Anki Forums

Open-sourcing AnkiWeb?

Damien, what are your thoughts about open-sourcing AnkiWeb? Would you prefer to keep it closed-source indefinitely? If you’d like to eventually open-source it, what are the blockers for it?

There was at some point a project of replicating it, but I believe it’s been now dead for a while.

For me, there’s a few reasons I’d like it open-sourced:

  • Multi-device sync for Anki has a bus factor of 1. If something happens to Damien (like injury, burnout, etc.), eventually the server gets shut down and the community will have no sync until someone reverse-engineers the sync server.
  • As long as it’s closed-source, any improvements to AnkiWeb are bottlenecked on the time Damien can put into AnkiWeb.
  • Somewhat less importantly (for me), I would have more trust in security and privacy of my data if I could run my own backend and/or have control over the data.

– Rai

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To work full time on Anki, I need some way to pay the bills. Currently AnkiMobile is able to do that, but if one day its sales are no longer able to cover costs, I would need something to fall back on, and AnkiWeb is a potential backup source of revenue. For this reason, I’m afraid I don’t think giving it away at this point would be the smartest move.

There are third-party sync servers out there already, largely based on the code from the computer version, which you may wish to explore further.


Thanks for the openness, I think that’s completely fine and reasonable, and I’m glad that you can work full-time on Anki :slight_smile:

I’d still like it if Anki’s bus factor could get higher. Some ideas that come to mind would be making some sort of legal setup where in case something happens to Damien, someone else [who would keep the lights on] inherit Ankiweb.

For myself, I might look into 3rd-party sync servers.