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Notable PPA maintainer Jonathon F. deletes public access to a significant amount of PPAs in protest

PPAs that have had public access deleted:

Backport collection
CUDA tools
Development tools
Emacs 26
Perl6 (build dependencies)
Python 2.7
Python 3.5
Python 3.6
Python 3.7
ZFS on Linux
ZFS on Linux (0.7.13)
ZFS on Linux (Debian)

He claims people are ripping him off by scoring massive commercial profit off of the source code he hosts and maintains, with no credit or commission to the original maintainer.

I will be removing most of my PPAs from public access due to continued and persistent abuse by companies using these packages for commercial gain with flagrant disregard to the knowledge and effort required to maintain them.

These companies are quite happy to charge thousands of $CURRENCY per month for their product/service but when they make a request will absolutely not pay for someone else’s time.

“This is why we can’t have nice things.”

Just because it’s open source, doesn’t mean it isn’t courteous to ask for permission and give commission for effort.

Therefore, some major PPAs (FFmpeg 4.2+ and ZFS as examples) now no longer have Debian/Ubuntu PPAs.

This is what happens when open source is TOO open, it doesn’t necessarily go closed source, but private source.

Major abusers of FFmpeg’s (and in turn, youtube-dl's) source code include all the “YouTube Downloaders” that rake in massive profits from ads and license purchases. I get this is completely Jonathon’s point, because the market is flooded with those and it’s an easy malware attack vector or non-consensual mining vector. And the original maintainer gets not a single cent or any credit from the abuse of code. This is how open source can be ruined by massive capitalism.

So, what now? With no PPA, now many tutorials will have to refer to installing build guides rather than add a PPA then install using apt guides…

A similar thing happened to UKUU which went closed source because the author didn’t get a single cent for his efforts, and wanted to get paid for the code he was writing, so he fully closed source and made the code proprietary, and started charging licenses for using what is essentially a kernel directory GUI. (which Manjaro already has)


He did what he had to do and I think that’s the only to shake up things to change the status quo.

What should happen is FFmpeg should adopt an “acceptable use” policy because that code is being wildly abused for commercial profit, not only for YouTube downloaders, but paid commercial transcoders. FFmpeg doesn’t get a single cent from people that abuse their code, and just because some major hardware vendors sponsor their efforts, doesn’t mean they should allow the abuse of this code for massive “get rich quick” YouTube downloaders and video file converters.

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Why did he maintain these in the first place? Was it for profit and recognition?

I get he is annoyed but what do you expect when you make stuff freely available. It is shitty of companies to abuse it but there was no requirement for them to do anything as long as the license file was present.


[Edit: I was thinking the guy wrote actual packages, not just PPA’s, wich maye be more colaborations of other proples packages. Please do let me know where I am wrong by response, I have a lot to learn]

I guess he has the right to change his own license to a paid one, as he only has one person to agree to the change.

I’ve heard other projects sometimes wish to re-license, but with many collaborators, they just can’t get everyone to agree, like with the ZFS and Ubuntu thing, there was some talk of such, but it fizzled out quick.

It’s a shame the guy didn’t get fair funding as donations, and I wonder if he approached anyone like the FSF or anyone on getting some money for his free efforts?

I’m pretty sure there are a lot of packages in the same boat, and I’m not sure the original programmers intended to donate their time and effort In perpetuity to maintain them for other’s profit when they originally created them?

Wouldn’t it be nice if the next author announces it ahead of time, and gives profit makers the chance to either start donating, or re-base their projects on other code?

But fundamentally, it was freely given, and freely taken away

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Yes it would be unfair to expect him to continue doing this forever, that is simply not possible as he will die at some stage.

On the other side if you want your name on the box and money in the bank make it proprietary and charge for it. There must be a reason that he did not do that in the first place.

It would be naïve of me to put a recipe for very good cupckaes out there for free and then sit back and wait for my name to be in lights on ever store shelf and watch the money roll in.

I don’t have any ill will at all, he is free to do as he pleases and more power to him but it is just a tad shortsighted not to expect exactly this to happen.

Edit: I wonder if every YouTube DL site that used his work put his name in big red letters at the top of the page as this is the guy that makes this possible would really be what he wants. Recognition sure but YouTubes lawyers would probably.go right to him and regardless of the rights and wrongs would probably drag him through all sorts of bullshit.


I see what you mean regarding the license he chose to start with.
But I guess people at a high level are generally paid well at their jobs enough that their hobby can be donated for free, or some places even employ coders to work on open source software.

