Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license change

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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by masterchief » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:57 pm

instance wrote:5) GPL plus a provision that does nothing except, in certain circumstances, allows the work to be combined with other software programs or libraries as if it were released under the LGPL.

The circumstances under which such a license change might be invoked are not mentioned. I have no record of this, so it counts as hearsay, but here it is: at the time I asked "why are the LGPL and #5 in that list", and my recollection was the answer was "if it turns out we have a problem with the code being GPL, we want the ability to switch licenses, or to move fully or partially to the LGPL or the AGPL, but we would only do that if we're forced into it".
That provision was put in place specifically so that the Framework could be released under a LGPL license with a rider to state that when combined with the CMS, the license acts as GPL, but when combined with other software, it acts as LGPL.

My understanding now, however, is this is not necessary because you can promote LGPL code to GPL without consulting the author. But as the CMS already combines LGPL code, the provisions seems like a lot of work and potentially confusing explanation for no real benefit.

So we come back to the question of do we LGPL or don't we. It's either yes or no and the sooner we make that decision, the sooner we can work out what happens next.
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by instance » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:03 am

masterchief wrote:Repeating, please start your own lobby thread for this. The question is to LGPL or not LGPL. I suspect if you press OSM enough to vote "no", however, the problem will actually go away of its own accord you will get your wish.
In fairness, I'm just responding to a scenario you raised on this thread and the resulting implications you continue to bring up. I can't exactly rebut your points elsewhere.

Actually, the subject isn't "To LGPL or not to LGPL", it's feedback on the license change. I'm trying to find a compromise way forward instead of stubbornly repeating "no". I don't think that I should be censured just because it's a compromise that makes you uncomfortable.
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by AmyStephen » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:16 am

masterchief wrote:The decision was not intended to preclude, for example, an LGPL Framework.
Not only did it not preclude it but it provided for the LGPL framework.

From the FAQ - http://www.joomla.org/announcements/tea ... atter.html
What is the difference between the GPL and the LGPL?

The GNU GPL is intended to be used for applications whereas the GNU LGPL is intended to be used for application libraries. The Joomla! Content Management System is an entire application that utilizes a multitude of libraries, both GPL and LGPL, and thus is licensed under the GPL license.
Now, this is something maybe others can help find, but in this forum is a discussion between Louis and Johan where it was disclosed the intention was to split off the framework (platform) and license it LGPL. It was around the time of the "GPL Talks."

Breaking off the framework libraries has been in the roadmap since ancient times, as young Don likes to call it.

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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by AmyStephen » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:20 am

instance wrote:Actually, the subject isn't "To LGPL or not to LGPL"
Yes, it is actually exactly that and it's important to stay focused on that.

http://community.joomla.org/blogs/leade ... am+Blog%29
The board of directors of Open Source Matters (OSM) is requesting public feedback from our community members through March 6, 2014, regarding a potential license change for the Joomla! Framework from the GPL to the LGPL. This potential license change would only apply to the Joomla Framework, but not to the Joomla Content Management System (CMS).

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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by masterchief » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:28 am

instance wrote:In fairness, I'm just responding to a scenario you raised on this thread and the resulting implications you continue to bring up.
What can I say. I got distracted by my sense of wanting to make everyone happy. The reality is, however, not everyone is so let's stick with the main question. I totally, totally respect your view for the world to be pure GPL - I wish it were so but as you say, it's not practical. I think being dogmatic about the GPL but fracturing a not insignificant development resource in this project would be cutting off your nose to spite your face, but that's just me. Suffering a license change will do no harm to that average Joomla user (Joomla CMS is released GPL so there is no risk they will be caught up in a proprietary company going bust). Fracturing the project will directly impact on the Joomla CMS end user.
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by AmyStephen » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:34 am

Found it!

http://forum.joomla.org/index.php/topic ... #msg874511

Discussion where Louis and Johan talk about plans to uncouple the framework and release it LGPL. It's dated June 23 2007 which was a couple of weeks following the "Open Source Does Matter" piece to which Jenny was referring.
That would indeed be a possible option. For Joomla! 1.5 we have tried to achieve this by removing any none-LGPL external libraries, replacing them or recoding them in our own Joomla! framework. We have also requested developers to contribute their code for use in the framework under the LGPL license, this will allow OSM to license the framework under LGPL in the future if they would like to do so.

At the moment there is one major problem with this approach. There is still not enough clear seperation bewteen the framework part (the API's) and the CMS (Joomla!). While we tried, we have failed to achieve enough de-coupling between both for Joomla! 1.5. Our goal is to improve de-coupling in future releases and have a very clearly seperated framework, that hopefully for Joomla! 2.0 could be licensed as LGPL.

