K-9 Mail is back (5.800 release)

Cketti has decided to become a full time open source developer, got promoted to implement jmap into k-9 for 6 month and wants to go on to make a living out of k-9.
That’s a sole decision he made for his very own sake. It’s all open and transparent if you do a little search.
It’s no fault to get payed for open source development, but if going this way, a fork would have been the way to go, imho!
Contributing to an oss project and taking it over to get payed, do fund raising, etc is something completely different.

May I ask when the project has decided to be owned over to cketti and provide his living?

A clean, honest and honorable solution would have been to fork and go on from there, doing what one likes with the forked project. That’s what forks are for and there are quite good examples in the oss world!

The way cketti went is quite questionable, imho.
Leaving k-9 as it is, fork it, rename it and do whatever you want with it would have been ethical!


I don’t see any ethics problem here. The prior versions are all still in the git history, so if some developer or group decides that they wish to pursue development on the older code base, it is trivial to fork it and run with that (as some have done from time to time). To suggest that it would be more ethical for the owners of THIS project to fork THEIR OWN code makes no sense, since they wouldn’t be maintaining the old code anyway.

Personally, I have used k9mail for a considerable time, since right when it was started (some time around 2009 I believe), to the moment when imap push was (temporarily) disabled, at which point I dropped it for FairEmail, which has shown to be far more robust and a better fit for my use. So naturally I’m interested in where k9mail is going in order to evaluate if it offers me a good incentive to switch back. Well maybe one day, but not yet. Who knows, this is a major UI overhaul and is bound to have some rapid changes over the next little while.


The ethical problem is how he took money and wasted it by ruining K-9 by turning it into every other email client out there. Why did they bother?

And now treats his users with disrespect.


That’s total BS man … beta versions on f-droid were available for literally years, so you could had a look where it was going before donating.

I myself would welcome the general overview screen, still donated and I’m happy OSS developer could dedicate his time to the project 100% (which I do for many project each month).


Very few have the time or ability to run beta builds.


Maybe it helps people to understand the current situation if I try to explain my view of the K-9 Mail project.

I work on K-9 Mail because it’s the app I want to use. Having the app work for me is my primary goal. I imagine it’s the same for everyone else who has ever contributed to the project.
Like many other open source projects we package the app and make it available to the world. There is a bit of hope that this will attract new contributors, who in turn will help to make the app even better. But mostly it’s done because it doesn’t cost us anything. If the app works for us, it will probably work for others, too.

Sometimes I implement features that people ask for, but that I don’t use myself. In part that’s because I like technical challenges. But helping others also feels good.
I can’t speak to the motivation of other contributors. But I imagine I’m not unique in this regard.

Having a lot of users or good ratings in the Play Store is not something that is important to me. Sure, it kind of feels nice to know that a lot of people use something you have worked on. And the large number of users that find the app valuable is what brings in enough donations so I can dedicate a significant amount of my time to K-9 Mail. But being “successful” was never a goal. Creating the app I want to use is my main motivation.

With that in mind, most of the answers to the questions that have been asked should be obvious.

Why did you remove/change X?
Because it’s not important for my email workflow. And probably not to that of any other developer who contributed to K-9 Mail in the past 2 years (that’s how long the UI is roughly in the state that it is in now).
Some features are cheap to maintain, some expensive. When something requires a lot of work, but nobody is around to put in the effort, it’s often easier to just remove a feature.

I don’t feel like I owe users of the app anything. Most of the time I do enjoy helping users, or implementing features I don’t use myself. But K-9 Mail is not a product. There are no customers. We create the app we want to use. And if you like using the result, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s fine, too.

K-9 Mail is an open source project. If you don’t like the direction the app is going, you can always fork it, or, assuming most of you aren’t developers, pay someone else to modify K-9 Mail’s source code to create the app that you want. I think that’s quite a great deal for a free app (that doesn’t track or otherwise monetize its users).

EDIT: You might want to read the follow-up here.


Here you are folks. Writing is in the mud.

