Open letter to the developers of TrueCrypt

Dear TrueCrypt Developers

I hate you all. You’re a bunch of asshats.

Apparently, the good name of TrueCrypt is so incredibly valuable that you can’t possibly permit anyone to redistribute it with the tiniest of modifications under the same name.

The minor problem with that is that it completely fucks things up for distributions. We really can’t package just about anything without modifying it. For TrueCrypt that involves a small patch to fix your ridiculous system of having your users provide the source tarball for wxgtk and building an internal copy of it; the patch simply lets us build against the system wxgtk, as nature intended. It also involves, y’know, *putting it in a package* (which is a modification under your license), adding a menu entry and consolehelper stuff to let normal users run it – you know, all the simple stuff that people actually want.

So the TrueCrypt package we want to ship with Mandriva has been ‘modified’. And according to your ridiculous license, that means we can’t call it TrueCrypt. It can’t identify itself as TrueCrypt anywhere. It can’t use any of the original graphics you ship it with, and it has to include some specific bits of boilerplate text and specifically *exclude* some others.

This is bad enough. Yet you can’t even make it easy for us, can you?

If you’re going to require anyone who modifies your application in the tiniest of ways to rename it, you could at least MAKE IT EASY TO RENAME. Y’know, have the name be a variable defined once in one file; then we could simply change that and we’d be done. But no. The name is hardcoded in several dozen places and there are *several* variables in which it crops up. All of which needs to be changed. We can’t even just do s/truecrypt/somethingelse/ on the entire source tree because that would change it in some places where the license specifies it *shouldn’t* be changed. VERY FUCKING GOOD, THANK YOU.

If you’re going to require certain boilerplates be changed when the package is ‘modified’, at least make this easy. It could perfectly simply just be a build switch. But no, I have to go into random source files where the original boilerplate is hardcoded, and change it by hand. Awesome. Thank you once more.

And finally, if you’re going to require that no original graphics be used, you could at least MAKE THE FUCKING THING BUILD WITHOUT THE GRAPHICS FILES. It’s not like they’re vital to functionality; it could just display a blank grey space or whatever. No functionality would be lost. But no, if I just remove the files, the build breaks. So I have to manually replace every single bleeding graphic with a stupid GIMPed up replacement. Awesome.

So in summary your ridiculous license wasted eight hours of my life and results in a much uglier and more modified package than would be necessary if you didn’t have such insane terms in the first place. Way to shoot yourselves in the foot, guys.

Anyway, who the hell thought such a stupid license was necessary? Why are you so special? Imagine what the Linux world would be like if everyone decided to act like you? We’d be releasing Mandriva Pinux, featuring JDE 4.1, DWARF 2.24 and AjarOffice 3.0. Actually, we wouldn’t, because we’d have wasted all our time on stupid rebranding patches and wouldn’t be able to ship anything. Everyone else seems perfectly happy to release their code under a license which lets distributors *distribute* it (this is after all our job). Get over yourselves and join them. Or hadn’t you ever wondered why major distros don’t ship your software?

For anyone actually wanting to use TrueCrypt on Mandriva – the package is called realcrypt. 6.0a will be in /backports for 2008 Spring and 2008 soon, hopefully. It’s in Cooker now.

4 Responses

  1. Truecrypt or Falsecrypt? | Machello's Tech Blog

    […] For this reason Truecrypt isn’t included in Debian Linux. It also isn’t very easy to make your own version […]

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