We are trying, we are just not there yet.

Johan
The purpose of making the libraries LGPL is not to change anything about the Joomla! CMS but allow the libraries/framework to live standalone in another context.

Louis

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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by vdrover » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:47 am

Amy, that's an incredible find, especially since a lot of the recent activity on the Framework has involved further decoupling.
masterchief wrote:
instance wrote:The best solution seems to be to allow Framework folks to form an independent project, and for Joomla to work closely together for a long time, sharing resources. It's not switching hats so much as it's adding another.
Repeating, please start your own lobby thread for this. The question is to LGPL or not LGPL.
I agree. And I am glad we are having a discussion about this topic. But at the end of the day — and speaking for myself only — I personally think the PLT has done the required due diligence and deserve a clean vote on their long pending request to OSM for the license change.

Wether or not there is a name change is an independent discussion — that is important regardless of the license — that to mind clouds the issue at hand: LGPL or no LGPL.
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by Jinx » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:03 am

masterchief wrote:Nic, the LGPL can't be pinned on the mission, but it is part of the history of the leaders and the co-founders dating back as early as 2007 as far as I can see. The intention of those leaders, and I am one, was that the Framework SHOULD be under the Joomla banner. I respect your right to hold a differing view, but it does not change the sentiment of the original founders, of which I am one. I do have the right to say this is what "we" as the founders intended. I can honestly say with great certainty that if we could have read this thread back in 2007, we would have moved mountains to make the Framework LGPL at that time.
The start of the project

The strategy in the early days of the project - when we could still feel the warm breath of Mambo in our neck - was to focus 100% on growth. To grow, our first priority was to convince extension developers (3PD, as we called them back then) to make the leap from Mambo to Joomla. Without extensions Joomla would be death in the water.

In the early days, especially commercial extension developers where hesitant to make the switch. Quite understandable. Mambo was providing them with a solid brand and market (and the ability to license their extensions in whatever way they saw fit), Joomla being the 'spork' was a gamble with a very uncertain outcome for most.

We had to find ways to convince them, and at the same time we had to find ways to move Joomla's feature set forward enough to show enough potential to attract users but still keep enough similarities with Mambo to not scare them. A very thin cord to balance on. We agreed that a KISS strategy would work best, and decided on the following goals (in order of priority) :

1. Focus on attracting developers and growing the extension base as quickly as possible.
2. Focus on broadening the Joomla user base by implementing Mambo's most requested feature : internationalisation

Our work on the re-architecture of Joomla 1.1 and later 1.5 was driven by these two goals : give extension developers a more robust and modularised code base to work with, and implemented UTF-8 throughout the core to make it fully internationalised.

Our first focus at that time never was to "create a separate framework under the Joomla banner". The ability to split the framework from the CMS was a potential result of our effort, not the reason for it. This was not a topic of discussion in 2005/2006. It became a topic of debate in 2007, but due to different reasons (see below). The announcements of Joomla 1.1 and Joomla 1.5 beta where all focussed on conveying the message for both goals :

"Yes, it's true. Joomla! 1.1 will provide an entry into a modern codeset allowing Object Orientated development, with inbuilt internationalisation (multi-lingual support), a refactored core and, FTP extension installation. Put simply, core restructuring and modernisation of code all built on a robust framework which allows the developer more power and flexibility with less effort."

and

"The end goal for 1.1 is to present a flexible and powerful core framework that is fully documented and sets a new standard for all future Joomla! development. We are very excited about the work done in the past 12 weeks and have received encouraging feedback from third party developers. Joomla! 1.1 has been built with 3PDs in mind from the beginning. This means there will be exciting times ahead for all users. Let's see what our fabulously creative 3PD community can make Joomla! 1.1 do!"

For reference :

- http://www.joomla.org/announcements/gen ... ement.html
- http://www.joomla.org/announcements/rel ... izon-.html

The core re-architecture was not the only steps we took towards our goal of attracting developers, we also build a developer portal (Feb 2006), launched the extension site (Mar 2006) and opened up Joomlacode.org (Mar 2007)

For reference :

- http://www.joomla.org/announcements/gen ... dards.html
- http://www.joomla.org/announcements/gen ... ement.html
- http://www.joomla.org/announcements/gen ... gears.html
- http://www.joomla.org/announcements/gen ... -ride.html


The big GPL debate

In May 2007 the GPL storm hit. During the weeks that followed one of the scenario's that was discussed inside the core team was to license the framework under LGPL to allow extension developers to continue using none GPL licenses for their extensions.
Together with the SFLC this option was seriously considered and investigated. It was concluded that still a too large portion of the framework codebase contained Miro/Mambo copyrights and was still to heavily coupled to the higher layers to allow for the framework to be considered a separate work and thus a relicense was not possible.

