Hey guys, this time I really messed up :/

I think you should see something.

Like I mentioned many time before, this isn't my first attempt at creating an aggregator. Years ago, I built something similar, and back then I drew a lot of inspiration from Postmill. This time, to avoid starting from scratch, I get some elements from my old snippets. Originally, kbin was meant to be a project just for me and a few friends, so I didn't attribute the origin authors. That's not an excuse, though — I should have done it right away when the project became public on git. I have a point in my roadmap called "Preparing a repository for contributors," where I allocated a significant amount of time to educate myself about licenses, attributions, and so on. Unfortunately, everything unfolded in the wrong order.


I think Emma is right. Since I share my small successes with you, I also want to be transparent about my failures and mistakes. I will push the proper attributions to the repository today along with some critical fixes.

To avoid reinventing the wheel, I took some code used in federation from Pixelfed as well. Essentially, there are two projects two projects will be marked. However, I have never concealed this fact:


I mean that I'm not a guy who wants to steal your code. It's obvious that someone will take a look at the code of a project that is very similar to theirs. Sometimes, I just become terribly messy when I have to do many things at once. This lesson will definitely teach me to prioritize tasks better.

In the end, I can only promise that once everything settles down and I manage to extract a library for ActivityPub, I will revisit the Postmill repository, this time with a pull request proposal.

You should definitely check it out.

https://postmill.xyz/ - Project page
https://raddle.me/ - Postmill instance
https://pixelfed.org/ - Of course, everyone here is familiar with this one ;)

PS. the website should be running a bit faster. I will talk about it next time.


This is the kind of transparent communication that buys so much goodwill and trust from the community. I've been enjoying my first experience in the Fediverse with Kbin, and the response here only makes me love it that much more. Nicely handled.

PtitSerpent avatar

I think we did a good choice


Agreed. I had already created an account on a Lemmy instance (Lemmy.one since I wanted to avoid the two main .ml instances). I had just about settled but decided to give Kbin a try. While it doesn't seem quite as far along in it's development, it struck me as a better user experience. Combined with reservations I have about the Lemmy developers... Well, here we are. And seeing this level of involvement and dedication to doing the right thing from the developer confirms that choice. Kudos @ernest

Rhaedas avatar

I've been using both sides to figure things out, and I always end up using kbin more.


I like Kbin so far (as I post from Lemmy), and if I had the capability I'd write an app for it.


As I am totally new to this whole thing, could you elaborate for me on those reservations about the lemmy developers? And are those the same that created lemmy.world?

@j3j5@hachyderm.io avatar

@ernest Hey man, if it's of any help, I have a PHP (laravel) project which mostly federates fine, license is AGPLv3 as well, so feel free to reuse what you see fit.

Edit: may be more useful with the link 🤦‍♂️


ernest avatar

It makes a strong impression at first glance.

ernest avatar

I will definitely check it out! Thanks

@j3j5@hachyderm.io avatar

@ernest It's still wip so not all AP activities are supported yet, but it's powering some of my bots ( @BigBo_Energy @MeteoUY @LaDiaria )

lixus98 avatar

We appreciate the transparency and hope everything can be solved without much friction. Keep it up!

0xtero avatar

Seems just like another day with open source software.
You gotta be careful about licensing and attribution and it can get really messy, but no big deal really.
Seems like you're correcting this and acting in good faith.

It shouldn't happen, but it happens. Thanks for the transparency


Agreed, that's the key - act in good faith.

If you make a mistake, try to fix it in good faith. Seems like that's what is happening. 👍


You handled this extremely well, especially in the face of someone so clearly looking for things to be outraged by. LitigiousEmma had no reason to be that aggressive right out of the gate and comes off as someone that the Open Source community would be significantly better off without.


Emma's point is valid, but it was a pretty ham-fisted and overly-agressive way to approach it. May need to touch some grass. Could have just been a "hey, noticed this. Could you look into this?" And then if your response wasn't great then get mad. Seems like the assumption from they get-go was that you're just an asshole that didn't care and did it intentionally.


