I, AJ ONeal, am not a big fan of legalese, but I am a fan of communicating clearly. I hope that this accomplishes both defining some legal boundaries as well as communicating in a friendly and clear way, at least to the degree that suits our needs for the current stage of Root’s products and services.
This is important because it is our intent to create sustainable open source projects, which means that we do want to create brand value, grow community, and, eventually, be able to work full time on creating more great software and services.
If you’d like to contact me, especially if you feel that I (or we) have made a mistake in how we operate, please do so:
Here’s what I’ve worked through so far:
Root™ is a collaborative effort primarily between AJ, Ryan, John, & Josh . Currently we manage a number of projects (or "working groups", if you will) and we do so under the umbrella of The Root Group, LLC in order to make our efforts sustainable in the long term. The projects for which we manage the brand and user experience under the umbrella of Root include (but are not limited to):
For legal purposes, the words “I”, “we”, “me”, “us”, etc in this document refer to The Root Group, LLC as a business entity, as opposed to the individuals mentioned. Likewise “you”, “your”, etc means either you as an individual or the entity that you represent or are acting on behalf of, as appropriate.
For practical purposes, I use “we” to express a sentiment of connection and shared values that the individuals hold, which are also representative of the company values, ideals, etc.
We use the Greenlock brand for a number of products and services surrounding automated TLS, including the issuance of SSL certificates for HTTPS via the ACME protocol (better known by the brand name Let’s Encrypt), also including SMTPS, STARTTLS, and other encryption protocols.
- Greenlock Domains https://greenlock.domains
- Greenlock Express.js https://git.coolaj86.com/coolaj86/greenlock-express.js
- Greenlock for Node.js https://git.coolaj86.com/coolaj86/greenlock.js
- Greenlock for Browsers https://git.coolaj86.com/coolaj86/greenlock.html
Hub is our least developed product as it is represents the culmination of our other work, which isn’t yet complete.
The vision for Hub is to create a plug-and-play home server for general consumers to be able to store data at home (and within a network of trusted devices among friends and family) so that they can have peace of mind about where their data is stored without sacrificing convenience of access (which might otherwise be compromised in the cases of data that the individual has rights to but a streaming company does not - such as music, movies, books, and other media that are DRM rent-only).
We use the Telebit brand for products and services related to Remote Access and Sharing. It uses Greenlock to provide the necessary encryption and our Open Protocol, MPLEXY, to make the remote connectivity possible in harsh network environments. It’s kind of a like a poor man’s VPN, but in reverse.
In alignment with our mission and values we make the protocol open and provide the source so that anyone can take advantage of the technology, and so that it can be deployed by individuals as well.
- Telebit https://telebit.cloud
- Telebit Remote for Node.js https://git.coolaj86.com/coolaj86/telebit.js
- Telebit Relay for Node.js https://git.coolaj86.com/coolaj86/telebit-relay.js
webi™, also known as Web Install™ or webinstall.dev is our not package manager for quickly setting up our laptops, servers, and helping our clients and mentees to do the same.
The vision for
webi is to be the fastest, simplest, least-magical, and most standards-based way to install the best tools the internet has to offer in a self-contained, permissionless, and cross-platform way.
Why these Products & Services?
Each of these product / service combos is very important to us because they each represent a huge milestone on the path to a more decentralized web.
Decentralized is a popular buzzword right that is used in diverse (and sometimes conflicting) ways. More specifically we believe in federalization, which doesn’t reject the inherent efficiency of local centrality, but empowers and enables ownership and control (our core values) through choice.
That’s all a bit philosophical, but the take home message is that we envision a world in which everyone is empowered to make the choice of whether to rent or own their stuff and we’re working to accomplish that by creating a Home Server that enables that.
If we don’t do this, well, with the way the cloud is headed, renting may be the only option in the future.
We need Root because we want ownership, and control.
It’s important for us to create branded products and services so that our efforts are sustainable and have opportunity for growth.
If at any time you feel that any of our products, services, messaging or practices are in conflict with our mission or these values, please let us know.
Each of our products comes with its own LICENSE file and the license(s) may also be in some sort of manifest file (such as package.json).
We typically use Mozilla Public License v2.0 (MPL-2.0), which enables us to be intentional about retaining brand value while still allowing others to actively participate, copy, modify, use, and redistribute.
Although we do keep some of our software proprietary and we do use trademarks, because we believe in empowerment and choice we do our best to provide usable self-service forms of our products and services for personal use.
If at any time you feel that our Licensing is in conflict with our mission or values, please let us know.
We want to make the world a better place. Everyone has a different definition of what “a better place” means, so the purpose of our terms is just as much to rule out some things that we think makes the world (and particularly our world) a worse place:
You agree that you will take reasonable measures to keep up-to-date with security releases.