After weeks of community discussion and after the core team summit in 2007 we released our 'Opensource Does Matter' announcement re-affirming the project's legal position on the GPL http://www.joomla.org/announcements/tea ... atter.html

Ryan, who later became OSM president, was invited by the core team as a community representative to follow the summit discussions on the GPL, he wrote two great posts about the process and outcome on his personal blog.

- http://blog.picnet.net/2007/06/14/jooml ... r-the-gpl/
- http://blog.picnet.net/2007/06/14/jooml ... d-the-gpl/

I'm not certain that if a relicense to the LGPL would have been possible we would have done it, or I would have supported it. All I can say that we investigated it. Personally I have always been a proponent of the everything is (inbound == outbound) GPL approach we used for Joomla 1.5. It's simple, clear, allows code to flow between extensions and core and back, without explicit consent and doesn't require any signing of documents.

I can also say that in the period of May - Sept 2007 all communication regarding license issues and GPL from core team members was always the opinion of the team as a whole never of the individual, all of our replies regarding GPL and license questions where double checked with the SFLC to make 100% sure the information was correct.

My reply on the forums on June 23, 2007 (http://forum.joomla.org/index.php/topic ... ml#p874511) should be placed in this historical context, nothing more.

Personal opinion

I have been asked privately in the past few days for my opinion on the matter of relicensing the framework to LGPL. First of all, I know from first hand experience how hard and personally demanding discussions like this can be and how easily they get sidetracked.

Choosing a license for your code is one of the hardest things for a developer. Unilke code, their are no unit tests to run on license issues. Once a license is chosen, it's set in stone and very hard to change.

I appreciate OSM's request for feedback. I do however understand and respect that OSM holds full copyright on the Joomla Framework (assuming all contributors have signed the JCA) and according to this agreement is allowed to make any of the Joomla code available under the licenses listed in the agreement.

Joomla was founded in the spirit of "Liberté, égalité, fraternité", or openness, open standards, and open source. I entrust and respect that the OSM board, being the elected representatives of the Joomla community, will acted in the best interest of the community and especially those of the Joomla Framework contributors.

I will respect OSM decision in this matter, even if I might disagree with it.

A personal request

For all of you who are involved in this thread and wider community discussion. Please consider the well being of your community peers and respect the merit of those people who's work you are allowed to use freely and build upon for the benefit of all.

We are all on the same side, we just sometimes draw the lines differently. Respect is understanding these differences but moving together as community, united by the core goal of freedom and openness. (http://openrespect.org/)

Happy coding!

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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by piotr_cz » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:43 am

From what I understand now: when my competition finds out I'm using Joomla Framework with GPL license for building web apps for clients, they can just ask for the source code (that has to be GPL too) and I'm obliged to happily provide.

Is that so?

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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by brian » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:50 am

No thats not correct. The GPL licence ONLY requires you to supply the source code to the people that you supply the code to.
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by masterchief » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:58 am

piotr_cz wrote:From what I understand now: when my competition finds out I'm using Joomla Framework with GPL license for building web apps for clients, they can just ask for the source code (that has to be GPL too) and I'm obliged to happily provide.

Is that so?
No. Just because you distribute to one person (your client) does not mean another person (your competitor) can just ask you for your code. The same would apply for the LGPL. The AGPL is different, but I would avoid using that license at all costs.
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by piotr_cz » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:06 am

Brian, Andrew > Thanks for clarification.

I got confused by this part in here http://ctankersley.com/2014/02/24/licensing-is-hard/

Code: Select all

If I make a CMS based on the Joomla Framework and distribute it, I’m not allowed to stop anyone from asking for the source code and modifying it.

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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by Bakual » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:08 am

Brian and Andrew are right.
However it's worth noting that if you give your app to someone (including the source code), that one is allowed to redistribute it himself under GPL.
That means if you for example sell your awesome app built on the Joomla Framework to a customer, he is allowed to resell or even give it for free to anyone. As long as he also provides the source code.
That applies to customers (who may pay you) as well as to extern people who may for example review your app (which you may pay for their service).
Everyone who receives a copy of your app is free to redistribute it.

If the framework would become LGPL, then the app itself could have a different license. However the framework itself would still have to be LGPL.

