It is interesting the timing of this discussion, given Rob Schley's developer post on Why Open Source Matters.
Each contributor can look at something someone else has done and not just the pretty paint job, they have access to the schematics, diagrams, and blueprints of how they did it. Then, if they want, they can improve on it to make something better.
It has long bothered me that encrypted solutions are in the JED and used within an open source application, like Joomla!. It's not that I don't understand the reasoning - people are trying to make a living and they are protecting their assets -- their code -- and others have abused this and we haven't really figured out how to deal with these problems. But, we need to be very, very careful here discussing license changes or Joomla! will wind up an Internet device, without any value to anyone, absent encrypted software.
If we move away from the GPL, what do you honestly think will happen to the number of open source developers who entrust the community with their work, making it possible for others to learn and adapt the code, improving on it to make things better for all of us? What will be their motivation to continue? Why should they be the ones to make their code vulnerable when others are protecting their assets?
When you think about it, it is an all or nothing deal. All open source, or eventually, no open source.
The only real protection that an open source developer has is a community
who rewards the act of entrusting the community with the code by strictly enforcing the GPL against encrypted solutions and financially supporting the open source solutions. We, as a community, have not beat those drums like we need to! We have not supported our third party developers. They have watched the encrypted code come in. They have watched their products be pirated. And, they had no where else to turn but to encrypt their code.
It's all or nothing. If we move away from the GPL, we will be saying open source doesn't matter and it will
be a race to encrypt. The only open source code that will remain will be from newbie developers cutting their teeth. Talented open source developers will go to authentic open source projects who support them and Joomla! will be a useless Internet device, void of encrypted extensions.
What problem are we trying to solve? Let's back up and figure that out.
I have been thinking for awhile that we must
figure out revenue issues for the Joomla! project. We need to pay the salaries of our core Joomla! developers and anyone else who is needed to work on this effort full-time. And, we need to start talking about how third party extension providers can be compensated for their work, too.
There are LOTS of open source projects with excellent business models and people are indeed making money. Take Jaspersoft (they use Joomla!, BTW). Anyone can use JasperReports freely as in beer and liberty. Free support is available using the community forums. And, you can get commercial support, too, for a charge. A person on the phone. Someone who will come to your place of business.
Take a look at Ubuntu. They SEND CDs in the mail at their cost. I realize they have one of the world's richest men who seeded the effort, but they also built a self-sufficient operations in Canonical that sustains this group of people and their work, which is fed upstream back to Debian, and other projects they use.
to keep the GPL beneath Joomla! if open source matters and we need to get the encryption out. Then, everyone is back on the same playing field - even - and no one is at a disadvantage for being an open source developer.
One last consideration, and this is the harsh comment, please take it as reality - not an attack. Changing the license would be considered by many, myself included, a serious offense and a breach of trust to the community for the volunteer efforts that have been provided since the fork. Many of us participated because we believe the saying "open source matters" and wanted to support the good that open source can provide the world.
Thank you for accepting input on this.