Would it be a big deal to change to a LGPL licence?

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Would it be a big deal to change to a LGPL licence?

Post by jk1 » Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:03 am

Hello,

I just wonder if it would be a big deal to distribute Joomla under an LGPL license which would allow commercial extensions. If it is possible for the Joomla core team to eliminate ALL old Mambo (GPL) code from future versions of Joomla, I think this would be a solution that would make everybody happy again.  ;)

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Last edited by jk1 on Fri Jun 22, 2007 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 
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Re: Would it be a big deal to change to a LGPL licence?

Post by severdia » Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:36 am

Yes, I think this would be a somewhat satisfactory adjustment for 3PDs. This would allow them to use the Joomla fork & exec without violating the license.
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Re: Would it be a big deal to change to a LGPL licence?

Post by louis.landry » Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:31 am

jk1 wrote: Hello,

I just wonder if it would be a big deal to distribute Joomla under an LGPL license which would allow commercial extensions. If it is possible for the Joomla core team to eliminate ALL old Mambo (GPL) code from future versions of Joomla, I think this would be a solution that would make everybody happy again.  ;)

Joerg
Commercial extensions are not prohibited by the GPL, the part that likely makes you think they are not is the part that says derivative works must be licensed under a GNU GPL compatible license.  While this is true, it says nothing about the fact that extensions cannot be commercial.  They just must by licensed in a compatible way.

As for distributing Joomla! under the LGPL, we believe that the GPL is the best license for the Joomla! CMS ... it has always served us well and is the very reason that we are all here discussing it.  Eliminating all old Mambo code and derivative code is a goal, but not for that reason, more for the reason of getting everything all neat and tidy according to the new vision of the code base.

That Mambo code base was has served us all as Mambo and as Joomla! very well.  It is the reason for us all being here and has provided the basis for all of the success and diversity of our community.  It has been the cornerstone of our growth and popularity.  It has been a revolution of sorts for the web and enabled people in every walk of life to make a difference in their own way.  You know what else its been?  GPL.

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Last edited by louis.landry on Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Would it be a big deal to change to a LGPL licence?

Post by severdia » Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:53 am

louis.landry wrote: Commercial extensions are not prohibited by the GPL, the part that likely makes you think they are not is the part that says derivative works must be licensed under a GNU GPL compatible license.  While this is true, it says nothing about the fact that extensions cannot be commercial.  They just must by licensed in a compatible way.
True. But when commercial extensions access parts of Joomla, they violate the GPL. These parts of Joomla are integral aspects of how most extensions work. They would have to be rewritten to have *less* (and possibly inferior) functionality/interaction with Joomla in order to comply. Extensions that use the Joomla content structure would be most affected by this, which is a shame for extensions like jReviews.
louis.landry wrote: As for distributing Joomla! under the LGPL, we believe that the GPL is the best license for the Joomla! CMS ... it has always served us well and is the very reason that we are all here discussing it. 
The only difference between the GPL and the LGPL is the 3PD access to fork and exec. Why can't that aspect be given up for the sake of Joomla (commercial & non-commercial) moving forward? This may have been answered somewhere else and I missed it. There's been so much discussion on this whole topic! :)
louis.landry wrote: Eliminating all old Mambo code and derivative code is a goal, but not for that reason, more for the reason of getting everything all neat and tidy according to the new vision of the code base.
This is great, but isn't this separate from the issue of future licensing?
louis.landry wrote: That Mambo code base was has served us all as Mambo and as Joomla! very well.  It is the reason for us all being here and has provided the basis for all of the success and diversity of our community.  It has been the cornerstone of our growth and popularity.  It has been a revolution of sorts for the web and enabled people in every walk of life to make a difference in their own way.  You know what else its been?  GPL.
True. GPL is a great "fosterer" (is that a word?) of development & innovation when used properly. But even they admit on their own website when it's going to hinder progress and be detrimental.
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Re: Would it be a big deal to change to a LGPL licence?