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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by masterchief » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:11 am

piotr_cz wrote:I got confused by this part in here http://ctankersley.com/2014/02/24/licensing-is-hard/

Code: Select all

If I make a CMS based on the Joomla Framework and distribute it, I’m not allowed to stop anyone from asking for the source code and modifying it.
It would read better if it said:
If I make a CMS based on the Joomla Framework and distribute it, I’m not allowed to stop the person I distributed it to from asking for the source code and modifying it.
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by Radek Suski » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:32 pm

master chief wrote:But the extension itself MUST be licensed as GPL for it to be compatible with the Joomla CMS and listed on the JED.
This is what I meant with my statement. Sorry for the confusion :-[
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by spignataro » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:50 pm

Why not just dual license the framework? Example would be mysql: http://www.mysql.com/about/legal/licensing/oem/
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by Webdongle » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:03 pm

It appears to me that some devs are forgetting the symbiotic relationship between themselves and users who contribute. If Joomla replaces the GPL with LGPL then you will have a 2(or more) tiered Joomla with a free version which will be a poor relative of commercial Joomla distros.

Joomla has survived because of the interaction between devs and hobbyists. If LGPL is introduced then the hobbyists will not stand for it. They will look elsewhere for for a system where the devs appreciate the effort put in by testers and the community. The devs that push for separate commercial interests with Joomla will then be left without support and the cost of developing and testing their individual projects will increase.

I would suggest that all the people who do not wish to continue with this symbiotic relationship leave. If you don't you will kill the goose that lays the golden egg. The only ones that will loose out are you because devs and hobbyist that understand the symbiotic will find another project to support.
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by lobos » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:09 pm

Bakual wrote:Brian and Andrew are right.
However it's worth noting that if you give your app to someone (including the source code), that one is allowed to redistribute it himself under GPL.
That means if you for example sell your awesome app built on the Joomla Framework to a customer, he is allowed to resell or even give it for free to anyone. As long as he also provides the source code.
That applies to customers (who may pay you) as well as to extern people who may for example review your app (which you may pay for their service).
Everyone who receives a copy of your app is free to redistribute it.

If the framework would become LGPL, then the app itself could have a different license. However the framework itself would still have to be LGPL.
Disclaimer: I am just replying to Bakual, not trying to derail the thread.

Yes and no, these days you can get around this by split licensing. For example I could build a really nice CMS on top of the FW with a proprietary UI and then state that the receiver can only redistribute the PHP code. The Javascript / CSS running the UI can be licensed differently.

The thing is that if the FW is very well made (which it is) the real value is with the UI not with the method calls that are used to construct the backend MVC of the app, this is really just a set of instructions and will likely end up automated. The main contribution is really via the way the data is displayed and the functionality is accessed, the presentation layer if you will.

This separation of licensing to me is probably the biggest threat facing free software at this time, especially in regards to GPL type PHP web applications / CMS. Users like pretty UI, this is made evident by the huge market for templates that we currently see. Lets look at this scenario:

Little Bob creates an awesome app with the FW, the trouble is that little Bob is a coder not a designer. Now Johnny designer comes along and creates a beautiful UI for Bob's app because, frankly, the UI for little Bob's app sucks. Everyone loves a pretty UI so all the users start to flock to get Johnny's version...

Now the premise of Software Freedom is that Bob should be able to benefit from Johnny's work just as Johnny is benefiting from Bob's work, symbiotic relationship... but wait Johnny has decided to License his UI restrictively, ie not allowing the distribution of Javascript and CSS used to create the UI, in effect he the relationship has become parasitic! Johnny gets all the benefits of Bob's work but Bob gets no benefit from Johnny's work.

The users don't care about all this they just want the nice UI, so in end Bob gets shafted and Johnny becomes successful.

This is why the GPL license is a fail for web applications, especially PHP web applications. GPL, LGPL it makes no difference, if a big company wants to take and not give back you are not going to stop them. This loophole demonstrates that for the GPL to work with web applications it needs to cover the application as a whole, not just the backend PHP parts. As it is with Joomla the GPL is only being used to license a part of the CMS not it's entirety, not the "whole".

I believe the GPL attempts to cover this, but the ambiguity is frightful.
These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.[/quote]
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by lobos » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:10 pm

Webdongle: read above, GPL or LGPL it doesn't matter.
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by Bakual » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:16 pm

Kevin. Changing the license of the "Joomla Framework" (http://framework.joomla.org/) will not change the licence of "Joomla the CMS" at all. The CMS will always stay GPL and thus also the extensions.

