F-Droid arbitration panel => Antifeatures - how are they decided?

I just posted a comment on the GitHub post in which it is concluded that the code is proprietary. To me, the lack of any license terms (in a LICENSE file or elsewhere) and the use of a copyright notice do not necessarily mean the code is proprietary or otherwise not open.

The lack of license terms does mean something is proprietary as the default copyright in most countries in the world is to restrict completely.

Unless the work explicitly is under a FOSS license, it is not FOSS.


I beg to differ that the lack of license terms makes a work proprietary. Works in the public domain often do not have any license terms attached to them, but they clearly are not proprietary works. Please note that I’m not saying that “not proprietary” means “open” as in “open source”.

I don’t think a IP lawyer would agree.

“When you make a creative work (which includes code), the work is under exclusive copyright by default. Unless you include a license that specifies otherwise, nobody else can copy, distribute, or modify your work”


You quoted only a part of the page, other parts of it are clearly more nuanced than your quote.

One of the simplest counter-examples - albeit not yet applicable to (most) software as (most) software has not been around long enough for any of its copyrights to expire (“(most)” having been added as I’d be interested in an analysis of any copyright held in Ada Lovelace’s computer algorithms) - is a work of which the copyright has expired and has entered the public domain: Even though the work may still contains copyright notices, copyright no longer applies, by virtue of applicable law. Similarly, any “work of the United States government” as defined by US copyright law is in the public domain, even without any license description.

BTW, IANAL but worked in the IP domain for several years in a former life with IP lawyers :wink:

joinmastodon.org’s source code is neither:

  • old enough to have the copyright expired
  • a work from the United States government

So your comment is completely irrelevant.

I’m going to stop responding here. It’s not considered Free Software by F-Droid and thus the NonFreeNetwork anti-feature is there. There is no use to hijack the topic any further.

I regret the tone of the last reply of @TheLastProject

Some final remarks for now:

  • I’m not hijacking the topic, I was the original poster of the topic on Mastodon’s anti-features, which got merged in the the current topic later. Moreover, I tried to stay on the subject, apparently with misunderstood examples.

  • I thought the purpose of the forum discussions was to make progress, increase knowledge and solve issues, such as eliminating anti-features if possible. In that spirit I intend to try to contact the author of api.joinmastodon.org and ask for more information about the license of the code that’s handling the calls, and the authors of the Mastodon app to ask them why they have their app contact the server and see whether they are willing to solve the issues of having their app mandatorily connect to the hard-coded server address.

Issue opened on GitHub:

I’ll post the results.

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Could the potential inclusion of censorship be viewed as an undesirable feature, or an anti-feature, for Mastodon and other platforms? This arises from the observation that Mastodon regularly engages in the act of censoring content for often dubious reasons.

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They gave you a link to the API which leads to a 404 page which is very odd.

Contacted the people of the Mastodon app on GitHub, with among others the following result. The most interesting part is in italics, does anyone have any opinion on the push notification subject?


Can anyone tell me how to get in contact with the person(s) maintaining the code that’s being used on api.joinmastodon.org to handle the Mastodon app’s calls?


I believe what you’re looking for is here: https://github.com/mastodon/joinmastodon-api

And actually, I believe that anti-feature was initially added because the app supports push notifications via FCM. Sure, it only does that on devices that have Google services or their substitute like microG, but that was enough for them. It’s first time I’m hearing about API calls to joinmastodon.org being related to that.

Given that censorship depends on the server the user chooses, and given that a user can always create its own server, I don’t think the app should get any such label, even if it existed.

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Fair enough, most instances of censorship on Mastodon have indeed been localized to that specific instance.

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F-Droid doesn’t ship Play Services/Firebase so it wouldn’t flag an app for that.
And in practice very few apps use microG as a library replacement.
To be clear the majority of apps talking to microG do so using the full proprietary Play Services library.

Thanks for your response. So if I understand correctly, the anti-feature label is only related to the app’s automatic calls to the hard-coded api.joinmastodon.org address which runs code about which I’m trying to get additional information.

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We don’t care about F-Droid much

Heh, to no one’s surprise :slight_smile:

Yes, just do it, I will remove my app from this place anyway

Ah, didn’t realise. We get this a lot, but these AFs are not (t)here to punish the devs, but to inform the user. :person_shrugging:

Yes, it’s great that the code is out there, that the BBC service is free to be used (well if you live in the correct country at least), yet I feel there’s an urge to hide the fact that one is connecting to a proprietary/centralized server. All the code is in the open, why can’t this info be too?


Because it seems to lead to nothing.

Lets have an example:

I set up a server free and open according to your guidelines happyly connecting to BBC Worldservice and downloading the data which my app requires.

My app connects to my free / open server and gets the data (podcasts) from my server.

So this, as I understand you, would qualify for the removal of the non free network AF?

If so, it would be absurd, wouldn`t it?