I am not going to criticize someone for maybe not choosing the best long term license at the start, because his whole life may have been different, and back then, a commercial piece of software may have just not been adopted, and fizzled out.

I would joke about a bit of a bait and switch, “first decade free, to get you hooked, then I start charging for each hit” :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t know about any site, but I use youtube-dl, and would pay I guess about $30 ish as a donation for perpetual license- it is that handy, but it;s not the end of the world to loose it.

Also some ppa’s are surely redundant now?
like the ZFS one, has been replaced by actual binaries?

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It goes without saying that I am not a coder, and I can only guess that donating the time to maintain, as well as the effort would be worth a lot of money if it was direct, paid work.

Like leaivng throusands of dollars open for others to profit from, and yet, the system mostly works? or in other words, giving a free car to a bunch of freeloaders?

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The counter to that is that he does not have to maintain anything if he does not want to. He could up sticks and say no more but he is not, he wants to keep working on Free and Open Source software as long as it is his version of that which is a bit two faced (not trying to be mean, I am saying you can’t have it both ways).

So it still leaves me with the why?
Does he like the coding? If so carry on, who care after that.

Does he want the recognition and money? Well why are you doing it for free with no obligation to require either.

Does he like helping people with useful software? Well clearly not at least not without making g them.jump through hoops for his own reasons.

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Reads to me like a spoiled brat. If the users didn’t violate the license (MIT, GPL v2/v3, BSD), does anything say they have to credit the PPA maintainer?


so basically didn’t need to throw toys out of the pram, just change the license from the one he originally chose

That’s a fairly gray area y’know…

If it’s all free… and people are taking for free… and using for profit… it’s like… their problem.

He’s not wrong for taking his stuff out, it’s his, but what was he expecting?

If we’re giving free software for people we can’t force them to not use it for profit.

If you want profit you gotta go get that bread.


Basically, he should have chosen a less open license. there are licenses that let you freely use it non-commercial, and ones that let even commercial use for free.

(by which I mean to say, you can give for free, and force them not to use it for profit)
The guy should have seen the future use and chosen a better license sooner



Exactly. Hope he changes the license and put it back. The more packages the merrier.


and like admindev says, his whole post was an unnecessary hissy fit, when he could have just re-licensed.

I’m pretty sure the old software maintains it’s license though, so a whole bunch of other stuff would just fade into obsolescence, but still be used, get buggy, and make his work look bad, so loose loose? :frowning:

Could also must lead to a whole bunch of Fork Off And Die alternatives, like you say take the last available one and just run with it.

Welp, a whole bunch of discussion for “nothing” more or less.
He did it because he wanted to. He now stopped it because he wanted to.

While i get his reasoning, i don’t see how those that used those ppa’s did anything wrong per se.
Ofc we’d all like it, if all people on earth would be nice. But you don’t get to be a big, rich company by being nice. If the license allowed for it, they just used it. And they where right to do so.
Yes, we’d like anyone who uses open-source projects to contribute back (either through work/code or money), but you can’t force people to do that. If you feel that’s wrong, you are free to not do your project. That’s fine too.

It’s all “free”. You are free to code and contribute or not. Others are free to use your work or not. And they are also free to give you something for your work, or not.

I appreciate the work he’s done so far and understand his reasoning. We’ll see what happens next.

Edit: Also, what was his plan? Let’s say some company pays him 10.000 bucks for the ppa of Python. Would he in turn forward that money to the python devs? Because he’s clearly also taking advantage of their work. I have no information on how much he contributed to the projects whose ppa’s he maintained, but the moment someone pays him money to do that, he’d have to forward a portion of that to the original project…


That’s the thing, he has not stopped he has just white listed his PPAs. If you want them you have to ask and otherwise he is still doing it all. So it is closed open source? He just want to.pick and choose who can and can’t use what he put up for everyone to use… Yeah makes sense.

It all depends on the specific license of the specific project the ppa is made for.
Some require your work to be fully open and freely usable, others don’t.

In my book, it’s still open-source. He’s just not sharing it. He’s free to do that (with most licenses at least).

It just feels a lot like he did the work and started out idealistic, but after seeing the actual numbers on some of the projects using his work, he wanted some of that. I can see why you’d be mad if your personal work would earn someone else tons of money and you wouldn’t get any of that. But that’s the risk you run with open-source. As was already stated: If you don’t feel like that’s what you want to do, you can always go proprietary.


To me, this seems like addressing burn out or succumbing to it. This is pretty tame for that case compared to some others I’ve seen.