ZenTest vs autotest & ZenTest-without-autotest

Ryan Davis's Avatar

Ryan Davis

15 Nov, 2010 10:33 PM

My gem is 'ZenTest' and includes a bunch of tools including 'autotest'. The user 'grosser' has released an 'autotest' gem as well as 'zentest-without-autotest'. I'm listed as the author, but he's listed as the owner. Had he released grosser-autotest I wouldn't give a fuck but he didn't. Had he worked with me to submit patches I would have worked with him. Instead he just went and used my product's name without ever submitting me anything. I'm tired of this misrepresentation.

http://rubygems.org/gems/autotest shows ~70k downloads

See also:

https://github.com/seattlerb/autotest-rails/issues/closed#issue/1

and the bottom of

https://github.com/seattlerb/autotest-rails/pull/3

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Nick Quaranto on 16 Nov, 2010 03:34 AM

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    I've added John, Evan, and Eric (current maintainers of RubyGems) to this conversation along with Michael Grosser.

    It seems like the community obviously loves autotest, and will get it any way they can. It's very clear that grosser's autotest is a fork of zentest, both under the MIT license. This seems totally kosher from an OSS license perspective. This isn't life, death, or sparta here, it's code.

    The stats alone prove that the community was looking for an easier way to install it and didn't remember that it came in the autotest suite. I really hope you guys can work together on this, because it seems that we need it.

    Personally I feel like you guys need to sit down and have a beer over this. Granted I'm not President Obama, this is the best I can do.

  2. 2 Posted by grosser on 16 Nov, 2010 08:01 AM

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    I dont quite remember how it started, but mostly it was a disagreement on 'autotest should be split from ZenTest'. Since there did not seem to be any diplomatic way to do it (e.g. 'submitting patches' was no alternative), I just did it.

    The alternative of forking a grosser-autotest sure would have been controversy-free, but not fix the problem and would have gone unnoticed (i dont know any username-gem that is popular / rebranding would break user-additions like .autotest / discover.rb).

    If the owner issue is so big: I have no problem with ryan being listed/co-listed as owner as long as all the features/refactorings are merged and its stand-alone.

    In my opinion the best resolution would be to make ZenTest more rails/rspec2 like by having dependencies on autotest/multiruby/3rd-part-of-zentest. So far I only got positive feedback on the split and several autotest-related projects already use autotest.

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by John Barnette on 16 Nov, 2010 03:33 PM

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    I'd love to see ZenTest split. Ryan wouldn't, and I feel like it's worth respecting his wishes. Ryan, if you change your mind I'm happy to help split 'em out and release a ZenTest that depends on multiruby, autotest, and unit_diff gems.

    Problem is, grosser has done quite a bit more than just autotest-without-zentest: There's a ton of changes in the commit log I just looked at, and none of them have been submitted upstream in a reasonable way. If they were, I could easily see many of them not being accepted, as they're purely opinion. This sort of divergence from upstream makes it REALLY hard to get things back on track.

    After looking at the download numbers for this gem, they're 30% of ZenTest's. That's plenty huge, and other gems depend on it. We're not going to do anybody any favors by messing with the gem.

    I can't think of any good reason to prohibit this. However, I think that you, grosser, did a poor job of thinking through the consequences of taking over a recognizable name for a piece of a very popular project, especially since you did it for, as far as I can see, the ability to see "autotest" instead of "ZenTest" in a gem list.

  4. 4 Posted by grosser on 16 Nov, 2010 07:14 PM

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    I think the biggest divergence is that cli options moved into bin/autotest, rakefile was changed, and gloabals removed, everything else should be mergable, id try do this work if a merge/split is possible.

    My initial (foolish) thoughts finished at 'once the split is accepted/merged everything gets clean again', but this did not happen and now its in a messy territory :<

  5. Support Staff 5 Posted by Eric Hodel on 16 Nov, 2010 09:21 PM

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    The issue here is not one of license, it's one of branding. The name of my software, 'autotest', is not covered by any license.

    Grosser chose to steal the name of my original software.

