Rambler accuses Nginx developer Igor Sysoev of "stealing" open-source Nginx from them.

For uninitiated, Nginx was originally developed by Igor Sysoev while he worked for Rambler. The contest dates back to 2004 and Rambler believes that Nginx _belongs_ to them since Igor worked on it during his work in Rambler.

Some people suggest that sudden "revisit" of a case from 2004 is somehow linked to FSB.


It goes like this:
Ramblers side claims what I already mentioned: Nginx belongs to them because Sysoev worked in Rambler when he created Nginx.

Sysoev's side, on the other hand, claims that according to Russian Law, something could belong to a company only and only if it was done on specific request under employment contract or commisioned as a direct contracted work. Neither of those are the case here, according to Igor, so he insists he should retain the rights to software.

Igor also adds that Nginx was licensed as BSD from the very start and Rambler wasn't even the first ones to adopt it.

Nginx is developed under Nginx Foundation, a company founded by Igor and staffed by a few others that makes profit by providing paid tech support to corporate clients, allowing Igor to full-time Nginx while also maintaining it's status as completely free and open source software.


If you admin a Mastodon \ Pleroma \ Misskey \ Peertube \ Funkwhale \ whatever, chances are, you are using Nginx as your main web-server.

Currently, it is free and open-source.

If Rambler is to claim Nginx as their product, there's no telling what might happen to it's legal status as free software, and, as a consequence, no telling if using it "for free" will be a viable option any longer.

Spread the message. Draw attention. Currently, news are making rounds in Russian internet sphere, but for a project of this size this is NOT enough.

Considering the toxic legal environment in Russia, any kind of attention might draw in much needed support.

For further information, this happened right after Sberbank, one of biggest Russian banks (and the one most supported by govt. and used as primary financial bank for social stuff), bought 49% of Rambler.

Rambler also claims that it suffered losses of 51,4 mil Rubles (~818,288 USD) because of "unassessable number of people using software illegaly".

Write to FSF. Notify your local FOSS community leaders.

This might pose an existential threat to Nginx as a result, but not just to it's status as free software: People USING nginx might be liable to pay damages for "illegal use".

As this question was brought up before: Forks might be liable too since under Rambler's claim, code was theirs entirely from the day one and any license applied is done so without their consent.

It's NOT about who bought what first and now salty. It's Pied Piper vs Hooli from "Silicon Valley".

Some users suggested AGAINST writing to FSF as FSF has only so many people staffed and I imagine several people sent their emails already, as did I.

In the interest of people working in FSF, please refreain from sending emails. I know I did, I think a few is right about enough.

(kinda ironic how I write this from Outlook to motherfucking FSF but I'm working on it, I promise.)

Technical correction, it's Nginx Inc. not Foundation, but the point remains the same: It keeps Nginx afloat, free, open and fulltime developed.

@Deiru the guy will almost certainly try and get the license changed on nginx. If this effort fails we can all say goodbye to what could be considered one of the best open source servers out there

@namwen The problem is not in the license. Rambler belives it's their IP, therefore any licensing done is also illegal, since it's not a "rightful owner" that installed the license.

@Deiru oh god, that's even worse. Are the FSF aware of this?

@namwen I feel like the main battle is going to happen in court, with Nginx using the claim I already mentioned to try and prove that it doesn't belong to Rambler.

@proxeus That won't help if they win. Their claim to rights dates as far back as 2004. Essentially all of it's codebase is their property from the start, so forking it means "intellectual theft" should they win. I'm not sure how this could be proven but most likely that will be the claim against any fork.

@proxeus Sysoev licensed it under 2-c BSD.

But I stress again that the core of dispute is not about Licensing, it's about authorship and ownership.

@proxeus If you made a thingy as a corpo, and someone lifted the code and published it under BSD, that won't be of much help to anyone who did that, and this is how Rambler frames the problem legally.

@Deiru If it's licensed under that license, all versions before being bought are distributed under that license. Therefore you can use that software the same way until that last version before being bought.

If that license allows forking, you can fork that version and do whatever you want. If the corpo sues you, they can go shove a big fat c*ck because you're using code that uses that license so fuck them.

In regards of "autorship and ownership", in the land of freedom everything has a price and can be bought, and that includes open source projects. Don't be surprised if one day Linux is bought by a big corpo.

By the way, both the corpo and the project owner are at fault. One for buying it and the other for selling it.

@proxeus Read again. It's not about buying or selling.

It was never sold. It was developed while it's author worked at Rambler (as a non-company, hobby project not commisioned by Rambler), which rambler says makes it theirs. No selling or buying involved.

The closest thing I can name that is like this situation is one ark from "Silicon Valley" where a company tried to sue off software from protagonist because it was developed on the company's office PC. Except it is unknown if it was or wasn't developed on work pc in this case.

@proxeus @Deiru This is more like the SCO lawsuit where code in Linux was alleged to actually be owned by SCO with all the demands for royalties that would ensue. An existential threat for Linux back then and with Nginx the same thing is happening now (to an even greater degree)

@jellypotato @proxeus Bonus points for legal proceedings happening in Russia. Remember Lady Justice with scales, sword and eyeband? Ours de-facto doesn't have the band.

@Deiru forking is always an option. Non-open source versions of previously open-source software tend to die when competing against the open-source renamed fork.

@Feufochmar Unless Rambler will be able to sue any fork, as it will happen should they win.

One user suggested to look at SCO vs. Linux as a relevant case.
Forking can be illegal as the claim to ownership goes back to day 0, rendering all actions on the codebase, and hence forks, illegal.

@Deiru fork nginx now because shortly you might not be able to

@blobyoumu You might not be able to anyway.
Read the thread closer. Accusations are of violatining exclusive rights that are claimed to have been existing since nginx existed.

@blobyoumu What's more, Rambler's case features accusations of "unidentified number of individuals" using the software since 2004.

@Deiru @blobyoumu

When you say Rambler do you mean Rambler Technology (the ISP)? Took me a while to find a Rambler that doesn't make cars.

Also for the brainlets in the thread talking about forking nginx: Rambler's victory would retroactively make the license invalid, and you can't "fork" all-rights-reserved code. Although even in the worst case the non-Russian part of the world could likely fork nginx anyway.

@passenger @blobyoumu It's not an ISP. It's like Russian Google, to some extent. They have a lot of weight right now and Russia's biggest bank recently bought a fair share of them. They are dangerous, to some extent.

@passenger @blobyoumu All of this about forks is in the thread. I am honestly a bit tired of trying to explain this to people who never bother to read the thread.

@Deiru plan A is ofc fight and support the developer.
plan B is save your ass and optain a copy of what is availiable and run upload on torrent and stuff

@blobyoumu You'd have to also change headers and meta to not mention NGINX for Justin Case's sake.

@Deiru exactly. That is doable what i say is: Need to get something to do it on now
@Deiru nginx is past its prime anyway

caddy is where it's at now, traefik and other proxy routers are where it's headed
@Deiru is Russian copyright really valid in the USA? Especially on an issue like this?
@mewmew @Deiru Yes. If the Russian courts find in favor of Rambler, Berne convention automatically says that the copyright is theirs everywhere unless there is an explicit act to nullify the copyright otherwise. Anyway, consider any software coming out of the Russian Federation utterly compromised at this point
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