The Bukkit Fiasco

I woke up this morning to quite a surprise. I hopped out of bed, eager for a Minecraft 1.8 pre-release, only to be greeted by a tweet from Dinnerbone which stated:

Confused, I dug a little deeper, and found a post made to the Bukkit Forums by none other than EvilSeph himself. At the time, the post had already been heavily edited, and after flipping back and forth between the post and the Twitter feeds of Dinnerbone and Jeb, I was able to basically deduce that EvilSeph had tried to shut down the project, but Mojang stepped in and took control before that could happen. A little more digging lead me to the fact that Mojang had secretly acquired Bukkit two and a half years prior, when they hired the original team (Dinnerbone, EvilSeph, Grum, and Tahg). A bit dazed, I assumed it was something that would blow over by the evening, even though I knew that it was a pretty big deal.

Now that I'm a bit more educated on the situation, I'll explain it in detail:

EvilSeph made the decision to leave the Bukkit project, and felt it best to shut it down as well. However, Jeb stepped in within hours with the announcement that they had acquired Bukkit years prior, and that it was not EvilSeph's decision to make.

Dinnerbone soon thereafter stated that he would be seeing Bukkit through the 1.8 update himself.

Unfortunately, the community is still in chaos. Some people who are impervious to noticing strikethroughs are still under the impression that the project is shutting down immediately, and the lead is, of course, still stepping down. Sadly, with him left TnT, who was also a key figure in the project. He served as the lead for both the forums and for BukkitDev staff, and as of yet it is unclear who will take his place. And there are others who will be leaving, though they haven't publicly announced so yet and thus I'm not at liberty to say whom. And to top it off, no one knows how many more developers and staff members will resign as a result of the fallout caused by this fiasco.

So what exactly lies ahead for Bukkit? The answer is, no one really knows at this point. This transition was quite sudden, and leading parties are still trying to figure out what to do. Side note: everything past this point is pure speculation. Please do not take it as fact, for it may be very, very wrong. There's absolutely no way that Mojang would allow Bukkit to die at this point in time, which is why they've made the decision to update it to 1.8. An enormous portion of the Minecraft community only sticks around for the Multiplayer function, which is driven almost exclusively by Bukkit. That's not to say that Bukkit will be driving Minecraft SMP forever. Mojang has had a plugin/modding API underway for quite some time now, and so I speculate that Bukkit will be subtly given the axe once that's been released into the wild. It would be shame if that were to happen, but it's all too likely a possibility.

I love Bukkit. I love its community, I love the content it gives life to, and I love the very idea of genuinely playing a part in something so big. I've been using it since September of 2011, I joined the forums two months later in November, and I've been developing plugins for over two years now, since August of 2012. It's frustrating to see the community in such disarray after everything that's happened, and it would be truly saddening if the project were to go under. I'm going to hope for the best, and pray that it remains a cornerstone of the Minecraft community as it always has. But, only time will tell. All we can do now is wait.

Edit #1: Ed Gruberman over on the Bukkit Forums has brought up a very interesting point regarding Mojang's involvement with the project. They haven't seemed to have played a role in Bukkit over the past couple of years despite owning it, and are just now showing concern because the project shutting down is a threat to their livelihood. I suggest giving his post a read, as it offers a different point of view.

There's some more information I want to convey, but I'm not at liberty to disclose it. Even if I were, a good deal of it is again speculation, as nothing is quite clear at the moment. I'll update this again if need be.

Posted by Max Roncace on