You can't build a Joomla extension based on purely the framework. Even if we end up including the whole framework in the future, you still will need the GPL licenced CMS and thus the extension will have to be GPL.

This licence change would only affects applications like JIssues (http://issues.joomla.org) which are built on the framework without any CMS code at all.

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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by dilbert4life » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:17 pm

Webdongle wrote:It appears to me that some devs are forgetting the symbiotic relationship between themselves and users who contribute. If Joomla replaces the GPL with LGPL then you will have a 2(or more) tiered Joomla with a free version which will be a poor relative of commercial Joomla distros.

Joomla has survived because of the interaction between devs and hobbyists. If LGPL is introduced then the hobbyists will not stand for it. They will look elsewhere for for a system where the devs appreciate the effort put in by testers and the community. The devs that push for separate commercial interests with Joomla will then be left without support and the cost of developing and testing their individual projects will increase.

I would suggest that all the people who do not wish to continue with this symbiotic relationship leave. If you don't you will kill the goose that lays the golden egg. The only ones that will loose out are you because devs and hobbyist that understand the symbiotic will find another project to support.
You seem to have an extremely unfortunate misunderstanding of the facts. None of what you said is true, not one iota, as it's based entirely on a false assumption.

Joomla already uses 3rd party code under the LGPL. So LGPL has been "introduced". The Joomla! Framework is exactly that, a 3rd party vendor of code. When taken with the CMS, it is, like all other GPL compliant code that the CMS uses, under the GPL. In addition to that, the request in question is for the LGPL-ing of the Joomla! Framework, not the CMS. It is my belief, and the belief of everyone that is supporting the move to LGPL, that the correct license for the CMS is and forever will remain the GPL.

I hope that helps you better understand the truth of the situation, and that you can now better see and understand the relationship between the projects.
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by Torettox84 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:33 pm

Webdongle wrote:It appears to me that some devs are forgetting the symbiotic relationship between themselves and users who contribute. If Joomla replaces the GPL with LGPL then you will have a 2(or more) tiered Joomla with a free version which will be a poor relative of commercial Joomla distros.
Not really, what we'd end up with is:

- Joomla CMS (GPL licensed)
- Joomla Framework (LGPL licensed)

Your hypothetical commercial distros build on the Framework (or the CMS) can already be built, by the way. ;-)

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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by Webdongle » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:48 pm

dilbert4life wrote:...
You seem to have an extremely unfortunate misunderstanding of the facts. None of what you said is true, not one iota, as it's based entirely on a false assumption.....
In addition to that, the request in question is for the LGPL-ing of the Joomla! Framework, not the CMS. ...
There are a lot of users who are disgruntled by the way Joomla is heading the symbiotic relationship is breaking down because of a handful of devs who appear to be ignoring the importance of the non devs. If that attitude is allowed to persist then it will result in many users (and) devs walking away. A lot of professionals who once used Joomla are moving to other platforms. If the Framework is made LGPL and is completely decoupled from the CMS ... then what do you think will happen ? Do you really think that the hobbyists will continue to help test and debug then ?

Joomla does not just belong to the dev's but some of them act like it does. And that attitude is crippling the community and will eventually kill the goose that lays the golden egg. There has to be a balance but that balance is not there any more and too much commercialism is starting to creep in. That can be seen in many aspects of Joomla. There is a place for commercialism yes but too much and it will end the project because it will loose the the support of the community.
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by brian » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:50 pm

Please don't confuse commercial and proprietary software they are two different beasts
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by mbabker » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:56 pm

Webdongle wrote:If the Framework is made LGPL and is completely decoupled from the CMS ... then what do you think will happen ? Do you really think that the hobbyists will continue to help test and debug then ?
The Framework is aimed at a higher level person than the CMS. Hobbyists without development experience would still be welcome and able to contribute to the CMS, the same as today. That same hobbyist probably wouldn't do so for the Framework given the developer oriented target audience of that code.

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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by BenTasker » Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:46 pm

That same hobbyist probably wouldn't do so for the Framework given the developer oriented target audience of that code.
A lot of hobbyists are still likely to want to use a framework if they're planning on developing (or trying to develop) something. Whilst experienced developers may be the target audience, I'm pretty sure they aren't the only users.

Your hypothetical commercial distros build on the Framework (or the CMS) can already be built, by the way. ;-)
True, but (assuming they're keeping to the license) they have to make their source available to anyone they distribute it to, meaning patches can find their way back.

LGPL requires the same if you modify the code-base sure, but as the code doesn't have to be distributed by default, how would we know?

