Open Sourcing Dnote

The source code for the server-side stack including the web client has been released on GitHub this week. What started as a simple command line interface is now maturing as an open source solution for building a personal knowledge base.

Dnote is open source because a personal knowledge base should last for a lifetime. No person should be obligated to subject storage of their knowledge to Software-as-a-Service businesses that will come and go. No person should be required to surrender their knowledge to a proprietary system or forced to store it in a proprietary format. Our knowledge is too precious to be placed under the whims of businesses or proprietary software. When those services cease to exist, our knowledge should live on.

Moreover, publishing the source code greatly enhances the security of Dnote. Security through obscurity neither scales nor inspires confidence, especially when the system involves the use of cryptography. Dnote is now end-to-end encrypted and maintaining such crypto-system will inevitably present many subtleties in the long run that might cause vulnerabilities. The most sensible way to mitigate such adversity is to develop the software in the open, where anyone can study the source code.

Dnote will now exist as a free and open source software under GPLv3 and AGPLv3 licenses. Nothing changes for the Dnote clients that have been open source from the beginning. Those include clients such as CLI, browser extension, and Atom plugin. They continue to be open source. The server-side code and the web client are simply the new additions to the open source stack.

A big pull request that open sourced Dnote, showing 50,000 lines added
A giant GitHub pull request for open sourcing Dnote

The picture above shows a GitHub pull request that open-sourced the entire Dnote. Each of 50,000 lines of code was handcrafted for the past two years on late nights and weekends to bring Dnote to life. They are now yours, too, for the simple reason that personal knowledge base must last for our lifetime and beyond.

Nothing changes for the business. Dnote will continue to offer Dnote Pro to the users. Using Dnote Pro, you continue to own all your data. With Dnote Pro, you will always automatically get the latest Dnote features, patches, security updates, and any data migration. Dnote will continue to lead the community effort to further develop and maintain the software in the open. Feel free to join the community of learners and developers around the world building a personal knowledge base.

As a user, you will enjoy more options and freedom because the software is now free and open source. For instance, you can freely obtain the source code, study, make modifications and redistribute it under the terms specified in the license. You can also self-host the whole service if you wish. Build a repository of your knowledge with a software that does not subjugate you to a proprietary system.

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Sung Won Cho

I am making Dnote to protect our privacy.

Sydney, Australia