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MEGA source code (github.com)
87 points by macco on Jan 28, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 30 comments

This appears to not actually be open source or free software. The MEGA Limited Code Review License [0] gives some permissions but stops short of allowing use for any purpose, modification, sharing, and redistribution of modified versions.

[0] https://github.com/meganz/MEGAsync/blob/master/LICENCE.md

Which appears to be a violation of GitHub's terms of service, which explicitly require the ability to fork projects:

"By setting your repositories to be viewed publicly, you agree to allow others to view and fork your repositories."


Independent development (forking) doesn't imply that you can redistribute those versions to arbitrary parties.

At least someone can review the code, but is this enough to trust them? I am talking about the people who really worries about their files on cloud storage services.

It is not enough as this does not assert they are executing this code and not a modified version.

How would one go about asserting that?

Lately I've spent some time contemplating how to establish trust in cloud services, this particular nut I haven't been able to crack yet.

Interesting problem, right? Not an expert in the area, but blockchain implementers say they solve this issue. Afaik then there isn't one trusted party, but anyone can compile and run the code and be a provider (and be paid), and a single untrustworthy party won't bother because his chances of compromising the user's data is small.

Whatever they release, there is no way to prove that that is the code that is actually running on their servers.

is open source the point here?

The title of this thread is rather ambiguous; MEGA has published the source code to their client APIs for quite some time now[0]. Even their iOS, Android, and Windows Phone apps are open source on GitHub.

[0]: https://mega.nz/blog_31

Seems to be related to the announcement from Kim Dotcom saying Bitcache/Megaupload 2.0 will be open source. Still sad that this is not golden standard nowadays.

How exactly is it a good idea for all websites to release their source code?

My opinion is that websites/provider that handle with the customer's sensitive data should release the source, at least the client side source. I just want to be sure that my data is encrypted on the client side and not accessible by the service provider.

It does not mean everyone should be able to use the code. There are still licenses associated with the published source which can/should prevent others to use the code.

The client side source is downloaded and executed by your browser and you can inspect it at any time.

Yes, if you use the website. If you use mobile apps that is more difficult.

Other than profit motivation and IP, why isn't it?

Aren't profit motivation and IP good enough arguments?

No, they are not. If these arguments are good enough for you, you can justify really unethical things.

We don't live on a commune, the reality of the world is without money and IP we wouldn't have some of the biggest companies on Earth.

And while I'm sure you'll attempt to spin that into a "good thing", I'll hazard a guess that these companies are a net positive when you include millions of employees and the fact without them computers would still by a hobby, not ubiquitous technology, and in fact I'd be surprised if we weren't decades to centuries behind in other fields.

>when you include millions of employees

Although it's good that people are getting by with a job, exploitation is still present.

>without them computers would still by a hobby

Many people wish they were, this seems like a matter of taste.

The fact is that IP law necessarily requires censorship, and many people, including myself, do not view that as a positive thing, no matter what the cost is. It's a matter of principle; why is suddenly censorship OK when it's in law? Because we're all used to it? Because there wouldn't be 'innovation' without it? My value system throws out all these excuses - I think it is wrong, full stop. So I do not obey IP law.

Others may have different opinions, but I do not support it.

So let's look at your "net positive" of these companies: worker exploitation on a massive scale, including sweatshop labour and horrid production lines in developing countries, censorship, and not being afforded our software freedoms. But don't worry about that - there's plenty of innovation going on.

Most people wouldn't have those freedoms to censor if computers were still a "hacker hobby". A censored internet is still the equivalent of the second coming of print from an information standpoint. I imagine it was rather trivial to censor a book back then too. Compare what someone at an Internet cafe in China can learn to someone in that same country minus their censored internet.

The internet didn't cause propaganda or indoctrination they'd be exposed to, if anything it makes it even harder to indoctrinate people when you're essentially blacklisting the truth instead of whitelisting it (what happened back when information came only from a government)

I'm also amused you call that outcome for computers something that could be considered good depending on ones taste.

As if the fact computers have brought almost all of mankinds information to the literal fingertips of masses of people instead of being a curiosity for a small subset of that population is something good only as a matter of "taste". What they've done for fields like medicine and aerospace, and hundreds of fields.

