@Gargron @j @LuigiEsq Licenses with ethical/morality clauses are very hard to enforce, due in part to issues with legal definition and interpretation (esp. across jurisdictions). JSON license "do no evil" clause is the most prominent example, but there are others.

Licenses will not help resolve this problem, which must be solved by the mechanisms most Mastodon instances (and,, and Mastodon client apps) are now using... 1/2

@Gargron @j @LuigiEsq Moderation, instance blocks, ToS, and policies (Server Covenant etc.) are effective, and will need to be done anyway.

Enforcement of copyleft license terms (GPL, AGPL, CC BY-SA etc.) is already extremely hard and requires money and legal resources.

License proliferation (e.g. not choosing AGPL for Mastodon) only causes friction for FOSS collaboration. It hurts devs and makes a mess that is difficult to clean up... which will only harm the Fediverse and limit use. 2/2

@diggity @j @LuigiEsq I agree in the sense that if someone violates AGPLv3 there are multiple established institutions willing to defend it which a custom license does not benefit from

I think I've also mentioned elsewhere in the thread that re-licensing Mastodon is practically very hard due to no CLA and about 600 contributors

@Gargron @j @LuigiEsq Yep. I got to this thread late but we're all in agreement.

I just *really* would hate to see a new license for Mastodon, it has been very successful under AGPL and will continue to be.

Historically, Gab will be a blip on the Mastodon radar... they may not even make the codebase switch. The devs are obviously sloppy AF and now that client apps like Tusky, Sengi etc will block their instance (rickrolling too!), Masto won't solve the primary problem Gab thought it would.

@j @Gargron That would be a nonfree license. You can't restrict how people use your software or that would not be "open source" or free software. It would become proprietary software instead.


Completely feasible, and easy. Just insert the (completely subjective) line...

But it wouldn't be a free license as per , the , or the :

@Gargron @OpenSource @chucknorrisfacts @starwall


@Gargron Mastodon and ActivityPub open them up to a bigger audience. So, I imagine they'd be happy. Regardless if other instances ban them or not, this is how FB, Twitter and Youtube are making money, supporting the controversy because it gets more clicks. Not everyone will ban them and waves of drama will ensue.

@sikkdays @Gargron They’re not coming for the audience. Gab already has one. They’re coming for the protocols and tools. Gab isn’t in this to be a Twitter clone for the rest of her life.

@Gargron only if your work is free :) but yeah, they wasted a lot of $$$

@lain It's true that my work isn't free, but Gab gets the results of my work for free, so their investors' money didn't go to the development of their platform (or did, but got wasted--bad either way)

@Gargron @lain i don’t see that bad, firstly our Toots will be available to all Gab users, About 850000 members so our instances can be a trojan horse inside gab. Also there’ll be a lot of publicity around mastodon, and probably a lot of media coverage about fediverse and mastodon creator that will condamn the use of its software, bla bla bla...
so a lot new instances will be created, some band but a lot good, and for sure fediverse will be a lot bigger

@filippodb @Gargron @lain I guess the concern will be the unsavory nature of much of Gab's content then being associated with Mastodon. I honestly tried to engage with folk on Gan once, sought to understand their beliefs & worries. The torrent of abuse I got followed me off Gab and onto twitter. It's a terrible community. I don't think they should be silenced (that's a whole different matter) but I get the concerns of reputational damage by association.

I just want to say I wasn't up to date with all things concerning Gab, so thank you guys for having this conversation!
@filippodb @Gargron @lain

@Gargron honestly my favourite is how their people clearly _do not understand anything on a technical level_ about mastodon (exhibit A: "we won't offer federation but of course apps that support it would" , exhibit B: the guy, in their blog post, clearly not understanding that the activitypub c2s protocol is not mastodons API)

@Prez_Cannady he writes that because they use activitypub, they can now use mastodon apps, which is the kind of casual mistake you make if you write about something that you have no clue about

@halcy I didn’t infer that from that post. And Torba talked about federation today on Periscope.