It's alright. I do think the actual issue was worded perhaps a bit harshly and combative, and I think you responded correctly. Very much appreciate the accountability here. To be honest if anything, this probably gives me more faith in you in the long run. There are many ways you could have dealt with it, but as far as I can see you've dealt with the issue as honorably as you could have.
Proper attribution can be tricky. We all learn. We all make mistakes. A lot of us will never release a project that makes it as far as yours has so even our issues don't become even nearly as visible.
Keep your head up and stay calm. You're doing great. We got you.


There are many ways you could have dealt with it, but as far as I can see you've dealt with the issue as honorably as you could have

It's certainly a far cry away from "We will remain profit driven until profits arrive" that a certain someone said in response to a legitimate question over on the other site. A breath of fresh air really.

CoderKat avatar

Lol, exactly what I was thinking. I can't imagine a Reddit admin posting something like this.

Timwi avatar

You, sir, are an honorable person. I think I can speak for all open-source hobby programmers when I say: you make us proud.


Cross-posting my comment:

This is one of my largest frustrations with the open source community. Everything is immediately assumed as malicious. There is no escalation, it's "you screwed me over" from the jump.

I suppose it's bred from decades of large corporations pilfering open source for profit. However, this post could easily have been, "I noticed there's some code I wrote that wasn't attributed, would you mind adding that?". Escalate from there if the appropriate actions aren't taken.

neonfire avatar

For real, the person's name is LitigousEmma. This is one step away from a copyright troll, which imo seems to the the mortal enemy of the idea of FOSS. Did this Emma recognize all the developers of the programming languages they used, or the people who made the computer they worked on, or the pioneers of electronics in general? It's not like Emma took quarks and atoms and turned it into an web aggregator.

knoland, (edited )

In LitigousEmma's defense, kbin did not comply with the license terms of the open source software, so there is a valid concern here. Unlike most programming languages which are often released under licenses which do not requite attribution.

However, mistakes happen. The open source community is better off if we could all just start from 0 and escalate based on response.

neonfire avatar

Copyright is the enemy of freedom and knowledge. What if Einstein copyrighted E=MC^2? Emma didn't create the software, they just figured out how to make it.


And instead of making it closed they made it available under open source licensing. With the only terms being attribution.

They’re not the bad guy here. Nor is Ernest. There’s no bad guys here just a mistake, a call to fix it, a fix and an acceptance of that fix.

Really Ernest showed the perfect example of “if you have to eat crow eat it while it’s young and tender”

@andromedusgalacticus@lemm.ee avatar

What an interesting phrase. I've never heard that one before. Perfectly sums up less elegant forms of phrasing it.


We have a similar one in Nigeria. If you are going to eat a frog, eat a fat one that has eggs

FaceDeer avatar

He couldn't have copyrighted E=mc^2, he'd have had to patent it. But laws of nature are excluded from patent eligibiligy in the US, and presumably most other jurisdictions.

Software code is an interesting edge case in the middle. The code itself is a creative expression, and so copyright applies. This brings benefits as well as restrictions; software code is also speech as far as many free-speech rights are concerned. The algorithms expressed by the code are subject to software patents, which is a more controversial grey area.

gus avatar

Honestly that's my only issue with this. Ernest was totally rightfully called out for this, as he should have been. But Emma's knee jerk reaction is just a real bad look. Don't make any attempt to reach out and figure out why it's in there. Immediately make a public post accusing him of stealing code, trying to hide that he stole it, and claim it as his own...on a FOSS project no less...

Surely there's a step or 2 before that point..


I don't have any issue with opening an issue in the repo, that part seems reasonable. It, by definition, is an issue with the codebase.

gus avatar

Right, I wasn't saying it shouldn't have been a public post. Just that the public post shouldn't have immediately jumped to accusations. FOSS or not, accusing someone of stealing code and intentionally trying to obfuscate its origin to pass it off as their own is a big deal for a developer. One that can destroy your reputation

A simple "I've noticed snippets in here of my work that falls under a license which is not attributed at all. Could you add the proper attributions or remove it from your project?" says the same thing and doesn't jump to any accusations that you have no idea if are true or not

Rhaedas avatar

Not knowing either parties at all, I'd say the best solution is to assume both meant the best and some mistakes were made. One for forgetting to give credit for code, the other for wording in their asking to fix the mistake. At the end of the day, credit is given and the code grows, both benefit. Don't dwell on the small stuff that got there, problem is solved.

gus avatar

Agreed! Totally think this is a learning experience for both sides

An...earnest mistake?