You agree to not use our products or services in a way that would cause unusual or undue burden on our servers or services, our partners servers or services, or our customers servers or services, or in a way that harms or misrepresents the reputation or brand value (including causing brand confusion) of the aforementioned parties (or really anybody).
This is not to say that you can’t publicly have a negative opinion, but don’t bite the hand that feeds and don’t be vicious or misrepresentative.
You agree that you take full responsibility for the risks of using our software and services. We make reasonable efforts to provide the best quality products and services that we can, within our means, but we cannot make any warranties, or take responsibility for damages from unintentional oversight - especially not on free products and services. Please report bugs and let us know of any problems and we’ll do the best we can to make it right.
If you have a use case that may be in violation of these terms (particularly the part about undue burden), but you feel contributes to making the world a better place, we’re here to help (assuming it also aligns with our values). Although it may not be appropriate to use our services, perhaps we can help you with a solution based on our no-cost, low-cost or open source products.
If at any time you feel that our Terms of Service are in conflict with our mission or values, please let us know.
“Greenlock” and the “green G lock” mark, “Telebit”, and “Hub” are Trademarks of AJ ONeal.
We’ll be coming out with a brand guide as to how you should use the marks. In the meantime: don’t change the proportions or colors (except the case of grayscale and black and white).
It is appropriate to use the trademark in a way that promotes the brand with proper attribution, linking to the official project repositories, etc.
For example, it is appropriate to use the name “webi” or “Web Install” when writing tools that work with webi as long as it is clear that it is a community contribution.
If you create a “hard” fork of our code or any products or services, you should give your fork its own name, and not use ours. That said, we gladly welcome your suggestions and pull requests.
If you mirror our code you should make it clear that it is a mirror and link to our official repository (typically on git.rootprojects.org or github.com) and clearly and prominently disclose that it is a derivative work of our branded product.
If at any time you feel that our Trademark policies are in conflict with our values, please let us know.
What we collect and (more importantly) Why:
In the cases that we collect your name, it’s because we want to know how to address you. All four of us want to be personable if and when we reach out.
There are three main purposes for which we may use your email address:
1. A one-time outreach to ask if you were able to do what you intended to do. We want to make a great product. Although open source projects traditionally have a reactive approach to communication (i.e. you file a bug and wait for a response), we believe that creating sustainable open source requires a proactive approach.
2. Security and legal notifications. It's important that we have a way to contact you if we've made a mistake or discover a mistake that needs to be addressed. This may include vulnerabilities as well as mandatory upgrades (such as a significant and/or breaking change to an API or service is made). Making sure that our products work and are secure aligns with our values and contributes to our brand identity.
3. Opt-in updates. Many of you want to know when we have significant feature updates or when we have something that we believe is really valuable to share. We've created an opt-in avenue for that. And you can always opt-out as well.
We believe that the current open source model needs improvement - it often relies heavily on large centralized platforms which aggregate a lot of user information for the platform without appropriately targeting the relationship between authors and users of projects (i.e. npm, github, etc). We believe that making open source sustainable means a greater focus on empowering authors and users. We’ve learned from other projects (Caddy, Heroku, and others) which use telemetry as part of a proactive approach to open source and we believe that it can be a great avenue for us to be proactive as well.
We may use telemetry about operating system, browser, platform (i.e. node, go, rust, python, ruby) version, code version, and other system-level information to better understand how we can serve our users (you) and proactively solve problems that we might not otherwise hear about. For example, if we see many page visits in a certain browser (or installs with a new version of node), but few successful registrations, we know that something is wrong.
We also use Google Analytics on our websites for basic functionality. Other than that, nothing else comes to mind right now. As we consider what we will do in the future, it will be measured against our mission and values. We never want to come across as spammy or forceful. We want to do things that help us build our brand, acknowledge our customers; things that are proactive, and that promote sustainable source.
Formal Complaints and Law Enforcement:
We have to look at these on a case-by-case basis and decide the best course of action to take.
So far all of the complaints that we have received we have been clearly able to identify as abuse without any ambiguity or doubt and the correct course of action seemed to be to release information from our web server logs that related to the users and connections in question to the lawful authorities.
If there is anything time sensitive, even if it must be physically mailed, please at least send us an email or text to know to expect it.
Due to the high number of robo-dials, we do not answer for unknown numbers. Please leave a voicemail and send a text or email if you’d like us to call you back.
The Root Group, LLC
P.O. Box 1745
Provo, UT 84603-1745
We also have a physical businesses address at a shared co-working space in Provo, UT that we use as needed.