@Prez_Cannady right there:

as a bonus, there's also a "oh we're SO COMMITTED to TRANSPARENCY" which is the usual corporate (remember: they're a for profit corporation) doublespeak for "ugh it's copylefted so we have to share sourcecode"

@halcy There’s another reason to share the source. There’s almost no chance anyone is going to write something worth keeping proprietary. At least not something that requires deeply coupling to the forked source. So why not recruit free labor on both ends of the pipe?

@Prez_Cannady the reason companies like gab share the source when all their previous efforts were closed is is that they have to. everything else is generally post-hoc justification.

@halcy Sheer inertia, I suppose. But regardless of obligation Gab has certainly determined the benefits of going open source outweigh the costs of keeping things in house.

@Prez_Cannady they have no choice. They literally cannot run mastodon and keep their changes for themselves, that is how the affero gpl works.


Agreed. I'm just pointing out that this doesn't seem to be a problem for Gab. Sure, it cuts across the grain, but Gab doesn't really have anything to lose by being a good FLOSS citizen.

@Gargron this is about the level of technical competency I'd expect of them but still, lol

@Gargron wait... someone on the right grifted someone out of their money? This is unprecedent

@Gargron - according to Wikipedia and are the domains being used. Any others?

@Gargron From your post, I don't quite understand what is the reason to "domain-block them on sight". They are somehow modifying the Mastodon code so that it could cause trouble to other instances?

@fuxoft They are a far-right host, supporting racism, white supremacy, and hatred. Any decent human will want them blocked on sight.

@Gargron the replies you're getting from nazi apologists will be great additions to my blocklist.

@Gargron gab will still be blocked from app stores, right? regardless of the code they use, the service will still host hate speech and thus be quickly banned for the same reasons as the prior app if they use Gab branding in any way

@dantheclammansrandomspamcan @Gargron That's a tricky thing. If they're just another Mastodon instance, their users will probably use one of the many mobile apps the ecosystem already has.

At that point, what will the platform holder do? Ban the app that can access any instance, precisely because it can access gab? On the Apple store that's most likely seeing what happened with Tumblr and porn. On the Google store, I'm not so sure.

Yes, if it's a Gab instance, it will be up to instance moderators to block I guess. If they are trying to make a Gab-branded app that uses fedi as a backend, those should be straightforward to block from the stores.

@Gargron would be fun if when trying to login into gab we opened some "why fascism is bad" page instead

@Gargron This is also an early warning of the kind of threats the fediverse is facing.

@Gargron I disagree, in principle, with blocking on sight, but since it's Gab, I'll have to agree :P

@pedro @Gargron
Then apparently you don't actually disagree on principle.

@jlcrawf @Gargron hum idk. What I meant was in theory - in terms of ideology - I disagree but I recognize Gab as one of the exceptions to the rule.

@pedro @Gargron
Why does there need to be an exception to the rule? It is fairly easy for users to not follow people that they disagree with. Why do they need to be "protected" to the point that they can not engage with them at all?

@Gargron Why should I? If no bad content appears on my mastodon I won't.

@Gargron I have never heard of "Gab" before. Where can I learn more about the problem at hand?

@amenthes just throw it into a search engine - searching “gab social network” on DuckDuckGo gets you a Wiki article, and some news articles about the site

@Gargron From what I have been observing it seems that the decrease in Gab's user base has accelerated since the launch of the instance, which is probably why Masto got their attention (if you can't beat them join them I guess?)

They seem to be trying to imitate certain aspects of as a response to this churn.

Not sure a preemptive domain block is needed for everyone...if no local user interacts it seems they naturally don't federate with you.

Really!? First of all, why have all admins block all Gab users just for being Gab? Plus, someone blocking Gab from an app is absolute censorship for little reason than to discourage Gab usage. Why?

Calling all users of Gab Nazis and censoring each and every one for being on Gab is not acceptable.

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