I'm sorry


accusing someone of stealing code and intentionally trying to obfuscate its origin to pass it off as their own is a big deal for a developer. One that can destroy your reputation

Is it? It sure didn't destroy the reputations of the Microsoft employees who plagiarized Stacker. And their plagiarism cost people their livelihoods, not just a smidgen of fame.


Some good points but a counter point to consider.

Whether it’s a photo used without permission by a big company or people using your work without attribution there does tend to be a dismissive attitude overall (not that that is the case here)

I can see how somebody could come into this situation with that as the background and just cut right to the chase.

There wasn’t a “cease and desist” (the legal equivalent of an ahem) nor a DMCA copyright takedown (harsher but less financial damaging than a copyright suit with damages)

Their tone was scolding but it was a “hey… heads up… you gotta fix this” without resorting to any of the above.

Ernest took it with the right attitude and Emma accepted it and that’s that.

Couldn’t really ask for a better outcome and Emma has every right to come out swinging harder than she did.

I can’t speak to her experience with this but personally it is sometimes better to be firm (but fair) at the outset so people don’t ignore a softer tone requiring you to escalate it.

That’s just bad for everybody all around.


She may have had the right, but that doesn't mean it was necessary.

DracolaAdil avatar

I agree. Firstly, a public post...and secondly...a public post bashing a fellow developer with passive aggressive quotes.

Now I may be assuming but it didn't seem like LitigiousEmma mad an attempt to privately contact Ernest and... and assumed the worst in the post.

I'm just a reddit normie so I don't know what happens behind the scenes but so far Ernest has been earnest and honest... as long as that is the case I'll stand with you bud!

You made a mistake and are taking responsibility for it. I respect that!

P.S. - Notice how LitigiousEmma's post is recent. LE just wants their name out there. If Kbin flopped then no fs would be given.


Nah I do believe that it was right to open an issue, and also that the code should've been credited. But it is now. Also I mean... yes? How else would you expect for them to find the code? /kbin is a project with quite a few eyes on it now. If you upload a project that nobody looks at, of course things like that go unnoticed. Doesn't make them less wrong.
But all is well that ends well. If you do anything in the public, you gotta be prepared to deal with people who might not be the friendliest. That's fine. I think defusing the situation like was done here and immediately fixing the problem was exactly how this kind of thing should have gone. It's on all of us to defuse tense situations, whether we're bringing up an issue or responding to an issue brought up by someone that might be offended. Kinda like how you should be driving defensively to avoid any accidents before they can begin to happen. I guess? Oh god I'm making too many driving analogies today I really gotta stop.
[edit]: I'm also not trying to call out the person opening the issue. There are many ways why it might have been worded like that, including past experience. People are very complex and seeing just a snippet of them like this isn't what we should immediately base all of our judgements on.


Mistakes happen, what matters is how you recover from them. Keep doing what you’re doing!

miroppb avatar

Website is definitely running faster. Thank you @ernest


Seems to me you're handling it the best way possible - yes, re-using open source code without proper attribution is an unfortunate mistake, but you've also clearly explained the reasons it happened. I also understand why the original code author reacted very strongly; when code is stolen maliciously and with intent, it's a huge "fuck you" to the original authors, who have freely released their code on the basis that they receive attribution of their use.

Good to see you've subsequently made up, and the code can stay. Thanks for being transparent, @ernest!


Thanks, Ernest. You’re good people. 😊


Software dev here: relax man it’s not a big deal, don’t let others bum you out so much.

@FlockOfCats@famichiki.jp avatar

I feel a lot more comfortable with the developer of kbin (@ernest) than the Lemmy devs.

Here, he messed up by not giving attribution for some code, but the transparency and remedy of the error are appreciated.

It’s nice to see something that builds trust as opposed to burning it down like at

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