New Owner Wanted for KeyStore Explorer

Update – New Owner Found.

“Owner wanted for a ten year old freeware key management application that answers to the name KeyStore Explorer. KeyStore Explorer is fun and rewarding to maintain, has a clean codebase and comes packed with utility. However, this mature application still has a lot of potential for a new owner to add useful functionality. KeyStore Explorer’s author can no longer take care of it and so KeyStore Explorer requires a new home to get the love and attention it deserves.”

Okay, so KeyStore Explorer (KSE) is not an old dog looking for a home. However, it does require help if it is to continue to evolve.

Since KSE went freeware it has become increasingly popular. With more than 1,500 downloads every month I like to think that it is helping lots of folks out. However, it pains me to admit that, after ten years of development, I am no longer the best person to look after KSE. this is because I no longer have the time to maintain it, far less drive it forward.

What I do not want is for KSE to die a slow death because I am not prepared to let go of the helm. So I am using this blog post as an advertisement to attract a new steward for the utility. I am open to ideas as to what type of ownership this would entail although open sourcing the application seems a logical choice which I am in no way opposed to. Continuing the application as a freeware application or commercialising it are other (less attractive) options that have occurred to me.

You may ask why I don’t just open source it myself. Well there are two reasons. Reason number one is that open sourcing and simply casting the application to the void is not enough to ensure the application’s future. I believe that there has to be a defined owner or owners to take charge of its direction. Reason number two is that there are a couple of impediments that will need to be overcome before the codebase is open source compliant. These impediments are not trivial but nor are they, in my opinion, insurmountable with the current availability of open source alternatives.

You may get the impression from the paragraph above that I just want to chuck the codebase at a willing participant and walk away. What I propose instead is that I provide the successful applicant(s) with the following:

  • The full codebase including the mostly complete, unreleased version 4.2 features.
  • Licenses  for all supporting tools and third party libraries.
  • Ownership of the existing lazgosoftware.com domain for long term use or as a means of redirect to a new home for KSE.
  • My ongoing support via email with any questions regarding the application and codebase.

All I require, as the original author, is that my name remain associated with KSE.

If you would like to be the new owner of KSE and think you can do the application justice then drop me a line at the Lazgo Software contact page. We can talk details and I will endeavour to answer any questions you may have. If a deal is struck I will post the outcome on this blog.

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9 Comments on “New Owner Wanted for KeyStore Explorer”


  1. You should sell it to Oracle. This tool has always been wonderful and it would be great if it were simply part of the JDK.

    • waynedgrant Says:

      I would happily donate the code to them if I thought they’d take it and make KSE freely available. The question is, how to contact the right people at Oracle…

  2. Stian Says:

    I’m a bit sad to hear this, but I completely understand. As a regular user of KSE I really hope that it will find a new home, and will try to be involved as much as possible there as well.

    Honestly I think Oracle is too worried about the bottom line to be a good hope for KSE. But I think the OpenJDK project might be good.
    http://openjdk.java.net/projects/

    KSE could be a good project for the security group. It just needs to find a willing project lead and it seems it is a bit more controlled than completely open-sourcing stuff.


  3. I wont be able to take such a project completely over, however I would like to contribute. And having said that I somewhat disagree that having it Open Sourced leads to fragmentation and inofficial forks. You – or the new owner – can still stay release manager and coordinate the various parties.

    For example I just had a problem with the SSL certificate retriever and I suspect it is caused by using the wrong SSL socket factory (where the implementation does not correctly know the hostname for the handshake). With access to the source I could verify it and propose you a patch – I do not even need commit access.

    So I strongly encourage you to provide the source (my preference would be GitHub) and I promise to contribute some smaller items.

    Bernd

    • waynedgrant Says:

      Hi Bernd,

      I’m all for open sourcing KSE and do not believe that it will necessarily lead to fragmentation, etc. Even if it did the strongest fork will gain the most popularity which is all to the good.

      The main issue with me just putting the source out there is the dependencies KSE has that are not compatible with an open source license. Namely a paid-for, third party library called binor (now nonextant) and most of the icons which come from iconexperience (also paid for).

      A developer could replace the binor functionality (it relates to ASN.1 and v3 cert extensions) with equivalents from bouncy castle given the improvements made in that API over the years.

      The icons would be a different proposition but a quick stop gap would be to lift my original open source icons which now reside in the portecle GPL project.

      Only after this work is done could the code be open sourced. Due to constraints on my time I am unable to do this work.

      The “owner” I was thinking of would be the person prepared to do that initial work and to create a new place for KSE to live on the web. The most likely alternative to do that is via open source at which point anyone could inspect the code, contribute or fork as they please.

      In relation to me carrying on as some kind of release manager I’d rather not be involved with KSE going forward except to provide the assistance that I have outlined in the post. Again this is due to constraints on my time.

      Let us hope someone is prepared to step forward in the near future 🙂

      Cheers,
      Wayne

  4. Terry Wang Says:

    Place it on github and let the crowd fork;-)

    I came across kse when searching for portecle. Found kse to be even more powerful. Cool and would be happy to see it evolve. GitHub would be the best home for it.

  5. waynedgrant Says:

    A couple of replies are saying “just open source it”, that the crowd/community will step in and take over (note that there has been very little individual interest in contributing to KSE thus far). Of course I have considered this idea but it is far from my preference as a way forward.

    If I thought that a community would just spontaneously organise around KSE I would just fire it onto an OSS repository and make an announcement. However, I firmly believe that successful open source projects have one or more people driving them and a community helping them with smaller contributions.

    On a more personal note, if I am to offer for free what represents more than 10 years of effort on my part then I would prefer to see some firm commitment to it. Better that it ends here than risk it languishing untouched in an OSS repo.

    • Nick Graves Says:

      Hello Wayne.

      I may be interested in helping you maintain this project. Please send me an email of you’re interested in speaking about this.

      Thank you.

      Nick Graves


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