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Boys, boys!

"Wow", you might think; "three Grumpy blogs in one day!?" - yes, but the two good posts below were written by Alison, and not me (jen). We need a new skin, amongst other things.

Anyway, I've finally got round to blogging on GOD after tooooo long (again) because I am annoyed. (Again).

So what has annoyed me? This has. While I'm very happy to see how happy Deaf Americans are with their Deafreaderships, can we please not keep rewriting history? Am soooooo fed up seeing posts that seem to have forgotten that, although Mr Mayer says the Deafread idea come to him out of nowhere while walking around one fine day, actually, Deaf-blogs.com came first.

The weird thing was, Deaf-blogs.com was featured in SIGnews a year ago, probably in February/March, because it was launched in January 2006(!)

It doesn't really matter in the greater scheme of things. It would just be polite to acknowledge us Brits from time to time, for a change. Yes we come from a small island, but we do have good ideas sometimes.

So please don't pretend you didn't notice..!

Comments (22)

This is inaccurate reporting from Signews viewpoint, and makes me question their accuracy for other articles. Especially since they wrote an article about deaf-blogs.com too!

Whilst I acknowledge that deafread.com does many things better, especially if your focus is USA. It has its shortfalls too.

The fact that this article says that deafread.com was built from scratch in one week is misleading. Its built on something called feed on feeds / Magpie, which is exactly the same code that is used for deaf-blogs.com. In some ways, I would ask the question, if the research had already been done for them.

Its fine to promote your venture, and good luck to you ... but you will lose credibility by not being completely honest about it. That is what blogosphere is based on, honesty.

Aggregators or rather the code that powers it, has evolved much in the last year (feeds is quite old and bug ridden as a platform). There's various code that can be mashed up now.

I acknowledge deafread.com and its role ... but please be honest!

I would like to clarify a few things:

The idea of blog aggregation is as old as blogs themselves. Even the lowly RSS reader is a form of blog aggregation.

When Tayler approached me, it was this new idea of "filtered" blog aggregation where humans would share the workload to determine which blog posts were worthwhile to read. While this improves upon the original idea of automatic blog aggregation (such as Deaf-blogs.com and RSS readers) by offering higher quality blog posts, it introduces a major work element: the man/womanpower required to do the actual filtering work. It certainly isn't easy to implement and carry this out effectively!

When I first saw deaf-blogs.com, I actually sent off an email to the site owners asking if filtering was possible. I never heard a response back from them. It's funny how this came to a full circle for me when Tayler later proposed this very idea to me. :-)

Another point that I would like to clarify:

It was seven days from the day when Tayler IM'ed me about the idea of DeafRead to the day of the official launch of the site.

DeafRead was built upon the foundation of Magpie RSS parser. Tayler and I are firm believers in reusing code. Why bother reinventing the wheel when someone else has done it?

However, over time, Tayler and I have piled a lot of new code on top of this foundation and have extensively modified the original code files to the point where it no longer resembles the original form. This customization and performance optimization work was required for all the new features that we have put up on the site over time.


You are using Magpie/FoF code? And modified it? In that case, may I have access to the source code?

As you should know, Magpie and FeedonFeeds are GPL licenced, and therefore any work making use of them, need to be open source as well - deafread's engine source code for one.

Are you sure you have the accurate information about GPL license?


It seems that we don't have to make it public.

But if you release the modified version to the public in some way, the GPL requires you to make the modified source code available to the program's users, under the GPL.

Deafread is public. If you're using it internally then no. But deafread is public and as an end user, you are required to make it accessible to me.

That's how I understand it, although I have asked a friend who might explain it better for me.

Making use of the software to aggregate the blogs doesn't constitute a release into the public.

Under GPL, we reserve the right to make copies and distribute the source code to the public if we so choose.

However, if we decide to release the files to the public for others to use, then all the files will be released under the GPL license.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We will verify that DeafRead custom code is completely independent of magpie RSS parser so that the GPL license will not apply to our customized code.

We may also go far as to reverse engineer the magpie RSS parser and come up with our private alternative if it is deemed necessary.

Jared - the fact that deafread is on a public website, IS a release to the public. What else is it?

The fact that you are using the code NOW requires you to release the code.

Even if you don't support open source, "We may also go far as to reverse engineer ... if it is deemed necessary."

Necessary for what? You will do that before you will comply with the terms of a licence? To keep some sort of trade secret to profit from deaf people?

The fact that you are using the Magpie RSS now, last week etc, is enough. You are required to release already. Law and licenses do not work in retrospect. The same goes for earlier versions of deafread.com and the use of Magpie, FoF and the requirement to release.

What is the big deal about all this anyway? Open source and open standards is the way to go. Its happening in the tech field. There's many examples. Instead we have something else here. Deaf ventures moving in the opposite direction of the mainstream, why?

Jared - on a personal basis, I'm not slamming deafread.com, and acknowledge there's things you've done well. There's other things you could do better at.

Re RSS aggregators, we're aware that they are as old as Dave Winer. However, 15 months ago within the Deaf field it was a new thing. There's lots of things deaf-blogs.com does not do right.

I think Jen was trying to get the point across re getting history correct here. I've witnessed inaccuracies elsewhere. With blogging, its essential that people are honest. If we want spin, we can all go and read a PR.