    He's did this without bothering to consult myself nor Ryan.

    I can't see where Grosser had any intention of cooperating with either myself nor Ryan on use of the name 'autotest'.

    Based on the comments on the final link, especially "im only doing this 'stunt' to create a better product" I can only conclude that Grosser intended to steal my original name.

    I don't think it's appropriate to allow someone I haven't approved of to co-opt the name of my software as the name of a gem.

  6. Support Staff 6 Posted by Ryan Davis on 17 Nov, 2010 12:57 AM

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    MG: "I dont quite remember how it started"

    Yes you do. I linked the ticket above. You filed a ticket on autotest-rails saying it should work w/o ZenTest. I rebutted saying it needs ZenTest (because it needs autotest). You replied just 3 hours later saying you already forked:

    MG (from the ticket): "[I] already forked it to make that possible"

    IN FACT, you forked months before that. Your first release was 4.1.4 on December 18, 2009. I just checked the rubyforge trackers... You've NEVER filed a ticket on zentest. How exactly does that amount to "there did not seem to be any diplomatic way to do it" if you never even bothered in the first place?

    That implies to me that you had every intention of forking from the beginning. Long before you ever bothered to contact us.

    Did you talk to me about the pros/cons of splitting it up? NO.

    Did you submit any patches to contribute to the project before forking? NO.

    Did you submit any patches to contribute after forking? NO.

    Did you ask for permission to use our brand? NO.

    Did you do anything to show you wanted to contribute before you forked? NO.

    MG: "The alternative of forking a grosser-autotest sure would have been controversy-free, but not fix the problem and would have gone unnoticed (i dont know any username-gem that is popular / rebranding would break user-additions like .autotest / discover.rb)."

    So you did this for the popularity (and controversy) it would bring you. Great. Way to ride our coat-tails and profit from it. Maybe next time you can actually write your own software.

    MG: "So far I only got positive feedback on the split and several autotest-related projects already use autotest."

    That's simply because you never bothered to consult us.

    JB: "Problem is, grosser has done quite a bit more than just autotest-without-zentest: There's a ton of changes in the commit log I just looked at, and none of them have been submitted upstream in a reasonable way. If they were, I could easily see many of them not being accepted, as they're purely opinion. This sort of divergence from upstream makes it REALLY hard to get things back on track."

    There are not "a ton of changes". There are only 23 diffs between my 4.4.0 and his 4.4.3, 5 of which are comments, 6 are options related, several are whitespace or coding style differences... I'd only count 3-4 of them to be useful bug fixes or changes needed for better windows performance.

    More importantly: NONE OF THEM have been submitted to us for review or inclusion.

    JB: "After looking at the download numbers for this gem, they're 30% of ZenTest's."

    Until you count all the downloads we had pre-gemcutter stats. I've been releasing ZenTest since 2002 and autotest specifically since 2006. I think it is fair to say, we own the brand.

    EH: "The issue here is not one of license, it's one of branding. The name of my software, 'autotest', is not covered by any license. Grosser chose to steal the name of my original software. He's did this without bothering to consult myself nor Ryan."

    This sums up the issue quite well, in much more polite language than I would have chosen. Grosser took advantage of the name of our software when he consciously (and conspicuously) forked and decided NOT to use the github convention of username-forked_name. I find this simply unethical. Yes, the MIT license allows him to fork at will. I have no problems with this. Had he released grosser-autotest, or released it under a different name entirely, I would be fine with it. He didn't. He stole our brand. He stole our effort in order to increase his visibility, not to "move the project forward"... After 11 months & 16 releases and he only has 12 unique changes from our software? I don't think so.

    Do I sound pissed? Yes. I am pissed. I find Grosser's actions unethical and rude. I want this resolved. I want our name back. Grosser is welcome to fork like every other OSS developer but it should be within the bounds of acceptable behavior of our community.

  7. Support Staff 7 Posted by John Barnette on 17 Nov, 2010 01:15 AM

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    Ryan's replies to my post are hard to argue with. I'd like to give Ryan sole ownership of the autotest gem. I don't see evidence that grosser made any good-faith effort to push his improvements upstream.

