The Amarok Bailout Bill

Leo Franchi lfranchi at
Sun Mar 8 11:13:58 CET 2009

(top-posting, as everyone else has i want to keep the flow legible)

I agree with most of the comments here. I develop on Amarok because...  
I like it, and it's completely voluntary. I don't think we should ever  
be *doing anything* just for the potential money involved (that is, do  
something we don't want to do but are forcing ourselves). Also, i  
simply don't think that ever could happen---FOSS is too deeply  
ingrained in us.

Also, from personal experience, the amount of loathing that  
discovering xchat provides non-free binaries on windows created...that  
made me decide never to use xchat again, on any platform. I don't want  
users to hate amarok. I want users to love amarok.


On 8 Mar 2009, at 09:20, Nikolaj Hald Nielsen wrote:

> I think this is a _really_ bad idea.
> The very point that we are completely open and Free and gratis is what
> I believe will eventually make this project very successful. I really
> do believe that we are close to some sort of tipping point. Between
> Magnatune ( the actual commission for sales is currently not very
> large, but the time they have sponsored for me to work on Amarok
> amounts to significant $ ), the Jukebox project which is picking up
> speed and additional Amarok devs and a few other stores that wants to
> work with us ( as soon as we find someone to actually do the work.
> They will pay btw. ) I think Amarok has the potential to generate a
> significant cash flow in the not too distant future. Getting solid
> Windows and Mac versions will help a lot in this respect.
> For the time being, this might amount to just having people paid by
> company X to work on Amarok, but if we get solid integration with more
> music stores ( the ones we are in talks with have very large catalogs
> with mainstream music ) this ill change, perhaps even allow the Amarok
> project to hire a few full time developers.
> So, in summary: bad idea. And I really don't think such a drastic step
> is needed. Lets trade on our strengths and openness instead of
> throwing all that away.
> - Nikolaj
> On Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 6:25 AM, Dan Meltzer
> <parallelgrapefruit at> wrote:
>> No.
>> I work on Amarok for personal enjoyment, and to have a kickass music
>> player that I can use.  I do not own a mac, this interests me not at
>> all.  This is attempting to take the Amarok project in a direction
>> that is vastly different from the direction that made it succesful  
>> and
>> if this happens it likely will mean the loss of a large amount of our
>> current userbase (at least the idealists...)
>> Dan,
>> On Sat, Mar 7, 2009 at 9:28 PM, Orville Bennett  
>> <illogical1 at> wrote:
>>> Hash: SHA1
>>> Oho. Wrong List.
>>> This should have been sent to the devel list instead, sending  
>>> there to
>>> continue discussion.
>>> On Mar 7, 2009, at 8:05 PM, Orville Bennett wrote:
>>>> Hash: SHA1
>>>> Hey guys,
>>>> So I've fleshed out the idea a bit more and I've put my thoughts
>>>> down below. Just to make it clear this is just something I'm
>>>> throwing out there. We found ourselves in a bit of a bind with our
>>>> current financial position. Clearly there is a desire to, on some
>>>> fronts, to monetize Amarok. We already have commercial partners
>>>> where tentative deals are being negotiated, but nothing concrete  
>>>> (or
>>>> guaranteed). We also have the Magnatune initiative and the revenue
>>>> stream from Amazon via the covers.
>>>> Unfortunately our main source of funds, the annual roktober
>>>> fundraiser, can't ensure we cover all costs. First we had to have a
>>>> fund raiser in the first place, then we had to extend it because we
>>>> didn't meet our target. Our other revenue streams such as  
>>>> Magnatune,
>>>> while great also don't offer a lot of solvency in the long term.
>>>> Take Camp KDE for instance, it would have proven quite difficult to
>>>> cover the cost of our student developers up front (one of whom had
>>>> to fly in from the U.K.) if we wanted to. We still don't have the
>>>> mac developer machine we need, and if one is ever provided it looks
>>>> like it will be using out-of-pocket funds. Compounding this cash
>>>> flow shortage are our other developers and contributers who will
>>>> need help to go to upcoming conferences and developer sprints and
>>>> you can see that we're in trouble.
>>>> In lieu of another fund raiser (because you know people are going  
>>>> to
>>>> ask what we're doing with "all that money" we got) I propose that  
>>>> we
>>>> instead go full blown on capitalizing on amarok. We have a lot of
>>>> buzz right now in the windows and macintosh communities and I
>>>> suggest we capitalize on that. The idea is that we focus on these
>>>> platforms (for the time being) and test the waters with providing
>>>> services to them for a nominal fee.
>>>> Clearly the most obvious service we have to offer is amarok, both  
>>>> as
>>>> a platform (Soren's GTACFeat) and a service in itself (audio
>>>> manager). Running with this idea we have a bit of competition  
>>>> with a
>>>> well established base in the windows world (fubar2000, itunes and
>>>> yes, even winamp and WMP). On the mac side however, there is only
>>>> itunes, which as we all know, is a subpar product. Additionally the
>>>> mac has already built up, and is used to the idea of commercial
>>>> indie software.
>>>> So there it is. I'm suggesting that we focus our currently limited
>>>> resources on delivering an awesome product to the mac platform.
>>>> We're actually almost there already and have only 3 major problems
>>>> left to deal with. _If_ we did commit to this, and put all our
>>>> resources into it and deliver an awesome product, I'm confident it
>>>> would pay off (quite literally) and allow us to then garner more
>>>> exposure, then users, then additional developers (remember when
>>>> winamp said they were going x-platform? if nothing else they got  
>>>> the
>>>> press and developers interested in helping).
>>>> Just to make it clear, I'm not suggesting we turn this into a  
>>>> closed
>>>> source operation. The beauty of OS X is that the users there are
>>>> used to paying for a service, provided that this service is "worth
>>>> it". We'd be providing both a service (binaries, > itunes features)
>>>> AND a platform (scripting interface, services, superior to anything
>>>> else available plugin architecture). And we wouldn't have to
>>>> sacrifice much except the other platforms (for a while).
>>>> Feel free to give your thoughts below.
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Leo Franchi				(650) 704 3680
Tufts University 2010

lfranchi at
leonardo.franchi at

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