Re the e mail from you relating to deaf-blogs.com I've searched my inbox, and I can't find it. I did however ask deafread.com last year about working in partnership, to avoid repeating work, which I never got a reply to. Sigh.

Many websites use GPL software in their operations. Linux is one such software, yet you don't see people demanding that they release their modified source code for their entire site or businesses.

It's only when you decide to release the files to others, that they need to have the GPL license as well.

Thanks and I'm signing off now.


A company is running a modified version of a GPL'ed program on a web site. Does the GPL say they must release their modified sources?

"However, putting the program on a server machine for the public to talk to is hardly "private" use, so it would be legitimate to require release of the source code".

That link was what exactly what I need to see.

We will be immediately abandoning magpie rss parser and destroying all the files that has anything to do with this PGL protected software.

Hopefully, when PGL 3.0 comes around, it'll create a better scenario for programmers such as ourselves who want to use a modified version of software on a webserver.

We have identified another RSS parser that has a LGPL License and we are putting it into our system right now.

We will be more careful in our selection of software to use in the future. Thank you all for your help and attention to the fine details.

The fact you've used them today, yesterday, last week, last month bmakes you obliged to release the code. Instead you are breaking the terms of the license, and would not stand up in court.


We are using an unmodified version of Magpie. If you would like to see it, it would be the same as if you downloaded it from Magpie's source.

Moreover, we'd been working on switching to a different RSS parser--one that has a more liberal usage policy. We first learned about this new library about three months ago, and stalled the switch up until last week, when I again wanted to work on the special character problems we occasionally see on DeafRead. The library seems to have better compatibility with various feed types, improved speed and special characters, so we will be making the switch soon! :)

There is clearly a breach of GPL-compliancy which shows a profound lack of understanding, whether commercial or non-commercial, towards international copyright legislation and the protection of licensors' rights and the obligations of the licensee(s).

Since the GPLv3 draft is just that, a draft, then they are legally bound to be aware of the restrictions of the current version of the GPL which, as for a point of reference is discussed in an excellent article here, "automatically terminates a licensee's rights to copy, modify, distribute, or sublicense GPLed code."

Interestingly, for the layperson, that same article touches upon comments made by Harald Welte, founder of gpl-violations.org, who indicates that the success rate of his endeavour "is at about 99%".

Deafread might do well to consider a pre-emptive roundtable discussion with the founders of Magpie RSS/FoF to determine what steps they may take to ensure compliancy and show the same level of transparency that the GPL itself proffers. Else how can they instill trust in their user/client base?


Personally, I tried to contact the owner of deaf-blogs.com few times about my blog URL changed more than a year ago. They never replied or follow up with me -- I gave it up.

Are they still around or what? Just wonder.

Grant, using the url that you've used here, I tried to add your feed and I just got this message:

"Attempting to subscribe to http://grantlairdjr.com/wp/feed/...
You are already subscribed to Grant W. Laird, Jr. Blog (rss)"

In other words, it must have been actioned at the time. Unless you're talking about some other blog?

LGPL licence:

A summary of it can be found here:


Jared, I assume you're talking about SimplePie since that solves all your problems.

KJD is correct in stating that you are using the code right now means you have to release when asked. If you're going to destory it due to misunderstanding of the licence that's fine, but I still see that DeafRead.com is still operating and thus still using the same MagPie/FeedonFeeds code - both which are under GPL licence - you either should take down deadread.com until the new code is ready, OR release source code. At least you're aware of it now.

What you should be looking for is a BSD style licenced solution - you do whatever you want with the source code.

What do you believe? Jared says:

"DeafRead was built upon the foundation of Magpie RSS parser ...

Linux is one such software, yet you don't see people demanding that they release their modified source code for their entire site or businesses."

Which suggests that modified code is being used. Then implication:

"That link was what exactly what I need to see.

We will be immediately abandoning magpie rss parser and destroying all the files that has anything to do with this PGL protected software.

... better scenario for programmers such as ourselves who want to use a modified version of software on a webserver."

Why the need to do this, if the code is totally unmodified, as Tayler's comment here:

"We are using an unmodified version of Magpie. If you would like to see it, it would be the same as if you downloaded it from Magpie's source."

Both contradicts each other. To me this looks like damage limitation, and trying to get out of not sharing code when challenged.


I moved my blog from b2evolution to wordpress last year. That's when I tried to report to deaf-blog.com owner about change. They never changed it.

Any suggestion?


My blog rss feed should be



Hello all, we want to make it clear that we bear no ill will towards you all who brought up this matter of GPL license. You have taught us a valuable lesson in that we must be careful about what software we decide to use and throughly investigate what kind of license it operates under.

Our files number in the hundreds - upon closer inspection, our extensive changes were pre and post magpie so magpie was found to not be modified on our system. We still took swift and decisive action on this matter. We were "ceasing and desisting" from using magpie once we were able to confirm that we were indeed in violation of the GPL license and wanted to respect this license of usage.

We immediately stopped the use of magpie and removed it from our system- DeafRead didn't require this software to continue to run but we couldn't update our feeds any more. After a programming marathon last night, we have already replaced magpie with another feed parser. The system is fully operational again and continues to be independent of the parser.

This group of commenters should feel proud to have effected a change at a deep level inside DeafRead. We now have stronger foundation and are on a more robust ground. The new feed parser is leaps above beyond what magpie had to offer us.

Owner of grumpyoldeafies.com -- can you look into it? Thanks!


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