Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-launched social media network Truth has been sent a notice by Mastodon to comply with licensing norms following media reports that the former US president’s new platform looks eerily similar to Mastodon.
Mastodon is free and open-source software that makes it possible to run self-hosted social networking. While it's technically okay to use Mastodon code to build products, the new code used in the product must be shared with the open-source community under the licence.
The Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), which has allegedly claimed the source code as its own, has 30 days to comply with the notice reportedly sent on October 26.
Many people pointed out that Truth was basically a repurposed Mastodon, even down to the interface and was violating the open-source agreement by not contributing its code to the community.
In a blog post, Mastodon also said the terms of service included a passage, which claimed that the site was proprietary and all source code is owned by TMTG.
"We pride ourselves on providing software that allows anyone to run their own social media platform independent of big tech," Mastodon wrote in the post.
"But the condition upon which we release our work for free in the first place is the idea that, as we give to the platform operators, so do the platform operators give back to us by providing their improvements for us and everyone to see."
Mastodon also expressed its disappointment of working with people "antithetical" to their values but added, "the reality of working on free software is that you give up the possibility of choosing who can and cannot use it from the get-go, so in a practical sense the only issue we can take with something like Truth Social is if they don’t even comply with the free software license we release our work under".