Global Top Web Server Nginx Forks: Devs Launch FreeNginx

Introduction of FreeNginx: a Fork by Nginx Core Developer Maxim Dounin

On February 19, Fast Technology reported that Maxim Dounin, one of the core developers of the globally popular web server Nginx, has announced the launch of a forked version called FreeNginx.

Nginx is currently utilized on approximately one-third of the world’s web servers and was previously owned by Nginx Inc. In March 2019, Nginx was acquired by F5 Inc. for $670 million.

However, Maxim Dounin, the main developer of the Nginx web server system, had disagreements with F5, leading him to decide to fork Nginx and create FreeNginx.

Dounin explained that, as some may be aware, F5 closed its Moscow office in 2022, and since then, he has not been working for F5 anymore.

Nevertheless, an agreement has been reached, and Dounin will continue to contribute as a volunteer to Nginx development. Over the past two years, he has been dedicated to enhancing Nginx and offering better services to everyone for free.

Unfortunately, some new non-technical management at F5 recently decided they needed to understand better how to oversee open-source projects, particularly by choosing to interfere with the security policies Nginx has relied on for years, disregarding the stances of policies and developers.

This can be understood: they own the project and have the right to use it in any way, including for marketing purposes, disregarding the developers’ stances and the community.

However, this goes against our agreement, and more importantly, I can no longer control the changes made by F5 internally to Nginx, nor see Nginx as a free open-source project developed and maintained for the public good.

Hence, starting today, I will no longer be involved in Nginx development under F5’s responsibility. Instead, I will initiate another project operated by developers rather than a corporate entity.

Our objective is to shield Nginx development from the influence of any arbitrary company actions, with hopes that everyone will benefit from this decision.

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