Tr.im URL shortener goes open source

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Tr.im URL shortener goes open source

Spat with Twitter takes new turn.

URL shortening service tr.im is going open source, following an announcement by parent company Nambu Network that it will no longer own the domain name and will release the source code for the service.

Nambu tried recently to sell tr.im, and then shut down the service and brought it back up in order to sell it, all within a matter of weeks.

Eric Woodward, president of Nambu Network, apologised to tr.im users for the confusion, but continued to blame the "bit.ly/Twitter embargo" for the service's problems, according to a blog post.

Woodward warned last week that tr.im had no hope of challenging bit.ly's superior market share unless Twitter starts offering more choice in the services with which it partners.

"It is my personal opinion, after last week, that the use of URL shorteners needs to transition into the public domain, or the need for them within social networks such as Twitter and Facebook needs to be eliminated," Woodward said.

"But by so clearly favouring the URL shortener bit.ly, Twitter is able to control this flow of shared link data in a way that it would not otherwise be able to. Currently, no one outside the chosen few can access this data, and that is just not right."

Woodward revealed that bit.ly offered to buy tr.im for US$10,000 (AU$12,000) last Monday, but that he had rejected the offer because of his sheer dislike for the rival firm.

Woodward's blog post has received a number of comments, some complaining that he is simply being bitter.

"I understand why some people see it as bitter, but it really is not. I see it as a reality that must be faced. As I have said, I don't see it as a personal exclusion at all, but it is an exclusion nonetheless," he explained.

Woodward added that he would personally guarantee any shortfall in tr.im's operating expenses on an indefinite basis. He also said that tr.im would begin publishing all statistics and information related to its use, such as operating cash flow, redirects and URL creation counts, "so that the community can have confidence that it is on a solid footing".

He concluded by saying that he would welcome any donations to tr.im in order to help meet operating expenses.

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