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05 July 2011, 14:24

Current Netatalk code, only with cash, say developers

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Netatalk logo For many years, Linux has included a free implementation of the Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) under the name of Netatalk. But now the developers of this software at NetAFP have announced that "in order to stir things up" from version 2.2.0 onwards, they will no longer publish their source code on SourceForge.

Version 2.2.0 was released to their customers on 9 June, but they say that the SourceForge version will stay at version 2.2-beta4 until "we’ve convinced enough OEMs that working with us is in their own interest, until we generate enough revenue to pay our bills".

"Many corporations are using and making money from Netatalk, but in the past none of these cared that the cow they’re milking gets fed". The one exception, called out and thanked by the developers, is Netgear Inc. The plan, described as a spoon rather than a fork, will see the developers only make the code available to customers and then, at some point in the future, when the code is stable, to release it via SourceForge.

The NetAFP developers say that once there are sufficient OEMs working with them, they can return to a "complete open development model", but if that doesn't happen they will have to give up the project and leave Netatalk in "a state it has been in between 2005 and 2009". According to NetAFP, the Netatalk development community has dwindled to one active contributor over the last two years with the NetAFP developers doing all the other work. The Netatalk implementation is used by many OEMs in their Network Attached Storage (NAS) products to, for example, allow them to support Apple's "Time Machine" backup technology.


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