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Harrison
12th June 2007, 17:11
The core team of Joomla are currently debating the licensing model of third party extensions for Joomla. The question they are asking is basically this:

"Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?"

And the two answers basically mean the following:

YES!
I think that commercial developers should be able to use non-GPL licenses for their components and choose their own business model.

NO!
All commercial components should be GPL licensed and free, and they must use a GPL-compatible business model.

At the moment many commercial developers encrypt they code so that others cannot gain access to their code, copy it and release it commercially as part of their own component. A script encryption system called IonCube is currently used by many for this purpose. If the Joomla model is changed to force all components to be given away free under the GPL licensing model then the only revenue these commercial developers would be left with is charging for support which will not be enough to keep them going.

The other side of the argument is that all code should be open source so that anyone can look and learn from it and develop it further to make a better component. This argument is equally important to an open source centred project like Joomla!.

Personally I think that it should remain as it is with the answer being Yes. Most developers do still release their code as open so anyone can go into the code and edit it, altering it to customise it for their own needs. I've done this myself with most of the extensions I'm using on the site and it was needed for many of them or they wouldn't have looked or functioned how I needed.

But equally large commercial extensions need to protect themselves. Look at jReviews that I'm using extensively on the site for the game and demo sections. The developer of jReviews spends a lot of time and effort developing that component and it is easily worth the cost of purchase for what you get in return. The power of the component and some of the best after sales support ever seen online. If he were to allow his code to go public and was forced to give jReviews away free he just would not be able to continue developing it at the level he currently is or with the after sales level he offers. It his his full time job.

For this reason I think developers should continue to be allowed to release their extensions under whatever business model and license they wish. Users can then make their own mind up about which to use. Stick with smaller less feature rich and not as well supported free open source extensions that they can hack and improve themselves, or purchase commercial extensions that offer a lot for a set price with after sales support.

For this reason I ask that if you all have a spare moment can you each send an email to the Joomla development team asking them to keep the current licensing model for the future of Joomla.

Send the email to thoughts@opensourcematters.org

And include something like this:


Subject: Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?

YES! I think that commercial developers should be able to use non-GPL licenses for their components and choose their own business model.

AlexJ
12th June 2007, 19:03
Totally agree with you there Harrison. I'm a huge fan of open-source and where possible use it. However if the best application available is closed-source then that's what I'll use. I disagree with the ideology that we must only use open-source and I think such attitudes actually discourage take-up and usage of programmes and re-usage of code.

I don't know you subscribe to Michael Robertson/Linspire's email list but something similar (http://www.linspire.com/linspire_letter_archives.php?id=47) is apparently happening with the new version of the GPL licence which would mean it wouldn't be possible to integrate commercial/non-open-source software into Linux distributions. To paraphrase a part of it:

In an effort to increase user's freedom, it actually limits choice

Something I think would also be true if the extensions for Joomla were forced to be open-source only.

Harrison
12th June 2007, 23:20
I don't subscribe to that email list but the current GPL licence changes relating to Linux have been mentioned in the current Joomla discussions regarding this issue and I think it was actually one of the things that triggered the idea behind this issue now being discussed regarding Joomla licencing.

It definitely would not be good to restrict Linux in this way. It would definitely be the slow death of such a great open source OS. Commercial models such as RedHat currently work perfectly alongside completely free open source solutions such as Fedora Core. Both of those work hand in hand, but with Red Hat having the corporate paid support it needs. It they were to enforce such changes in the GPL licence then it would be the death of such OS's over night.

Either that or it would fragment the code base with some moving their code away from the central Linux community and developing their own OS that is closed and not part of the whole community and charging what they liked for it.

Submeg
13th June 2007, 02:00
Done.

Demon Cleaner
13th June 2007, 07:40
I also send the mail, as I also think that open source project only can help people, especially us, who like to fiddle around a bit.

J T
13th June 2007, 15:20
I sent the email too, don't want to miss out on any, er, action now :coffee: