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Justin Frankel Resigns From Nullsoft 608

Posted by timothy
from the what-a-waste dept.
Mwongozi was one of many readers to note that "the NY Times is reporting Justin's resignation from Nullsoft, and more details can be found in his weblog. One has to wonder whether this has anything to do with the WASTE fiasco."
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Justin Frankel Resigns From Nullsoft

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  • by sweeney37 (325921) * <mikesweeney@gmai l . com> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:00PM (#6116213) Homepage Journal
    AOL, it really whips Frankel's ass.

    Mike
    • What a waste. :-P

    • by Snork Asaurus (595692) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @02:07PM (#6116875) Journal
      LOL. I wonder if Justin gets to keep the llama.

      For many years, I have been impressed with the work of Nullsoft and their unique style and approach and I have always had the impression that Justin one of the key driving forces at Nullsoft. I fear that under AOL's corporate thumb Nullsoft (like Netscape) may be well on its way to becoming Null.

      Good luck, Justin, and thanks for giving us Winamp.

    • Justin Frankel's Website [1014.org] Here he talks about his wanting to resign from the company due to recent cencorship against his products.. It's not about contracts, etc.. it's just about the fact that he isn't allowed to express himself freely doing what he loves. Here is some more comments about his leaving... [ezboard.com]
  • by Daniel Wood (531906) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:00PM (#6116216) Homepage Journal
    One has to wonder whether this has anything to do with the WASTE fiasco.

    Wonder? When he says, "The company controls what I do with my code [in the past, it seemed I had freedom, but it turns out all of that was not really the case--rather, I was somehow avoiding the control illicitly (for 4 years)]," it becomes rather clear as to exactly what he is talking about.

    This has everything to do with WASTE and any other projects that AOL canned.

    • It has to do with more than just WASTE. He stated that the company controls what he does and that coding is a form of free expression to him. He basically doesn't want the company to control his free expression. WASTE is just one example.
    • by Xerithane (13482) <xerithane&nerdfarm,org> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:05PM (#6116265) Homepage Journal
      This has everything to do with WASTE and any other projects that AOL canned.

      I think it has everything to do with the lack of independance of coding, not WASTE or any other particular project. Those are just symptoms of the problem.

      I've worked for companies before that have draconian contracts, "Anything you think is our property! Hah!"
      • by Artifex (18308) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:42PM (#6116617) Journal
        I've worked for companies before that have draconian contracts, "Anything you think is our property! Hah!"


        If you take the contract, you shouldn't complain about the conditions later. I don't mean just you, Xerithane, personally, but anyone in general, and him especially. If he really agreed to this kind of contract, he's given AOL the high road in this matter.

        Besides that, even if he worked on it completely independently, without Nullsoft resources, and without a contract giving all IP developed during employment to AOL, they're still free to refuse to let it sit on corporate servers, where it generates legal liability and bandwidth costs for them.
        • by MunchMunch (670504) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @02:32PM (#6117138) Homepage
          "If you take the contract, you shouldn't complain about the conditions later. I don't mean just you, Xerithane, personally, but anyone in general, and him especially. If he really agreed to this kind of contract, he's given AOL the high road in this matter."

          Not to sound trite, but I think this is maybe oversimplified. Contracts are compromises, and compromises always leave room for either side to get an advantage over the other. As with many corporations, the power dynamic is such that a contractee may in effect be forced to agree to less than fair provisions because they have become 'standard,' or the job market is tough, or the company is exerting monopoly power, etc. That agreement doesn't make draconian clauses or terms any less draconian, and the "free-market, free choice" ideal shouldn't be an absolute argument when there are such exceptions.

          That said, I think it looks like Frankel more or less agrees with you, and that's why he's resigning instead of filing a frivolous lawsuit.

        • by DarkZero (516460) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @02:37PM (#6117189)
          If you take the contract, you shouldn't complain about the conditions later.

          He's not just complaining about it, he's doing something about it, which is leaving the company. Don't act like he's just bitching and moaning about a contract that he could easily get out of, but is still holding himself to for the sake of money and position. He doesn't like his situation, so he's taking action to resolve it. That is not just pathetic little piss ant whining. That's really following through and I think that's worthy of a little respect.
        • by cc_pirate (82470) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @04:42PM (#6118523)
          If you take the contract, you shouldn't complain about the conditions later. I don't mean just you, Xerithane, personally, but anyone in general, and him especially. If he really agreed to this kind of contract, he's given AOL the high road in this matter.

          That's crap. The company has all the power and you have none. If you say no, I don't agree to that clause, then the company (and all companies over a certain size have this clause) will say, "Sorry, we won't hire you."

          If you want to work, you don't have a choice. They could say "We demand your firstborn.", and you'd have to sign cheerfully or you're screwed. Does that mean they can make it stick later in court? Almost certainly not... but never fool yourself into thinking you can negotiate as an individual with a multi-national corporation. They will just drop you and grab another disposable employee from the world pool.
      • I've worked for companies before that have draconian contracts, "Anything you think is our property! Hah!"

        I don't sign contracts like that. My current employer sends a gentle reminder every 6 months that I need to sign that contract, and every 6 months I say, "Not until the work for the company vs. work during personal time issue is corrected". They have not pressed it too hard because many of my co-workers have not signed it either.

    • Good for him (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Arbogast_II (583768) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:09PM (#6116335) Homepage
      It is always a pleasure to see a person who realizes a good life is more important than money!
      • Re:Good for him (Score:4, Insightful)

        by RealityMogul (663835) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:17PM (#6116410)
        Spoken like somebody that makes enough money to have a good life.
        • by Arbogast_II (583768) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:54PM (#6116730) Homepage
          I am a long time gardener. I hardly have a large income.

          Money has little to do with happiness. Unhappy people are unhappy with or without material possessions in most cases.

          The man has chosen a wise path, placing his own life ahead of maximizing financial gain at any cost. I dont know the man, but I would bet he is in a much better position in life now. There is a shortage of people following their own life path in this world, and an oversupply of sheep mindlessly plodding along.

          As to saying it is easier because he is wealthy, I disagree. Because he is wealthy, it is EASIER for him to get trapped in a world where only money matters, making the choice more difficult.
          • by SolemnDragon (593956) <solemndragonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @02:19PM (#6117006) Homepage Journal
            Money is like health: Having it doesn't mean that you're definitely happy, but not having much of it greatly increases your odds of being unhappy.

            There are poor people who are happy and rich who are unhappy. there are also starving people who are too busy looking for something to eat to discuss the question, and rich people who really do enjoy their lives and give back to the community. IANAM (i am not a millionaire) far far far FAR from it in fact, but i think that a person should choose their own path in such a way that it preferably doesn't leave them starving and gives them enough that they can share. And to do this by ethical means in the American culture is sometimes difficult, yes, but a good thing to aim for.

            Will leaving make his life better? Probably. Will it make him poorer? In the short run, probably. In the long run, probably not- if he has the skills, there will be a way to apply them, and hopefully in an environment which better suits his temperament. Mind you, this is coming from someone who works a day job unrelated to any of her interests (but not against my ethics) in order to stay solvent. For the moment, it's where i'm at. I couldn't imagine doing it for the rest of my life, however.

            May we all have jobs that we can live for, enough to live on and to share, and the good sense to appreciate both??

          • by maxpublic (450413) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @03:08PM (#6117540) Homepage
            Money has little to do with happiness.

            The lack of money, however, does. The lack of money can lead to living in piss-poor conditions, or being homeless, or not having enough food to eat. The lack of money, in many places in the world, can lead to death.

            When one is simply concerned with scraping enough together to feed one's family, the question of 'happiness' is irrelevant. These questions come *after* the basics have been taken care of.