Personally, I'm against changing to the LGPL because I just don't see that the suggested benefits are particularly likely. Yes the framework is good, but IMO it's far surpassed by some of the competition. The only reason I use it when I do, is because I'm familiar with it. Not to detract from the sterling work done on the Framework by various devs, it's just that the framework hasn't traditionally been the project's primary focus.

There are a lot of users who are disgruntled by the way Joomla is heading the symbiotic relationship is breaking down because of a handful of devs who appear to be ignoring the importance of the non devs.
Personally, I take real issue with the way that some of the 'facts' were put forward earlier in this thread. IMHO there was a real arrogance in stating that 75% of contributors supported the change simply because they'd signed the JCA. A less inflammatory statement would have been to say that 75% of contributors had signed the JCA which allowed for the change - implying support from parties who haven't even been asked isn't OK.

That said, it's not that I can't see the reasons for wanting to change, it's just I personally don't think the impact will be as big as stated.

Joomla already uses 3rd party code under the LGPL. So LGPL has been "introduced". The Joomla! Framework is exactly that, a 3rd party vendor of code.
But it's not the Joomla community supporting those other libraries is it (the odd contributor aside, obviously). I think the point being made is, that as a community we put effort into Framework and the CMS. Licensing the framework under LGPL would allow proprietary vendors to include the community's work into their products - I say the communities work, because as others have pointed out, it's not just the devs that work on these things. Tester's identify issues in your new functionality (yes, I know I hate testers too ;) ), others document it, or proof-read the documentation you've put together. Even down to the basic feature requests, it's a community effort from start to finish.

Anyway </soapbox>
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by nikosdion » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:31 pm

Sorry in advance for the long post. TL;DR: Skip to the last 2 paragraphs if you don't want to read my entire ramblings...

I think we're confusing a few things. I had this conversation off the forum earlier today and I saw some misconceptions regarding GPL/LGPL and what it means for SaaS, distributable applications and end users.

Both GPL and LGPL require you to provide your modified copies of the Framework code under the same license or (optionally for LGPL) as pure GPL. So, if someone makes a modification to the Framework they are required to share it back with the Framework community no matter if the license switch takes place or not.

Both GPL and LGPL allow developers to create SaaS (Software as a Service) or write proprietary (for a fee or pro bono – price is NOT the issue) applications for their clients WITHOUT being obliged to license their code as (L)GPL. Yes, even GPL. As long as you don't convey the software to someone who's not your boss or your subcontractor you can keep it proprietary. Wall Street trading companies have been doing this for years, sometimes with strange effects (case in point: http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2013 ... programmer)

The main difference between GPL and LGPL is what happens with code that interfaces the Framework and has to be distributed to other entities (end users). I will use the term "conveyed software" to save myself a lot of keystrokes, OK?

Under GPL any conveyed software using the Framework must be licensed under GPL. This means that the end users have the legal right to modify it or reuse it as they fit. The Framework can take any part of such conveyed work and put it into the Framework itself. If a vendor tries to close source or deny the end users' rights OSM has the right to sue them for copyright infringement. The vendor cannot sue OSM for copyright infringement for using parts or the whole of the conveyed software in the Framework.

Under LGPL we have three cases:
A - Changes to the Framework itself must be licensed as LGPL, period.
B - Additions to the Framework (as in: new classes) can be licensed under whatever license the vendor chooses per section 7 of LGPLv2.1
C - Conveyed software can be licensed under whatever license the vendor chooses per section 5 of LGPLv2.1. The Framework itself, however, remains LGPL and the vendor MUST provide the Framework's source code when asked

I personally have a problem with cases B and C. In case B, as long as the vendor can prove that their code can work separately from the Framework, they are not required to share their code back with the Framework. For example, if they write a new class which allows the GitHub package to do commits (silly example, bear with me) they can choose to put it under a proprietary license. If the Framework then adds similar code it may or may not be possible for the vendor to sue OSM for copyright infringement. I am not sure about that, because unlike GPL it has never been tested in court and nobody knows the outcome. Yes, I know, this is speculative. It's as speculative as inferring that Framework switching to LGPL will yield the same results as VideoLAN's license switch, considering that it's a different market, a different language and a different link environment (3PDs link to the object file, not the source, in VideoLAN's case).

