Inclusion of MXit plugin into Pidgin

Pieter Loubser Pieter.Loubser at
Thu Oct 15 10:56:26 EDT 2009

Hi Mark,

Thank you for clarifying the issues around the inclusion of the MXit
plugin for us. We (as MXit) understand your (as Pidgin) concerns and
free software ideals around the MXit login splash-screens.

However we would still like to be a part of the standard Pidgin protocol
family. As the splash-screen advertising is your biggest concern, we
discussed it with our management and are willing to change the mandatory
splash-screen shown at login to an optional feature which the user would
be able to enable/disable through an account setting. We will also
default this setting to be disabled. Thus by default nobody would get
and see these adverts except if they are really interested and enable it
manually on their own account, since some people like to see the
splash-screens that often promote new services in MXit etc.

We have made the above mentioned changes to our source code today, so we
have it ready if it is acceptable to you in this form.

We appreciate your time and assistance.



> We kind of left this discussion dangling and I'd like to try to
> summarize a few things.  Please correct me if anyone feels my
> perception is flawed.  From my point of view I feel like there are two
> roadblocks preventing the inclusion of the MXit protocol plugin into
> the upstream libpurple source tree.
> 1. I'm not sure users will be able to get the help they need from the
> Pidgin/libpurple project in order to properly use MXit.  Some support
> folks the MXit team have answered some users questions on our support
> mailing list (thanks guys!), but there are also a few unanswered
> questions from the past month.  I don't think this issue is very
> important, especially considering the low volume of questions, and I
> think we could improve things over time.
> 2. This email thread, including the emails quoted above, seem to
> indicate some differences in opinion between MXit and Pidgin/libpurple
> developers.  I'm not sure how severe these differences in opinion are.
>  Some Pidgin developers are ok with displaying advertisements that
> benefit MXit, since MXit created the plugin.  Other Pidgin developers
> have the opinion that the MXit code is GPL, why wouldn't we rip out
> the advertisements when we distribute it?
> I recognize that the Pidgin project isn't the easiest open source
> project to work with--we're a bit closed to outside influences and we
> tend to hold Stallmanistic[1] ideals about free software.  We also
> tend to give our developers free reign over our source tree.  Once
> we've vetted a new contributor and given him commit access, we're
> basically ok with him changing whatever he wants.  (We do of course
> review each other's changes and object when we see something we don't
> like.)  But what would happen if one of our developers desired to
> remove the advertisements from the MXit protocol plugin?  I would hate
> to see a tug of war between a current Pidgin developer and an MXit
> developers, where one person removes the advertisement and the other
> person ads it back.
> If the MXit developers would like the plugin to retain the
> advertisements mentioned in this thread and the plugin were included
> with libpurple then it seems this difference of opinion could strain
> our relationship quite a bit.  Hearing other people's thoughts on this
> would be helpful here, but it sounds like it will be difficult to
> distribute the MXit plugin alongside the official Pidgin binary :-(
> -Mark
> [1] In regards to Richard Stallman, the creator of the GPL.
> Describing him as a free software zealot isn't unreasonable.

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