            Max
    • by TopShelf (92521) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:10PM (#6116340) Homepage Journal
      Frankly, I'm amazed the guy stayed under the AOL umbrella this long. When you read a quote like that, it's clearly coming from someone who doesn't fit within a corporate environment. His talents would be better served in a smaller outfit within which he has greater control...
      • Like Nullsoft?
    • by Fefe (6964) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @02:16PM (#6116973) Homepage
      Has has a perfectly fine other web page, and he certainly has enough money to buy a few hundred other domains and servers.

      I don't get his complaining about freedom and oppression and stuff. Why can't he just publish his software on some other web page, maybe even under a pseudonym or something.
  • Not Yet... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    He is thinking about resigning: he hasn't yet. And, yes, if he does, it will be because of the Waste thing, and the Gnutella thing, and probably a whole lot of other things. :)
  • Nullsoft seems to have been in a decline for a long while now... who uses winamp 3 anyway? certainly no one I know. Most people either use WIMP, XMMS or an old version of Winamp. So are we really losing bigtime here?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Winamp 3 is dead, version 2.91 is the latest version. They really need to update their webpage so it defaults to the Winamp 2 area.
    • I use Winamp3 because I like the new XML-based UI and multiple playlist functionality.

      * a dustball rolls across the slash page

      Uh, just thought that I should mention it.:)
    • So are we really losing bigtime here?

      Actually, I think we are gaining. After all, AOL is losing a good programmer, and the world is gaining a programmer that is not bound by corporate interests.

    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Most people either use WIMP, XMMS or an old version of Winamp.

      Yes, but those "old versions of Winamp" (the 2.x series) is still under development. It has had a lot of useful bugfixes and improvements, some pretty major. Take a look at the Winamp 2.9 release notes for example, to see what I'm talking about.
  • I kinda thought it was a given it had to do with waste...
    The company controls what I do with my code [in the past, it seemed I had freedom, but it turns out all of that was not really the case--rather, I was somehow avoiding the control illicitly (for 4 years)
    Seems pretty straightforward to me.
  • Justin Frankel (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vasqzr (619165) <vasqzr@noSPAM.netscape.net> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:02PM (#6116229)



    I remember talking to the guy on IRC years ago when he was working on his old 3D engine, Plush.

    Time sure flies!



  • Good riddance :P (Score:5, Insightful)

    by coupland (160334) * <dchase@@@hotmail...com> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:02PM (#6116231) Journal

    I'm glad he's leaving, AOL doesn't need him anyway; after all they have lawyers. Let the lawyers write the code. I'm sure AOL 10.0 will rock the house.

    On the other hand this unleashes a creative, boisterous, unwielding and stubborn geek on the world, perhaps even to join the ranks of all those amateur open source hacks. In the end you get AOL run by a squeeky-clean army of professional lawyers and another rogue hacker who acknowledges no ones authority to dictate what he contributes to their quasi-communist "community" of freedom fighters. Altogether I think both sides are getting exactly what they deserve. ;-)

  • by Xerithane (13482) <xerithane&nerdfarm,org> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:02PM (#6116238) Homepage Journal
    He's leaving because he doesn't like the "We own everything you write" clause in his employment contract. I'm not sure what the WASTE fiasco is anyway. WASTE is something Nullsoft produced, as long as it's under the GPL (Yes.) he can quit and still work on it, and nobody can (legally) care.

    He's probably just pissed that what he works on gets the "Copyright AOL/Time Warner" header on it, and understandably so.
    • by Anti Frozt (655515) <chris DOT buffett AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:10PM (#6116352)

      IIRC, at the time that WASTE was developed, Nullsoft was owned by AOL/Time Warner. This would mean that anything created by employees of Nullsoft had to be cleared with AOL.

      Therefore, it couldn't be produced under the GPL unless AOL said so. Most employment contracts specifically state that any thing or idea created, conceived, developed, etc. while employeed becomes property of the employeer (in this case, AOL/Time Warner)

      • by LostCluster (625375) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:35PM (#6116554)
        Therefore, it couldn't be produced under the GPL unless AOL said so.

        This was discussed to death in the previous WASTE discussion. Justin, as an employee of AOL, tried to put WASTE under the GPL. AOL then came forward and said that Justin had no authority to do so.