Case C is what disturbs me the most. By putting the Framework under the LGPL license we facilitate vendor lock-in. Anyone using the Framework can create a proprietary application. They are legally entitled to preventing their users from modifying the source code under heavy penalties. If you're an end user of this application and you spot a bug you don't have the right to fix it. The vendor must fix it, for a fee. If you are missing a feature that's trivial to develop using a cheap subcontractor you can't, the vendor must do it for whatever fee they want, whenever they feel like it. If the vendor is bought out, disappears, becomes insolvent or simply discontinues the product you're screwed. Even if they don't, they can charge you for updates. If you've ever worked in a company's IT department this sounds very familiar: ERPs and CRMs are like that. The thing is, with LGPL we are facilitating that, whereas with GPL we prevent that.

The Joomla! mission statement (http://www.joomla.org/about-joomla/the- ... alues.html) you keep on referring to spells this out "A project that is socially responsible". And I quote from that page:
The words "socially responsible" echo Google's mantra "do no evil." Society could mean just "the community," but it could also refer to society in general.

The responsibility can be negative, meaning that there is a responsibility to refrain from acting, or it can be positive, meaning that there is a responsibility to take action.
How are we socially responsible when we facilitate vendor lock-in which comes in direct contrast with the end-users' (the society's) best interests? Does our social responsibility ends at the developer? This sounds grossly hypocritical considering that the first core value in the same mission statement is Freedom which is explained as:
"Freedom" was chosen as our topmost value for many reasons. We want to give people the freedom to build Web sites with which to publish their ideas. We want to give people the freedom to collaborate with others in their own language. And we want to give people the freedom to use, copy, modify, and distribute the code and protect those freedoms using the GNU/GPL. We also want to provide people with the freedom to be a part of the community and to participate in the future development of the project.
With the LGPL we will be letting the immediate users of the Framework to take away the Freedom of the end-users, making us socially irresponsible.

Finally, we should accept that the choice of a software license is NOT a question of utility. It is a question of philosophy. The question of utility is a simple one, summed up as "how can we make the most developers use this Framework of ours?". If that's the only problem you want to solve, publish it under WTFPL and throw the mission statement to the rubbish bin. Clearly, Joomla! isn't here to answer the question of utility as a standalone issue. Its mission statement gives a clear indication of its philosophy: empowering users, being socially responsible. You can't keep on referring to the mission statement as the source of the authority to switch to LGPL when the LGPL can work against the core values enumerated in the mission statement.

On the other hand I do, I really do, understand the motivation behind the license change. It's a tough world out there and the other FOSS PHP frameworks have put developers' freedom above end-users' freedom. The Joomla! Framework can either be the idealist minority or make some discounts in its philosophy around ethics and license itself under LGPL or MIT or whatever permissive license. My personal objection is that this undermines Joomla!'s (the project's and the CMS') mission statement. The CMS and the project CAN afford to be the idealists because they thrive in a world populated by idealists, pure (as we are) or reluctant (as in some other FOSS CMS which I won't name – you know what I mean).

For these reasons I believe that the stakes of this discussion should not be whether the Framework should switch its license, but how this can happen without betraying the core values of the Joomla! project and without raising questions about the Joomla! brand. Others have already proposed an elegant solution: a name change. The renamed Framework would still fly its flag under the OSM banner. It would be the pragmatist of the OSM family whereas Joomla! would remain its idealist brother. There would also be further advantages to that, like the removal of the "amateur stigma" the Joomla! brand carries among PHP developers. Brian Teeman, being a native English speaker, has put this far more eloquently than I ever can in his blog. I do not understand why Andrew sees this as an eviction. It's anything but. If you want a housing metaphor, it's more liking politely asking you to go to the office room next door instead of trying to convince us hippies to get down to business and stop singing and making love, not war. We can all live together under the same roof, not necessarily inside the same room. Some hippies will come to work a shift in the office and some business people will come to chill out in the hippie space and this will happen all the time. Some others will only stick to their designated space. I still don't see any problem with that. On the contrary, it will benefit us all.
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by dilbert4life » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:47 pm

Ben:
BenTasker wrote:LGPL requires the same if you modify the code-base sure, but as the code doesn't have to be distributed by default, how would we know?
The GPL doesn't require distribution either.
BenTasker wrote:IMHO there was a real arrogance in stating that 75% of contributors supported the change simply because they'd signed the JCA. A less inflammatory statement would have been to say that 75% of contributors had signed the JCA which allowed for the change - implying support from parties who haven't even been asked isn't OK.
If I had more time and resources, I could have asked everyone who contributed if they support the change. I didn't ask anyone who had signed the JCA, since they already approve of the change with their signature. If you want a more thorough review of contributors that would actually welcome and consciously approve of the change to LGPL, maybe you could volunteer some of your time?

