Why are 3PDs misleading us by saying Joomla has killed off commercial extens?

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Why are 3PDs misleading us by saying Joomla has killed off commercial extens?

Post by squash » Fri Jul 20, 2007 8:18 pm

I'm new to the forum, but have a development business based on Joomla. Lately, when looking at extensions, i've been seeing a lot of 3PDs claiming that Joomla has cut off the ability for commercial companies to produce their extensions, including links to polls with equally misleading premise and commentary.

While I understand that contract law is complex, I can't believe that all these various companies have the same fundamental misunderstanding of their obligations under the GPL.  Reading the forum posts here and elsewhere, I can only describe it as dishonest propaganda. Misguided cries of things like "Joomla is shutting out commercial developers!" and the like isn't going to get anyone anywhere.

3PDs: You are going to have to accept that the GPL license of Joomla most likely requires that your module or component also be licensed as GPL (or compatible license). You will eventually have to learn to seperate Commercial from Proprietary and stop interchanging them in confusing or dishonest ways. Users who do know the difference will remember your attitude when you were reminded of your obligations to your customers.

If you are truly afraid of people redistributing your code rather than buying it, here are a few suggestions:

. Require a license key for support. 
. Nothing says you need to make the download link available to the public, only that you must distribute the source to anyone whom you've distributed your binary to. With the encryption piece removed, its the same thing.
. Offer customization services on a consulting basis. I contracted for a while with a shopping cart vendor who made 90% of their money on this. Who better to customize the software than the author?
. Offer hosted solutions. No distribution = no source obligation, at least with GPL2.

Finally, I'd like to say Thanks to the Joomla team, for a great product and for reminding everyone that Open Source Matters. I look forward to the day when my relatively obscure server platform is able to run some of the excellent add-ons that were previously available only in incompatible, encrypted form.

 
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re: Why are 3PDs misleading us by saying Joomla has killed off commercial extens

Post by Asphyx » Fri Jul 20, 2007 8:31 pm

I'm glad to see some people are seeing through the FUD thats been going around...

I just wanted to add to your very good suggestions.

One business model not discussed is a multi license release of Proprietary components.

For Example.
A Developer could release a GPL (or LGPL if they chose) version of their Application that would be perfectly legal under the Joomla License.
This release would have limited (think Demo) functionality included just enough to show off the program to potential purchasers. This would also be a free beer release so that there is not cost to TRY this project out.

That would make the BRIDGE to allow use in the GPLed Joomla...

NOW...For a fee the Developer would offer an upgraded version that would replace some key files that do not operate or interface with Joomla in any way. They simply use the files that came with the GPLed version to call to Joomla (this is the bridge method taked about in many ways and variations on these boards before.)
That upgrade could be released and distributed under just about any license the developer wanted because it is a derivative of their own GPL program not someone else's.

This not only would solve many issues of the derivative GPL licensing but it would be a great marketing tool to sell the more sophisticated product because people would be able to sample what they would be paying for before hand.

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Re: Why are 3PDs misleading us by saying Joomla has killed off commercial extens?

Post by squash » Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:19 pm

re: asphyx http://forum.joomla.org/index.php/topic,192824.0.html

From a purely practical standpoint, I would be against such a system, as those "replacement" files would likely be encrypted, which puts me right back where I am now - They simply cannot be supported on my platform.

However, I'm also not sure that it would be allowed from a licensing perspective. Those files would be a derivative Joomla by proxy: a derivative of my derivative is my derivative. I think the issue could be confused by claiming dual license protection, but I don't believe that would be a valid interpretation of the GPL license. While software may be released under more than one license, only one license may apply at a time. This is the business model of Qt, MySql, and others.

Possibly there is a GPL compatible license that has this sort of exception, I haven't read them all. I'm thinking that there aren't, but I welcome corrections if anyone has taken the time to do the research.

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re: Why are 3PDs misleading us by saying Joomla has killed off commercial extens

Post by Asphyx » Sun Jul 22, 2007 4:29 pm

From a purely practical standpoint, I would be against such a system, as those "replacement" files would likely be encrypted, which puts me right back where I am now - They simply cannot be supported on my platform.
Encryption is not needed if proprietary license can be used. And in that example the updated files would not interface with Joomla directly nor be considered a derivative of Joomla itself but a derivative of the GPL extention they themselves wrote. Unlikely they could prosecute themselves for license violation of their own work. No one else could prosecute either.

It would be similar to the way SMF bridges with Joomla. The Bridge portion is free and GPL. The Bridge interfaces directly with Joomla. SMF is a stand alone application and it is not licensed under a GPL compatible license. But it does not link to Joomla itself. merely links to the bridge which is enough seperation to protect it from the restrictions on what license it can be released under.

IF the demo is GPL and contains all the hooks into Joomla needed in a sperated file the commercial version could use, then the commercial version would not have to be encrypted to protect it's source nor be GPL compatible as it can use a proprietary and restrictive license via the court to protect such work. Enbcryption is not needed to protect at all.

Source can be safely given out to clients because you can restrict that source from further distribution...
you can do that because the upgraded proprietary product does not link to Joomla itself the GPL demo does this linkage instead.

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Re: Why are 3PDs misleading us by saying Joomla has killed off commercial extens

Post by Geoff » Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:07 am

You have some great ideas.
. Require a license key for support. 
Or don't allow registrations to the forums unless the person paid? Pretty much the same thing. No support unless you pay. No manuals, no help desk, etc.
. Nothing says you need to make the download link available to the public, only that you must distribute the source to anyone whom you've distributed your binary to. With the encryption piece removed, its the same thing.
Read somewhere that if you print the code and the mail it, you can charge for shipping/handling. Not sure where. Probably one of the posts on here or JCD-A.
. Offer customization services on a consulting basis. I contracted for a while with a shopping cart vendor who made 90% of their money on this. Who better to customize the software than the author?
or have several sets of files
-free version (stripped down, basic features)
-paying customer
---wants to add feature XYZ in from a list of customizations available
---you could already have these customizations made and encrypted, and upload them to the paying customer server. thus, you are doing customization work. the customization work might be the same for a bunch of people, but it is customization.
---it's pretty much patching files

edit: should have read Asphynx's post
same idea
NOW...For a fee the Developer would offer an upgraded version that would replace some key files that do not operate or interface with Joomla in any way. They simply use the files that came with the GPLed version to call to Joomla (this is the bridge method taked about in many ways and variations on these boards before.)
That upgrade could be released and distributed under just about any license the developer wanted because it is a derivative of their own GPL program not someone else's.
. Offer hosted solutions. No distribution = no source obligation, at least with GPL2.
Good idea but I don't like the idea of hosted solutions. If the server goes down, the client is in trouble.
Backup, backup, backup!
The "Master" .htacess file by Nicholas http://snipt.net/nikosdion/the-master-htaccess

 

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