        However, just because an employee makes a deal outside of their authority doesn't automatically reverse the deal. The test is whether the other party to the deal in good faith believed that the employee had the authority, or should have known that something was amiss. That's a tough question and would likely take a judge to answer completely...
    • by tsetem (59788) <tsetem.gmail@com> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:15PM (#6116395)
      Just because he released it under the GPL doesn't necessarily mean it's legal. If all of the code he writes is owned by AOL, then AOL, as the copyright holder, must determine the license it's released under.

      Don't know how serious this may be, but if AOL wanted to, they might be able to sue for loss of IP due to the dumpage of WASTE into the GPL realm. That's the real bitch when you write code for a company. Unless you beg & plead with the lawyers (or your managers) to give you a little freedom, they own your stuff.

      And this leads right into non-compete clauses in your contract. Even thinking about the code you wrote for another company could be considered competing against your previous employer.

      • by 2logic (640060) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:41PM (#6116608)
        If it could only be that simple...

        You have to remember that NullSoft is a subsidary of AOL Time Warner. Which probably means that Justin is under contract from Nullsoft and not AOL.

        He probably has pretty much all the control over what he can do with what Nullsoft creates. The problem is probably in the contract that binds Nullsoft to AOL. I think that indirectly, Justin's code is owned by AOL, but since Nullsoft is an entity of its own, it can do many things on its own: creating software, releasing code, being a pain for AOL, etc... BUT only to some extent, because Nullsoft is a subsidary of (or controlled by) AOL.

        So it's probably not just a matter of a simple contract between an employer and its employees... It goes deeper than that I'm afraid.

    • as long as it's under the GPL

      Actually, though, RSAREF (which WASTE uses) is under a license that is (very) incompatable with the GPL. Nothing stopping you from distributing the source (assuming you don't mind AOL possibly coming after you), but no binaries.

      And, oh, my. Just finished reading the last clasues of the RSAREF license. Looks like WASTE violates those, meaning WASTE isn't legal anyway (at least until/unless someone re-writes it w/o RSAREF).
  • by brent_linux (460882) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:03PM (#6116245) Homepage
    When AOL bought out Nullsoft, I was sure he would leave. When they took down the gnutella stuff, I was sure he would leave. When they stopped the aimster stuff, I was sure he would leave.

    I didn't really have him pegged as a corporate kinda guy from the start. I am really suprised that he could take it this long before he left. Corps are often to stifling to creativity.
  • by zptdooda (28851) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `mjpnaed'> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:04PM (#6116254) Journal
    ``If you downloaded or otherwise obtained a copy of the software, you ... must destroy any and all copies of the software, including by deleting it from your computer''

    Other valid means are:
    - just throw the whole computer out. That way we'll have covered all the bases for future potential license violations
    - hmm can't think of anymore (well this list sure fizzled out fast)

    ``Any license that you may believe you acquired with the software is void, revoked and terminated.''

    Well Schrodinger's license is definitely dead then. I never downloaded it but now I'm wondered if I got one through some quantum license-tunnelling effect.

    I wonder about the order of voiding, revoking, and terminating? Was it in series or in parallel? Sounds like the license got taken out back and worked over by the three of them at once.
  • I guess I didn't embrace the dot bomb generation or something. I can't generate any feeling of respect for a "company executive" that runs a weblog and moans about corporate issues publicly. It just isn't professional.

    I'm sure that the Slash crowd won't like this opinion but it's mine. Flame on.
    • I guess I didn't embrace the dot bomb generation or something. I can't generate any feeling of respect for a "company executive" that runs a weblog and moans about corporate issues publicly. It just isn't professional.

      Executives don't write software.

      He is, at worst, a software programmer who manages a division. In the software world--especially the free software world--keeping a weblog and being honest in it have come to be hallmarks of a professional.

    • by Meat Blaster (578650) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:09PM (#6116328)
      I can't imagine that he was being paid that badly, either. Most people would kill to get bought out by AOL (or Microsoft for that matter), so what's wrong with taking the money and leaving it to the college students to write the piracy apps?