Post by mcsmom » Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:17 am

Commercial extensions can access Joomla! without any problem IF they are licensed under GNU GPL or a compatible license. Extensions that are also proprietary in some way (or that are incompatible with gpl) are what would violate the GPL.
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Re: Would it be a big deal to change to a LGPL licence?

Post by louis.landry » Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:22 am

severdia wrote:
louis.landry wrote: Commercial extensions are not prohibited by the GPL, the part that likely makes you think they are not is the part that says derivative works must be licensed under a GNU GPL compatible license.  While this is true, it says nothing about the fact that extensions cannot be commercial.  They just must by licensed in a compatible way.
True. But when commercial extensions access parts of Joomla, they violate the GPL. These parts of Joomla are integral aspects of how most extensions work. They would have to be rewritten to have *less* (and possibly inferior) functionality/interaction with Joomla in order to comply. Extensions that use the Joomla content structure would be most affected by this, which is a shame for extensions like jReviews.
You mean to say proprietary, not commercial.  One can provide commercial extensions and be GPL compliant.  The GPL is not the antithesis of commerce even though some would like to make everyone believe that.  The GPL is also not violated by the interaction or use, it is violated by the distribution of the non-compliant derived work.  The violation is by the person distributing the work and that person only, not the end user.
severdia wrote:
louis.landry wrote: As for distributing Joomla! under the LGPL, we believe that the GPL is the best license for the Joomla! CMS ... it has always served us well and is the very reason that we are all here discussing it. 
The only difference between the GPL and the LGPL is the 3PD access to fork and exec. Why can't that aspect be given up for the sake of Joomla (commercial & non-commercial) moving forward? This may have been answered somewhere else and I missed it. There's been so much discussion on this whole topic! :)
That is not the only difference.  It is not a matter of giving something up or not either.  We have always been GPL and we believe that it is the best license for the CMS.  Again though, we aren't talking about commercial / non-commercial -- we are talking about free / proprietary.  That is the distinction that the GPL makes. 
severdia wrote:
louis.landry wrote: Eliminating all old Mambo code and derivative code is a goal, but not for that reason, more for the reason of getting everything all neat and tidy according to the new vision of the code base.
This is great, but isn't this separate from the issue of future licensing?
Yep
severdia wrote:
louis.landry wrote: That Mambo code base was has served us all as Mambo and as Joomla! very well.  It is the reason for us all being here and has provided the basis for all of the success and diversity of our community.  It has been the cornerstone of our growth and popularity.  It has been a revolution of sorts for the web and enabled people in every walk of life to make a difference in their own way.  You know what else its been?  GPL.
True. GPL is a great "fosterer" (is that a word?) of development & innovation when used properly. But even they admit on their own website when it's going to hinder progress and be detrimental.
By "they" I assume you are talking about the FSF?  I'd love to read text on the FSF's website where they claim that the GPL states that it is going to hinder progress and be detrimental.  Thus far I don't believe the GPL has hindered the Joomla! project or been detrimental, it has in fact allowed us to exist and done nothing to stifle innovation or progress along the way.  The GPL has been our license ... it has worked effectively for us since way back before installable extensions even existed for Mambo.

The notion that somehow the project has "outgrown" the GPL is silly in my opinion.  There seems to be an awful lot of people saying "its my way or the highway" and while I can appreciate someone who makes a stand on something they believe in, we are in no way obligated to change our license because of that sort of stance.

We are a free software project ... by free we mean free as in freedom.  We believe in it.  It isn't just me, it isn't just any of us, it is all of us.  If you don't believe in that definition of free software that is your right, but while we are the ones building, documenting, supporting and maintaining the Joomla! project we have the right to pursue whatever licensing we wish within the confines of the law.  In this case we didn't even have to pursue anything and try to track down all the copyright holders that have contributed code to the code base because in the end we just reaffirmed what everyone has worked on Joomla! and Mambo before it understood: Joomla! is GPL.

