Joomla Licensing

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sidkhullar
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Joomla Licensing

Post by sidkhullar » Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:09 pm

While the basic point that third party developers should adhere to the parents license i.e. GNU GPL, is technically correct, I do not feel it is practical. In order to make a living off open source software, one has to sell something!  Additionally, what motivation does a third party developer have to make better components if he/she isn’t making anything out of it. Sure, it feels good. However, in the long run, the component will die due to sheer lack of priority. This will happen over and over again… and who do you blame for it?

On the other hand, if people are given totally free and open software and asked to pay for it - most will not.

Just thinking - if I distribute a program, that depends on a service on my webserver, is it still open source, as long as all the source code for the actual utility is supplied? So you get the entire program, but the catch it that is requires a webservice (read 'certain libraries') on my server to really function. It does do something on its own, however, the extended functionality resides on my server. If you can get it to run on your own, well and good. Else… buy a subscription to my service.

I do feel that will keep it open source… or not?


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Re: Joomla Licensing

Post by severdia » Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:57 am

I think these are good "real world" points. I think there's a bit too much idealism in the new direction the OSM licensing "strategy" is taking. Right now (and in recent times), Joomla has been enjoying the biggest expansion that all the other CMSs can only dream about. This new direction (though not even implemented yet) has already had a deep impact on developers and made them skittish about even continuing with Joomla at all.

Developers of the highest quality extensions for Joomla are the ones most affected by it and once they go away (to Drupal, back to Mambo, or any other CMS) they will NEVER come back. I *want* to pay developers for their time and purchase their products. It means a certain level of accountability for their products. The developers who already distribute their extensions under the GPL (or freely under a similar license) usually have the attitude "So what do you want for free???" They do this in their spare time for fun and their level of commitment to a quality product is often low.

The result of all this will be very bad for Joomla. Again, it's idealistic to think that third party developers are going to change their business models to one that makes less money or even none at all in order to promote the GPL.
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Re: Joomla Licensing

Post by louis.landry » Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:16 am

severdia wrote: I think these are good "real world" points. I think there's a bit too much idealism in the new direction the OSM licensing "strategy" is taking. Right now (and in recent times), Joomla has been enjoying the biggest expansion that all the other CMSs can only dream about. This new direction (though not even implemented yet) has already had a deep impact on developers and made them skittish about even continuing with Joomla at all.

Developers of the highest quality extensions for Joomla are the ones most affected by it and once they go away (to Drupal, back to Mambo, or any other CMS) they will NEVER come back.
Most every Open Source CMS out there (including the ones you mentioned) are also GNU GPL licensed.  Developers going to the other platforms will encounter the exact same legal issues.  The only difference is that other projects might not ask for voluntary compliance.  It is my understanding that Drupal is actually quite aggressive in maintaining compliance as are serveral of the other major OSCMSs.
severdia wrote: I *want* to pay developers for their time and purchase their products. It means a certain level of accountability for their products. The developers who already distribute their extensions under the GPL (or freely under a similar license) usually have the attitude "So what do you want for free???" They do this in their spare time for fun and their level of commitment to a quality product is often low.
That is a very solid and sound point, and you should continue to pay developers for high quality extensions, support and a helpful attitude. :) 
severdia wrote: The result of all this will be very bad for Joomla. Again, it's idealistic to think that third party developers are going to change their business models to one that makes less money or even none at all in order to promote the GPL.
All we have asked for is voluntary compliance and stated that we intend to clean our own house.  It is really unfortunate that people think its idealistic for us to ask for compliance with our license.

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Re: Joomla Licensing

Post by severdia » Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:13 am

louis.landry wrote: Most every Open Source CMS out there (including the ones you mentioned) are also GNU GPL licensed.  Developers going to the other platforms will encounter the exact same legal issues.  The only difference is that other projects might not ask for voluntary compliance.  It is my understanding that Drupal is actually quite aggressive in maintaining compliance as are serveral of the other major OSCMSs.
Since Joomla is my CMS of choice, I couldn't say anything about how aggressive or lax they are about pursuing compliance. :)
louis.landry wrote: All we have asked for is voluntary compliance and stated that we intend to clean our own house.  It is really unfortunate that people think its idealistic for us to ask for compliance with our license.
It's not idealistic to ask for compliance. It's idealistic to expect all (or even most) developers to do it. For the "casual developers" (described above), they are already compliant and this is all virtually meaningless. But for the "serious developers" (the highest rated and most popular extensions for Joomla), this means a lot of lost revenue. It's naive to think that this class of developer can maintain their level of income on the GPL model. They will likely just stop developing for Joomla and withdraw their products (likely having their product replaced by an inferior--albeit GPL compliant--version) or they will release them under the GPL and the quality will suffer due to their pursuit of other money-making ventures. Generally speaking, free extensions are lower quality than paid extensions and I predict the serious developers will defect, thereby causing a slight upsurge in GPL extensions for Joomla, but a decline in overall quality & range of functionality.

I hope I'm proved wrong!
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Re: Joomla Licensing

Post by sidkhullar » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:46 am

Let me say this upfront - I  LOVE working with Joomla!, its features, community and in fact every thing about it. I am *not* a third party developer. I *do* however, derive a part of my income from Joomla! [customisation, implementation and bespoke projects]

When I need components, it is nice to use the free ones, however, when we speak major functionality, it is nice to pay for them because:

1. It feels right
2. As mentioned by severdia earlier, there is more accountability (or seems to be:))

Implementing the GPL is not idealistic, it is right. What I'm looking for is a way to both - implement it and yet ensure that monies find their way to third party developers. In the end, all of us need to pay our bills and yet continue contributing to a project as wonderful as Joomla! If we find that middle path -  8)


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Re: Joomla Licensing

Post by mcsmom » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:19 am

Nothing in the GPL stops developers from charging you for their products.
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Re: Joomla Licensing

Post by sidkhullar » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:50 am

Very true. Unfortunately, given the state of humanity at this point in time, since the source goes out as well, I'm wondering how many such components will find their way to hundreds of unlicensed users through eMule and other such networks.

I'm speaking of find a way around that. :)

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Re: Joomla Licensing

Post by mcsmom » Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:04 am

I understand that concern, but as you said it feels right to pay. I doubt very much that serious or business webmasters are buying products from warez sites. I'd be interested if someone could show me a counterexample.

Almost every commercial component  has a gpl counterpart. The reasons to buy commercial are all of the ones you and others have mentioned. I don't think it is true that commercial is always better, but in some specific instances this is certainly true. What you are really paying for with a commercial component is stronger support, polished css and graphics (both of which do not have to be gpl'd) and usually stronger notification systems for problems and updates.
So we must fix our vision not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but upon the positive affirmation of peace. MLK 1964.
http://officialjoomlabook.com Get it at http://www.joomla.org/joomla-press-official-books.html Buy a book, support Joomla!.

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Re: Joomla Licensing

Post by sidkhullar » Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:13 am

We do have a bunch of great components out there and I sincerely hope that happens. :)

Regards,


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