      When you can afford most of the things you want, why is WASTE so important?

      • by malakai (136531) * on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:32PM (#6116537) Journal
        can't imagine that he was being paid that badly, either. Most people would kill to get bought out by AOL (or Microsoft for that matter), so what's wrong with taking the money and leaving it to the college students to write the piracy apps?

        seriously. Money is great, I like money, it pays the rent and lets me do what i want half the year. But if all I did was "nothing" I would not be happy. Coding makes me happy. I'm sure coding a app like WASTE for Justin made him happy.

        I feel there are at minimum two kind of coders out there right now. Type A joined the ranks because they want to make money. They could have easily done something else. Most were drawn into the big bright light of the Internet boom. They want to code from 9 to 5pm, and then be done. They expect to move into mangement at some point, and consider coding a menial task that can be pushed down the ranks.

        Type X started coding because someting intially didn't do what they wanted it to do. This led to coding addiction, consuming massive amounts of dry reading material, working crazy hours, but always coming back to the keyboard like the crack head to his pipe. The irony is, in present economy, Type X makes the money, and the Type A is trying to learn another skill, move to project management, go back to school and get a degress in business...etc..etc.
        When you can afford most of the things you want, why is WASTE so important?
        It's his baby. You'll understand if you ever code a baby of your own.

        Having said all this, I think I would have fought it out until they fired me. but not knowing his legal/contractual situation resigning may be his best bet.

        -malakai
      • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @02:25PM (#6117072) Homepage Journal
        WASTE is not a Piracy app. A program that lets you search for files and copy them is not a piracy app! If so then Windows and Linux are piracy app. I can do a seach on a network drive and then copy it to a disk. What what about FTP? I guess FTP servers and clients are also piracy apps. Good lord man. He said that AOL used it in house to do secure file transfres from on office to another! WASTE is a secure way to transmit data from one computer to another in a small network of users.
    • True. When we accept the lowest common denominator we get it in spades. I wouldn't blame Mr. Frankel, i'd blame the whole generation for it.

      The lack of decorum today is pretty appalling. Maybe someday people will wake up and say 'we liked it the old way'. Not likely anytime soon though.
    • by SubtleNuance (184325) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:26PM (#6116484) Journal
      it just isn't professional.

      You know what, im sick of this 'unprofessional' trash. "Professional" is inhuman. Usually, any act of honesty is described as 'unprofessional' Im tired of my personal relations being filtered through the Blanket-of-Commerce that requires people to be a cog or a tool.

      I could care less that a person was 'unprofessional' -- because a person's character is not defined by how well he conforms to his employers view of how best to achieve profit.

      Justin has grown tired of being a wage-slave -- so have I.. I just dont have the resources to buy life back from my Corporate Masters just yet...
  • '99 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mattygfunk1 (596840) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:05PM (#6116266)
    Despite the new corporate ownership, Nullsoft's team of programmers managed to maintain a freestyle hacker culture.

    The dream is still alive people. Demand your fair dues.

    __
    Cheap web hosting [cheap-web-...ing.com.au] Dragon Action Figures [mibglobal.com.au]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:05PM (#6116269)
    June 2 2003 @ 10:03pm
    For me, coding is a form of self-expression.

    It's probably the form I'm most effective at.

    Everything I code is arguably owned by the company.

    The company controls what I do with my code [in the past, it seemed I had
    freedom, but it turns out all of that was not really the case--rather, I
    was somehow avoiding the control illicitly (for 4 years)]

    The company controls the most effective means of self-expression I have.

    This is unacceptable to me as an individual, therefore I must leav.

    I don't know when it will be, but I'm not going to last much longer.

    I have nothing but respect for the company--I've just come to realize that
    it is time to do something different.

    May 31 2003 @ 3:00pm or so
    Moving my .plan here. Finger has been firewalled on genghis for weeks since
    the (lame) network rebuild, so it's hosed.

    The last few days have been, erm, interesting, it will be, erm, interesting
    to see how they end up panning out. But I'm feeling pretty good, though like
    usual feeling misunderstood. I'll try to clear it up next week.

    At Ian's suggestion been listening to Slint a bit. Good shit. So funny that
    one of the guys from Slint is now in Zwan, and Zwan sucks so hard. Well, they
    rule as musicians, but their songs suck. I don't want to listen to
    christian rock.

    Winamp 2.92 will have CD ripping support, with support for OGG. OGG VBR at
    0.0 sounds pretty decent, listenable, at like 60kbps. I'm pretty impressed
    with it.

    Yesterday driving home I listened to Lamb - Zero a couple times. Such a good
    song. So simple. Mmmm.

  • Yes, it was WASTE (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xcomputer_man (513295) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:06PM (#6116276) Homepage
    Whereas this seems to be a long time coming, the WASTE issue clearly seems to be the reason behind this:
    The company controls what I do with my code [in the past, it seemed I had
    freedom, but it turns out all of that was not really the case--rather, I
    was somehow avoiding the control illicitly (for 4 years)]

    I completely support him here...he sees code as a form of expression, and being censored is one of the worst things you can get paid to do.

    Besides, I guess we have an answer to the question of whether Nullsoft is a legal entity free from the tentacles of AOL or not ... he's only been lucky so far!
  • he has been in a tug-of-war with AOL over other projects, like Gnutella. I just wonder why didn't he quit first and then create/release WASTE?
  • by johnhennessy (94737) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:06PM (#6116284)
    Read the article. It says that he can't stick the current situation much longer, but at no point does he say that he has resigned.
  • About time... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eyston (462981) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:07PM (#6116293)
    I don't understand why its taken 4 years for this to happen. The guy obviously is not suited for corporate coding and when it comes to money I would think he's pretty well off. Having the legal backing of a big corporation might be nice but not if all they do is pull your code to avoid doing anything.

    -Eyston
  • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:08PM (#6116304) Homepage
    In the article, it claims Nullsoft is saying there is no valid license for WASTE, yet it looked to me as if WASTE was released under GPL.

    I wonder if the GPL license is valid at this point for WASTE? Or did Justin not have the rights to release it under GPL?
  • by EinarH (583836) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:08PM (#6116310) Journal
    still available for download, including source, over at deviantart.com...

    Strange they haven't pulled it off the web.

    Disclaimer:
    This post is of course provided as "AS IS". And I do NOT encourage any copyright enfringement.

  • by Skuto (171945) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:08PM (#6116315) Homepage
    Most of the really good Winamp coders left already. The guy that wrote almost all the core plugins, Peter Pawlowksi, quit because he didn't like Winamp 3 design and thought it was a dead end. Because AOL still owns his code, some of the plugins are 'dead' now, and the code can't be used any more. Bummer.

    He wrote his own player instead, which is, eh, quite different from Winamp, Foobar2000 [hydrogenaudio.org].

    Anyway, Frankel has little to complain about. Nullsoft was bought out for almost 86M$. For that much money, he'll never have to code, err, express himself ever again.
    • Anyway, Frankel has little to complain about. Nullsoft was bought out for almost 86M$. For that much money, he'll never have to code, err, express himself ever again.

      The compelling desire to express yourself doesn't always end when you make money.

      The Nullsoft folks sound like they made money because they had the drive to express themselves in a heartfelt way - resulting in compelling, well written applications.

      --Pat / zippy@cs.brandeis.edu
  • Non-Free? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by obfuscated (258084) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:09PM (#6116336) Homepage
    Maybe AOL's mgmt wanted to shift Winamp to a pay for or adware product.

    I never liked it when they proudly boasted that there were NO ADS! and it was FREE!
  • by snuffdiddy23 (620624) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:10PM (#6116341)
    i am keeping my fingers cross that he can continue with his work. apple is looking for a coder for the iTunes Music store for windows, Justin Frankel would be perfect. only to switch him over to the darkside now.
  • by Naikrovek (667) <{jjohnson} {at} {psg.com}> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:10PM (#6116348)
    welcome to the very large group of unemployed folks, Justin. ;)

    I think this is a great thing, other than the obvious distaste you have in your mouth right now from leaving a job. Resigning always sucks, even when it sucks a lot less than not resigning.

    But I belive you can do some more cool shit now without worrying about getting your work eliminated, and I think your stuff has made the world a better place. (I don't however, believe that demanding the right to distribute other people's property is a good thing, music swappers.) gnutella is a good thing though, and waste was (is?) too.

    keep using that noggin you got and keep writing more cool software. you'll be happy again (or happier) in no time.
  • About time! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thdexter (239625) <dexterNO@SPAMsuffusions.net> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:11PM (#6116367) Journal
    Really, I figured he would've quit right the second that AOLTW bought Nullsoft, as we've seen happen with countless other small good companies when bought by AOLTW or Microsoft. Winamp 2.92 (2.x branch is still maturing--though probably not after this) is super. Anyway, I'm sure that a talented developer such as himself can get a job most anywhere, or even just work like Linus does at some place that gives him money while he essentially independently develops kickass software.
  • Yeah, but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by kotj.mf (645325) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:13PM (#6116378)
    The previous entry in his blog is even more interesting:
    Winamp 2.92 will have CD ripping support, with support for OGG. OGG VBR at 0.0 sounds pretty decent, listenable, at like 60kbps. I'm pretty impressed with it.

    'bout damn time. Hopefully his leaving won't change Nullsoft's plans to provide real OGG support. I still can't get it to pick up very low bitrate HTTP Vorbis streams via a straight .m3u ala XMMS.

  • /. Mishap again (Score:5, Informative)

    by MmmmJoel (26625) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:15PM (#6116393) Homepage
    Justin has not resigned as /. has prematurely concluded. The NY Times article only says he plans to, which we could all come to the same conclusion by reading the blog. There is no additional information in the NY Times article and both parties have declined to comment. There is no indication that the NY Times had access to anything further than what we already knew.

    Yes, it is probably inevitable, but this writeup is wrong as so many others have because some /. rogue reads something, draws a different conclusion, and the /. editors don't pick up on it.
  • by Blic (672552) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:19PM (#6116429)
    It'd be curious to find out exactly what happened at Nullsoft. I mean, things seemed good for a while after the acquisition. Then it seems like they brought in a lot of new people and came out with the bloated beast that is WinAmp 3. How much involvement did Justin have in that fiasco? Then recently they brought out WinAmp 2.9X which sort of undercut WinAmp 3, but in a good way. Gnutella, and then WASTE which was such a perfect name for the program, hehe, as long as you've read Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49. Well, as long as Justin diversified and didn't have all his money tied up in AOL stock he's probably doing pretty well and shouldn't have to put up with the headaches if he doesn't want to.
  • by drgroove (631550) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:23PM (#6116466)
    Justin first releases Gnutella on his/AOL's site, then WASTE... now that he's no longer going to be working under AOL's thumb, I wonder what kind of P2P file swapping/sharing/pirating marvels he'll unleash upon the world? Maybe the RIAA should just go ahead and begin their lawsuit now...
  • by buckminster (170559) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:34PM (#6116546) Homepage
    Frankel reportedly sold Nullsoft to AOL for $86 million. Seems like $86 million would go an awful long way towards starting a new company and doing whatever he damn well pleases. Why does Frankel need AOL? They certainly don't seem to be providing him any resources or support. Unless you count the "support" of their legal department.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:42PM (#6116616)
      Was that $86 million in Cash or AOL shares? If it was in cash, he's sitting pretty. If it was in AOL shares, he'll probally need a new job and fast.

      Last thing we need, another unemployed programmer on the market. Quit in this economy?! The fool.
    • Why does Frankel need AOL?

      You are clearly not familiar with most buyouts. The buyout is contingent on an identified number of key people remaining with the company, usually for set periods of time. Buyouts can be reduced, or cancelled entirely, if enough key people refuse to sign-on to the new company. (Btw, being a key person in a buyout is a great place to be.)