Do you know the definition of "net positive"? It means despite sweatshops (which existed well before computers and are an issue that's gotten better, not worse), ecological damage, and a new frontier for oppression we as a world have come forward. And we have, people naively attempt to blame our issues on technology when globally life expectancy is rising and technology is finally starting to make inroads in the world's poorest populations.

It's like people who are obsessed with software freedom forget that having software be so ubiquitous they practically consider it an inalienable right is a privilege that was earned not just by open source, but "ruthless entrepreneurs" trying to make a profit.

And IP law is not "censorship" and frankly its childish to imply someone choosing not to share their own original idea is "censorship", regardless of what it's built on. There are licenses for people who want to kill usage of their work for closed profit generation, if they're not used all use is game regardless of mora outrage.

>which existed well before computers and are an issue that's gotten better, not worse

That's irrelevant; the fact is that they still exist, and they are still used to make computer products.

>Compare what someone at an Internet cafe in China can learn to someone in that same country minus their censored internet.

And imagine what you could do without any censored Internet. I'm not seeing your point here.

>we as a world have come forward

I do not dispute that, feudalism was better than what preceded it, and capitalism is better than the feudalism that preceeded it. I do not see why we must keep it this way, though, and in fact endorse the problems of capitalism (eco damage, censorship because of IP law that only exists due to capitalism, sweatshop labour) and throw up our arms and say "well, it's better than it was before".

Better than before is not good enough. Not nearly good enough.

>having software be so ubiquitous they practically consider it an inalienable right

Almost nobody considers access to software a right.

>not just by open source, but "ruthless entrepreneurs" trying to make a profit.

That is not a justification for the continued existence of the technology industry.

>And IP law is not "censorship"

To say that I'm not allowed to publish something is censorship. If I'm not allowed to copy a book by photocopying for example, it's censorship. If I am barred from any kind of communication whatsoever, no matter the content, it's censorship.

>choosing not to share their own original idea is "censorship"

That's not what I was saying. I was saying that once it's "out there", once it's been released to someone, it would be censorship to tell that person that they are not allowed to share what they have been provided with. And the concept of an idea having value is laughable, it's such a strange concept. "I had an idea first therefore I can stop you from doing things with that idea, even if you came up with it by yourself". It literally makes me laugh. The sheer childish selfishness of it all.

Nobody ought to be able to force you to tell them something, and nobody ought to be able to force you not to tell someone something.

Without IP we'd be stuck with really shitty software: nobody would ever waste millions in writing something just so somebody else can copy it the next day. Same as medicine patents, copyright of art, etc

Except, y'know, all the most ubiquitous software evolved in the open / academic sphere.

Pretty much any video codec today is built on the quantization techniques utilized by JPEG. PNG is open as well as being built on compression techniques derived from GZIP. HTML and HTTP themselves have been open from their inception. TCP/IP, the very backbone of the modern internet, was an open standard developed by the DoD and most OSes (including Windows) used BSD's stack for decades. OpenGL, the 802 standards, the C programming language, SVG, ISO 9660, JEDEC (SDRAM), USB, Linux, the PC architecture itself. Etc.

Fact is, computers/software are literally the worst place to try to make this argument. It's very stance today is due to the socialistic community of hackers, developers, researchers and hobbyists.

Many of those projects you mentioned were state-funded.

I also agree that states should fund more free software.

Yes, that's usually how academia works.

I specifically said "socialistic", so I don't know where I implied they weren't.

Reality disagrees with you. It so happens that most non-free software is total crap while their free counterparts are truly superior.

Want some examples? Firefox/Chromium vs IE, GNU/Linux and the *BSDs vs windows, youtubedl vs every single nonfree video downloader, gcc/clang vs the ms compiler, emacs vs notepad/VS, etc.

I think most might be stretching it. Things like games and Photoshop generally are considered better than their open source counterparts.

I am not an artist myself however every artist that I know who has made use of Krita, Inkscape and Blender say that they are superior to their non-free counterparts.

As for games I would say that it depends. Wolf:ET/ETLegacy for example is superior to most modern FPS games. I believe that the main problem is the lack of free games and artists instead of the quality of the free games.

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