    In this case, Ryan, the autotest gem needs to continue working. I don't care if it's new code or an empty stub with a rigid ZenTest dependency, but we can't break behavior for the users who very naturally typed gem install autotest instead of gem install ZenTest.

    Evan, Eric, Nick, I'd appreciate you weighing in on this now.

  8. Support Staff 8 Posted by Ryan Davis on 17 Nov, 2010 01:20 AM

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    JB, I'm fine with that. I have absolutely no intention of screwing over current autotest users. I'll go over the diffs one-by-one. I certainly won't accept all of Grosser's changes as-is, but bug fixes and extended functionality will get folded in with proper attribution.

  9. Support Staff 9 Posted by Eric Hodel on 17 Nov, 2010 01:53 AM

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    As original author of autotest and originator of the name I see no problem with Ryan's plan.

    Since I have a vested interest in this gem name I don't think it is fair for my vote to count.

  10. Support Staff 10 Posted by Evan Phoenix on 17 Nov, 2010 02:56 AM

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    I delegate to John, Ryan, and Eric on this matter. The existence of the autotest gem was the original wish of grosser it would seem, it is the extension of the code and lack of communication that has led to the current undesirable situation.

    Ryan and Eric keeping the autotest gem largely solves this situation from the perspective of rubygems.org. If they are unable to collaborate with grosser, as Ryan has stated he is free to take the code in a direction under a different name.

    Grosser, I hope that you understand the situation and will agree to transfer ownership of the gem to Ryan and Eric.

  11. Support Staff 11 Posted by John Barnette on 17 Nov, 2010 05:24 AM

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    I am not interested in hosting a legal debate. Neither am I interested in dragging out this increasingly frustrating exchange or allowing this ticket to become a larger discussion of EULAs for RubyGems and Gemcutter. I'm fine with having those discussions -- they're important -- but not in the context of a conflict that we need to resolve now.

    raggi, I appreciate the comment, but I want this resolved now, and "take a step back and try to work together moving forward" isn't a concrete solution.

    grosser, I need to hear back from you on this at your earliest convenience. I'd like you to give Ryan ownership of the autotest name on Gemcutter, as he and Eric have been mantaining the autotest tool for a very long time. If you give him ownership, I'll make sure that autotest continues being released as an installable gem and that Ryan reviews all the commits you've made so far (and any in the future) for potential inclusion upstream.

  12. Support Staff 12 Posted by James Tucker on 17 Nov, 2010 06:28 AM

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    i've withdrawn my comment then. i clearly shouldn't be involved.

  13. 13 Posted by grosser on 17 Nov, 2010 10:30 AM

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    Keeping the gem installable / with the same feature-set seems a good resolution to me, nothing should break then.

    My initial comment on 'I dont quiet know how it started' referred to a conversation with a zentest contributor who I remember talking to about a split, which was declined, i searched my gmail/github but cant find it, so think what you want...

    I already added ryan([email blocked]) as owner, please push when the changes are merged and please let me know when you do so, so I can retire github.com/grosser/autotest and re-fork it to get the github naming/inheritance straight.

  14. Support Staff 14 Posted by John Barnette on 17 Nov, 2010 10:33 AM

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    grosser, I really appreciate you helping us get this sorted. I owe you a beverage. I'm going to close this assuming that Ryan will let you know when he does a merge/split release with ZenTest.

  15. John Barnette closed this discussion on 17 Nov, 2010 10:33 AM.

  16. grosser re-opened this discussion on 17 Nov, 2010 05:04 PM

  17. 15 Posted by grosser on 17 Nov, 2010 05:04 PM

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    That beverage should go to ryan, he`s the one doing the merging work.

  18. Support Staff 16 Posted by John Barnette on 17 Nov, 2010 05:43 PM

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    Ryan doesn't get beverages, he gets swift kicks in the head. Loves 'em. Reclosing this discussion.

  19. John Barnette closed this discussion on 17 Nov, 2010 05:43 PM.

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