      Furthermore, top people are often contracted to remain for a set number of years. These are usually the people who are getting the bulk of

  • Justin Frankel (Score:3, Informative)

    by Trent Polack (622919) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:38PM (#6116577) Homepage
    Well, you gotta give the guy some credit. I went through Nullsoft's site the other day, and there are just a whole lot of cool little programs that Nullsoft put out. Among them all, Winamp and the Nullsoft installer system are probably my favorite.

    I give it up to Justin for being a good guy, and giving a lot of cool little utilities to the programming community.
  • Selective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by krumms (613921) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:41PM (#6116606) Journal

    I find it really strange that AOL should pull things like Gnutella and WASTE, considering that Nullsoft's primary product, WinAmp, is perhaps the most frequently used by Joe Internet for playing often illegal MP3s. Admittedly, people can use it for legal music too - but go on, most people don't give a fuck.

    Likewise, Gnutella/WASTE could be used for good or evil (in the political sense). What makes them so different from WinAmp? Why is file sharing worse than playing music? Given that they already provide the criminal community (so to speak, I mean - call me a crim) an excellent tool for playing their often illegaly acquired music, as well as to the RIAA-friendly users out there - what makes file sharing so goddamn different?

  • It amazes me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darthtuttle (448989) <meconlen@obfuscated.net> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:51PM (#6116711) Homepage
    I'm always amazed when people get in to business deals, the deal turns out badly, they are forced to move on (for personal convictions, or through corporate moves) and they are amazed and suprised!

    Frankel sold out to AOL. He made a LOT of money doing it, but he should (and maybe did) understand the price of that money is freedom. AOL controls Winamp, and as long as he's an employee they control much of his actions and ability to publish.

    Were I him I would have not published anything new until the contract requirements to stay with the company were over, then I'd leave and start a new company with all the money. I'm sure his share of 86 million, after taxes could start a new company to do new things.

    If you value your life based on what you have done, then investors and selling out is often a bad idea. You are selling control over the products you have created. If on the other hand you value your life based on what your able to do going forward, take the 86 million, walk away from one software product and do something new. Sure, it's a PITA, but 86 million funds a lot of new things. If nothing else you could probably manage a half million a year from investment (even in this market) and live off that while writing new software and paying a buddy or two to write with you. There's bound to be a new idea in there somewhere that will start another company that sells for twice as much, which gives you more allowance, and so on.

    It's all personal values.
  • by crashnbur (127738) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @01:53PM (#6116719)
    It's been a good run and, for what it's worth, Nullsoft has generated some of the niftiest and most useful programs I have ever used... Winamp, Sex, then SafeSex, and several of your utilities. I learned quite a bit by examining the code of some of Nullsoft's creations. Thanks for all you've done for the Internet community, and best of luck on your future endeavors. I hope to see your name applied to a new development project in the not-too-distant future...
  • by mrex (25183) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @02:28PM (#6117099)
    From the NYT article:

    Nullsoft's latest creation was a file-sharing program that allowed users to set up secure networks of no more than 50 people.

    WASTE was pretty obviously not a filesharing program. It was a small group collaboration program, that allowed encrypted chat and transfers. Its use as a file-sharing mechanism in the way that your average NYTimes reader would interpret that term is extremely limited to non existent. It's a "file sharing program" in the same way that AOL Instant Messenger is. Does the NYT refer to AIM that way?

    Then again, maybe I'm the silly one for expecting accuracy, nay, competence, in reporting in the major media outlets.
  • losing millions? (Score:5, Informative)

    by peter303 (12292) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @03:55PM (#6118057)
    The purchase of a company usually has a retention clause saying you dont get all your money until you have worked X years. X ranges from one to five years. The purpose is (1) the company's assets are often its creative people and (2) to train successors. It is unclear if he is losing some of the purchase money due to his independent streak.
    The pruchase was in stock currency, so its value declined with AOL Time Warner stock price. Could have been worse considering other dot.coms.

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