====

Nic:
I agree with your sentiment in an ideal world. You make very good points. However, I disagree on parts as well. With today's broad availability of alternative libraries offering similar functionality to the Framework, offering the Framework as LGPL does no more to enable vendor-lock in as if it were to stay GPL. If it's GPL, the vendors will just use something with a more permissive license. If it's LGPL, they may use the Framework and they may contribute back. As for point B, where they may make their contributions available under a different license assuming it's new code added by them (as opposed to modified code), I would say the Framework team just won't accept the PR into the Framework. If it's a needed change, we'll find a way to code it ourselves, apart from their submission. Additionally, we'll probably have a CLA for the Framework that restricts what license contributed code must be under.
nikosdion wrote:Others have already proposed an elegant solution: a name change. The renamed Framework would still fly its flag under the OSM banner.
While this is the most probably outcome, that's a mighty big assumption, Nic. If the Framework must be under a different name, why would it or even should it stay under OSM? There's more than a handful of issues with that approach, not the least of which would be the requirement of OSM to pay to register a new TM and defend it.
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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by Robert_Vining » Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:01 pm

We need to remember, the Joomla Framework does not currently power the Joomla CMS. The original iteration of the Joomla Framework (known as the Joomla Platform) was merged back into the Joomla CMS repository almost a year ago and is under full control, and GPL license, of the Joomla CMS.

The Joomla Framework today is a slimmed down version of the Platform, with all Joomla CMS related code stripped out of it to stand alone as it's own Framework. One day, possibly in Joomla 4 or Joomla 5, then the CMS might be able to catch up to the structure of the Framework and very well may be able to use the Framework as it's base.

But today, The Joomla Framework is built with newer coding standards than the Joomla CMS uses, so therefore, the discussion of Joomla CMS being directly affected by the Framework being licensed LGPL is not a valid argument at this point in time. If it does power the CMS in the future, the CMS is still licensed GPL and nothing changes for the CMS at that time either.

In my opinion, the Framework has allowed Joomla developers to blaze a path to newer coding standards, which have already trickled back into the CMS slowly, as they are able to. We have to walk a very thin line to keep all current users happy with backwards compatibility, while still trying to keep up with the blazing fast speed of code development standards in the greater PHP world. With a license change to LGPL, that very same Framework could be distributed more easily by the growing population of PHP application developers through channels such as Packagist and Composer that have grown very popular over the last few years.

As was mentioned above, our very own Joomla Issue Tracker (which has been built over the past 18 months or so by a great team of Joomla community volunteers lead by Michael Babker) is powered by the Joomla Framework, so it's a valid point to keep the Joomla Framework 'in-house' and not try to push it out because the general user base of the CMS doesn't feel they want or need the framework. Other parts of the project already use it.

I think the Joomla Framework, the Joomla Issue Tracker and the Joomla CMS only make our brand stronger all around, much like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and others make the Adobe brand stronger.

Allowing the Framework to utilize a more open license will allow it to compete with other Frameworks in the marketplace. No matter if they have a head start or not.

+1 to allow the Joomla Framework to license LGPL

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Re: Feedback on potential Joomla! Framework LGPL license cha

Post by nikosdion » Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:02 pm

Don, in the last two paragraphs I explained the difference between idealist and pragmatist. In the final paragraph I explained why the name change would resolve the conflict.

You also misunderstood point B. Quite obviously the PR by a vendor MUST be whatever-license-you-are-currently-using or it can't be accepted. That's not what I was saying. The idea is that Evil Vendor creates the entirely new Feature X and keeps it to himself. No sharing. Then you come along and think "uh, nice feature, let me implement it in the Framework". If Evil Vendor sees enough semblance in your code (because, sometimes, there's only two or three good ways to write a new feature) they might come suing OSM. Did I say it's speculative? I did :)

> If the Framework must be under a different name, why would it or even should it stay under OSM?

Some obvious reasons:
- Access to OSM's budget for trademark protection / legal advice
- Facilitate the cross-pollination between the idealist Joomla! and the pragmatist Framework

> There's more than a handful of issues with that approach, not the least of which would be the requirement of OSM to pay to register a new TM and defend it.

Of course there are issues! There are bigger issues if you stick with GPL, there are also issues if you switch to LGPL, there are even more issues if you split from OSM. There is no easy path ahead. I believe that the road with the least amount of pain is the name change. OSM has the resources, financial and legal, to go through with this process. If you stick with the GPL you have the adoption problem. If you unilaterally switch to LGPL despite all the pushback you alienate the community and that's on you. If you fork you're required to go through the trademark process yourself while at the same time carrying the stigma of Those Evil People Who Forked. I don't see any easy solutions there. Do you?
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