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Re: Would it be a big deal to change to a LGPL licence?

Post by severdia » Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:52 am

louis.landry wrote: You mean to say proprietary, not commercial.  One can provide commercial extensions and be GPL compliant.  The GPL is not the antithesis of commerce even though some would like to make everyone believe that.  The GPL is also not violated by the interaction or use, it is violated by the distribution of the non-compliant derived work.  The violation is by the person distributing the work and that person only, not the end user.
Yes, sorry. I should make that distinction. There's been so much generalizing about 3PDs that "commercial" and "proprietary" are being used almost synonymously.
severdia wrote:
louis.landry wrote: That Mambo code base was has served us all as Mambo and as Joomla! very well.  It is the reason for us all being here and has provided the basis for all of the success and diversity of our community.  It has been the cornerstone of our growth and popularity.  It has been a revolution of sorts for the web and enabled people in every walk of life to make a difference in their own way.  You know what else its been?  GPL.
True. GPL is a great "fosterer" (is that a word?) of development & innovation when used properly. But even they admit on their own website when it's going to hinder progress and be detrimental.
louis.landry wrote: By "they" I assume you are talking about the FSF?  I'd love to read text on the FSF's website where they claim that the GPL states that it is going to hinder progress and be detrimental.  Thus far I don't believe the GPL has hindered the Joomla! project or been detrimental, it has in fact allowed us to exist and done nothing to stifle innovation or progress along the way.  The GPL has been our license ... it has worked effectively for us since way back before installable extensions even existed for Mambo.
Actually "detrimental" was my wording (should have quoted it exactly, "not advantageous"). Here's the exact wording:

"Using the ordinary GPL is not advantageous for every library. There are reasons that can make it better to use the Library GPL in certain cases. The most common case is when a free library's features are readily available for proprietary software through other alternative libraries. In that case, the library cannot give free software any particular advantage, so it is better to use the Library GPL for that library."

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-not-lgpl.html

There was another example too and I'll look further to track that one down.
louis.landry wrote: The notion that somehow the project has "outgrown" the GPL is silly in my opinion.  There seems to be an awful lot of people saying "its my way or the highway" and while I can appreciate someone who makes a stand on something they believe in, we are in no way obligated to change our license because of that sort of stance.
I agree. But there are other reasons to consider it. But naturally, you guys have the final say, being the ones chiefly responsible for Joomla successes and/or failures.
louis.landry wrote: We are a free software project ... by free we mean free as in freedom.  We believe in it.  It isn't just me, it isn't just any of us, it is all of us.  If you don't believe in that definition of free software that is your right, but while we are the ones building, documenting, supporting and maintaining the Joomla! project we have the right to pursue whatever licensing we wish within the confines of the law.  In this case we didn't even have to pursue anything and try to track down all the copyright holders that have contributed code to the code base because in the end we just reaffirmed what everyone has worked on Joomla! and Mambo before it understood: Joomla! is GPL.

Louis
All very true. As someone who runs a Shakespeare website with all content covered under the GFDL (the equivalent of the GPL for text), I believe in "free". But a major part of the functionality I use on a daily basis is proprietary & commercial so I'm in the unique position of being stuck between both worlds.

But all that being said, I'd much rather you'd spend time answering my PM than my silly posts! :)
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Re: Would it be a big deal to change to a LGPL licence?

Post by jk1 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 6:51 pm

Two more questions:

Are there any disadvantages for Joomla and the developer team if Joomla 1.5 and later versions would use LGPL instead of GPL?

Can the program calls from 3rd party extensions (if this is technically correct - I'm not a programmer) be just defined as using a "free Joomla API" instead of categorizing extensions into derivative works and software which is not considered derivative works?

A "free API" could be used by any other software, commercial, proprietary or free, just like i.e. the free Microsoft Windows API allows every sort of additional software to run on Windows.

Joerg

 

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