A Flaming Techwreck

I wouldn’t use Team Kushner’s TRUTH SOCIAL even if it was an excellent, reliable platform simply because I regard it as just another false alternative gatekeeper in the Parler mode. But it’s not even remotely surprising to see that, in the dev sense, they’re already digging themselves into a hole and splashing gasoline all over themselves.

The new social network founded by former President Trump may violate the terms of use of the software on which it is based. On Wednesday night, after Trump revealed the TRUTH social app, Twitter users began to note that the network appeared to be based on an open-source social networking software called Mastodon, which allows people to modify the underlying code so long as they abide by its license. But the Trump network appears to have taken the publicly available code for the website while violating the terms that make it free to use.

Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko told TPM in an email that TRUTH appeared to violate the terms of use that the software sets forth: making the source code available, and having a copy of the general product license available to users. “I do intend to seek legal counsel on the situation though,” Rochko told TPM, while declining to discuss any specific legal action he may be contemplating. “Compliance with our AGPLv3 license is very important to me as that is the sole basis upon which I and other developers are willing to give away years of work for free,” Rochko added.

The AGPL license mandates that software developed for free — like Mastodon — remain publicly available after its been modified. Under the license, TRUTH needs to share any modifications to Mastodon’s code. The requirement allows developers to remain aware of how the software is being used so long as its run on public servers, continuing the chain by which different open-source developers continue to work on and further modify code that’s been created.

And it’s only a matter of time before someone lights a match. People purporting to represent either the Republican or the MAGA establishments have been sniffing around Gab, BitChute, Infogalactic, and Unauthorized for 18 months now, and at no time have they demonstrated even a modicum of serious technical knowledge. It’s quite likely that they have very little idea what they’re doing and I expect they will make all the obvious mistakes that people who have been working on these things for the last five years have either experienced or avoided.