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Justin Frankel leaves Nullsoft.

Justin Frankel, the master mind behind Winamp, leaves Nullsoft!


The interesting part is Justin feels that company for which he is working owns his code and controls it. He finds that Company by controlling his code, is controlling his self-expression.

Hm... isn't that once you are working for a company, company basically owns your code and has pretty much freedom to do what it wants? For that matter, how can we retain such a star programmer who thinks otherwise.

Your views please!

Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Well, he's free to walk if he feels that strongly about it, of course.  But the fact of the matter is - he who pays you to write code, owns the code you write.

It's as natural as the morning.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Well... Let's see how Justin earns money now that he's "at large."
Wednesday, June 4, 2003

I wonder if this had anything to do with that Waste product.

It was on Nullsoft's site just long enough for it to be linked to from every 3rd blog in the world, and then this message pops up.
Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Seems obviously related... given the number of things that Nullsoft did that were yanked, it's surprising he lasted that long.

I think AOL would be a not-fun company to work for... but entertainment companies like Time Warner are actually surprisingly good at keeping maverick types employed and happy even when they pull the kind of stupid shit that Justin was always pulling. Comes from dealing with Talent.

Joel Spolsky
Wednesday, June 4, 2003

I think from what he made when AOL bought Nullsoft he doesn't really need to earn money.

Maybe he will open up a club next to Jamie Zawinksy :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Sad, I always thought that he knew what he was doing, putting out stuff under GPL (gnutella, waste) before the suits were forced to bury it.  Maybe they really locked down on Nullsoft seriously this time.

Of course, he has fuckyou money unless he wasted it, so it's not hard to leave, aside from friends on AOL's payroll.  Maybe he likes bartending.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Actually there really is no saying ho much money he has. I thought the deal for Nullsoft was a combo deal and the majority was stock options in AOL (now in the tank).

Either way he has talent so I'm sure he'll make a good living somewhere.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

"Either way he has talent so I'm sure he'll make a good living somewhere. "

Really? Would *you* hire someone who might decide to give away work he did for you (without your permission) and has done it several times in the past?

I'm an Open-Source supporter, but I wouldn't hire him to work for me. There aren't that many companies hiring more programmers for Open-Sourced products anymore.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003


No matter how smart Justin might be, I can not really allow him to pass on my code.

But if I still need his skills, what could be the way out?


Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Does the company own the code you write?  Usually, but not always.  It all depends on the employment agreement you have with them.  Didn't sign one?  You should have.

As far as what Frankel does now, why does everyone assume that leaving AOL with enough money not to have to work means that he's going to exit the software field and tend bar or open a club?  Sounds like he likes what  he's doing, so I wouldn't be surprised if he continues to write code and release disruptive technologies.

As for those who are wondering whether they would employ him, it sounds very much as if you need him more than he needs you.  Supply and demand....

Tim Lesher
Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Tim, if you didn't sign one then the common law in the US is that you own it and they have a license to do with it as they please. But they can't restrict your use of it. So not signing is actually a Good Thing.

X. J. Scott
Wednesday, June 4, 2003

That's how it works if you're a consultant (if the client isn't smart enough to have a decent contract).

If you're an employee (as Justin Frankel was), the code and the copywrite is the property of the company.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

The whole premise of this topic is false.  HE DID NOT LEAVE NULLSOFT.  Is it so hard to do basic fact checking before posting a lie or replying to it? 

He said:

"This is unacceptable to me as an individual, therefore I must leav [sic] ... I don't know when it will be, but I'm not going to last much longer."

My guess is "much longer" will turn out to be 10+ years unless AOL decides to fire the whiny little boy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

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