Yes, we knew it was going to happen eventually. Sparrow is officially being open sourced by its creators as they leave for Google post-acquisition. Update: Only the open source componets of the app are being released. Not the full apps.

We knew that no further updates would come to the popular iOS and Mac apps, with the exception of bug fixes, but the decision to restrict the software is what really cuts — the client is dead.

Had Sparrow’s source code been completely opened up, we could have seen an enthusiastic developer take on the project, and thus give it life. Unfortunately, keeping it closed could have been an aspect of Sparrow’s contract with Google, perhaps so it won’t compete with whatever they’re planning now in Mountain View.

The official license:

  1. You may download those files only for your own use. Customer may not redistribute any work based on those files.
  2. Reverse Engineering only for debugging purpose. Customer may not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the binary files (.a/.o files), nor attempt in any other manner to obtain the source code. Reverse engineering is only allowed for the purpose of debugging the modifications the Customer is doing in #1.

It’s certainly not the happiest of news, but on the bright side, Gmail certainly needs a heck of a lot of help and has the potential to reach many more people. If the acquisition of the Sparrow team was for that purpose, we’ll likely see remnants of what made Sparrow so popular hidden in the app.

Check out the Open Source page here.