He did that so people could fork it if they wanted without fear of legal action. It wasn’t an invitation for everyone to tell him how he should run the original project, or worse, try to assert control over it. It’s the difference between “here’s an idea, do cool things with it” and “this belongs to everyone”.
Markdown belongs to no one but John, contrary to assertions you’ve madeand despite its large user base (none of whom were forced to use it in the first place).
If CommonMark somehow surpasses Markdown in popularity, then more power to you! But don’t pretend it would ever be okay to take the original project out of John’s hands, whatever your feelings about his stewardship.
Except it’s not abandonware. Making a very considered decision not to add features is not the same as abandonment, and you don’t get to make any claim otherwise, whatever your feelings about that decision.
I am actually delighted with the name change, I think this will tremendously help the project, people have connotation that Markdown is a “pot luck” thing when it comes to rendering of Markdown. A new name here is needed to properly communicate that something predictable can come out of the other end.
Like I said, your feelings about this are irrelevant.
By the way, are you this way about everything in the world? Would you call a classic film that hasn’t been retouched in decades “abandonware”? Why can’t software just be finished if that’s what the creator wants?
Well, too bad for him. If he didn’t want it to be used, he shouldn’t have told people about it. Useful ideas have a nasty habit of spreading and, thankfully, it still isn’t practically possible to interefere with this.
It seems to me that you are consistently mixing up Markdown.pl (which is a software project that no one uses anymore) and Markdown the language. Yes, Markdown.pl “belongs” to Gruber (in the copyleft sense, since it has a free software licence), but Markdown the language doesn’t. He’s the one who originally devised the syntax, but that doesn’t mean he gets to rule over all similar syntaxes in the future. Your final paragraph then makes me think this is all about the word “Markdown”, but as I already said, it’s silly to think some eight-letter word is off-limits just because someone else thought of it first. Yes, protecting words is sometimes useful for various reasons, but that’s why you have to go out of your way to defend your use of it. As I mentioned, names are scarce and we’d run out of them pretty quickly if we were to allow people to bully other people out of using them willy-nilly.
It’s a BSD license. So they have every right to fork the code and take ownership of the fork. Just like Amazon forked Google. Google may not have been happy about it, but they made it open source. Using the name “Markdown” is the only thing that is up for dispute, and @codinghorror has opted to avoid that dispute.
@codinghorror Does the “markdown” implemented by the Stack Exchange network (or at least for Stack Overflow) fit the current definition of the CommonMark standard? If so, can you (or anyone else…) think of a reason why the title of the “Markdown Help” page should not immediately be changed to “CommonMark Help”?
While renaming the project and offering public appologies is still an acceptable compromise, I would never have closed the original website without redirection. You are very nice guys to collaborate so willingly. No matter if you call it standard or common, I don’t read it as you claim ownwership over the original Markdown. If you work hard for two years to establish a standard, you’ve got to name it accordingly. From what I understand, it was never meant to become a strict Markdown or a GitHub/StackExchange/Reddit flavored Markdown, it was meant to become a Standard Markdown or a Common Markdown, thus the name. OK, it is not a standard yet, but it’s best chance to become one is to show to the community that it is what the workgroup wanted.
…You believe this despite the concession of renaming the project to “CommonMark”? In what way is Jeff (et al.) “after” the Markdown branding? (That’s a genuine question, not a rhetorical one or even a Socratic-style “trick you into conceding the point” question.)
Edit: as @nathanl points out below, they do still define “CommonMark” as a form of Markdown, so I suppose that could be what you meant. To me, though, this statement seems more like an attempt to acknowledge Gruber’s invention than an illicit use of Gruber’s “branding.”
Even before it was renamed CommonMark, the project wasn’t even a fork of Markdown.pl; it was an entirely new implementation. How is that not a case of “doing cool things with” the original idea? I agree with @gleon that you’re improperly conflating Gruber’s Markdown implementation (Markdown.pl) with the Markdown language.
…I am increasingly curious about this “long and thoughtful” email. I’m kind of assuming (sad to say) that it’s the sort of “long and thoughtful” email that would be rude to make public, and I’m impressed with Jeff for being so civil throughout this exchange. It does not sound to me as though Gruber has returned the favor.
The page now links to the blog post, which is possibly close enough to a redirection, since the blog post does link to the new site. Personally, I would have put up three links: one to the new commonmark.org page, one to the blog post explaining the change, and (maybe) one to something of Gruber’s (perhaps his own description/specification of Markdown) since this is, after all, meant to be a placating effort.