Move on. He does not care and is unwilling to fix his disaster.


I will echo the previous poster that said 5.8 should have been a fork. Fine, you wanted to make it what you wanted. Fork it. Take your own advice. By doing what you have, you’ve effectively destroyed peoples email workflow with no recourse as downgrading is broken on many devices. So now people are left with a giant mess to fix to be able to move to a different app.


Thank you very much for explaining your motivations on the (further) development of K9.

It’s true: you don’t owe anyone anything in this regard, and it’s your right to shape the app to your own likings first.

Please let us know in some time, if we can expect K9 to bring back the account overview and bottom navigation. This was/is important for many of us.

Then everyone will be able to move on and make his/her own decisions of which app to use in the future.

Thank you again for all you’ve done so far,

G. G.


Thank you for being honest. I appreciate your being upfront about changing this app solely to match your own work flow and owing nothing to users. Most people wouldn’t be brave enough to admit something like this because it is sure to alienate the entire user base. But it is helpful to know your motivation, as now we have the facts needed to decide if that is what we are looking to support, or if it’s time to move on to a new app, or revert back to the old version. I had no idea this app was made by you and only for you or I wouldn’t have wasted your time by posting my thoughts here. Cheers, best wishes, and enjoy your very own personal open source project!


I’ve been using K-9 mail for several years and didn’t realize it was not a “product.” As with many others, I was taken aback when I did the upgrade this morning and found a totally different UI. As with many others, my main disappointments are the lack of the accounts screen (I have five addresses I check regularly) and moving the navigation and trash buttons to the top of the screen. I don’t have large hands, but I could easily check messages and mark some for deletion by using one hand. Now I have to use two hands. It would be great if the accounts screen could be returned as an option and the location of the navigation and trash buttons could also be an option. I’ll try the new UI for a few days but will likely be one of the users who goes back to the old version.


Just by interest:

Why didn’t you create a fork for your needs instead of develop the original version?


I often used “I” because I don’t want to speak for other people who contribute to the app. Their motivations might be different. While I put in more work than others, K-9 Mail is not a one-person-project. We create the app we want to use.
There’s no conflict among contributors that would require someone to fork the project. There’s only a few people using the app that don’t like the direction the app is going.

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Thanks for reply.

There is no need to have a conflict before creating a fork :wink:

Developing an original app means high responsibility for all current users. A fork is easier to do. You won’t get the same amount of feedback. Positive and negative feedback.


well, with all due respect I strongly tend to disagree with that impression …


You better might have forked K-9 into what you like to have instead of destroying the workflow of so many now disappointed user out there. But may be this is the start of something else based on the 5.600 sources, Time will tell.


A few?

Are you blind?


My BS detector is above the 100% mark.
2 days ago you wanted to know why people wanted it back as you hadn’t quite grasped the explanations in the 100s of messages.
Now that you have (or still may not) have understood why, you say you never cared what people wanted.
You just worked for 2 years with beta testers just for your own use. Interesting.
Anyway, no hard feelings, thanks for the work you’ve done it has helped several millions of people with their emails.
The few ones that used it with several email accounts will find a way I’m sure .
Seriously, thanks !


It sounds like there wasn’t a fork (yet) because the developers liked the new direction.

I agree that OSS follows the itch to scratch model.

While I don’t like the new change (and have downgraded), cketti prefers it, and with OSS it’s the developers that matter, not users.

One question cketti alluded to, is how much would money would it take to add feature x? I’ve participated in other projects where a gofundme was used to add features.

Hopefully feature x could be added to the main project and not require a fork. That way everyone wins.

(post 0111 1111!)… Oops… Post 127 is now 124

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Your ‘major redesign’ is major disappointment


It’s an open source project so gathering funds to pay a developer to implement it sounds totally worth exploring. Surely some of the self professed “super users” would be willing to throw some funds behind it. Perhaps open a bounty on bountysource that everyone could contribute to? Bountysource

In any case the main devs are exploring the idea of bringing it back themselves:

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