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Tuesday 16 October 2012 12:05:14 pm - 11 replies

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Introduction

Thank you all for your contributions and feedback related to the recently launched "Copy Left" initiative. It inspired me to create some clarity of eZ´s future direction and where you as members of the Community - as an essential part of eZ´s eco system - fit in. To understand this, let me give you the "big picture".

Wednesday 17 October 2012 8:25:43 am

Thanks for the feedback.

As it is directly concerning the community and community edition, having a page reporting the GPL violations on share.ez.no would be a great ressource for community members and prevent future unintentional violations.

Regarding the grey zone of the GPLv2 ("distribution" being left to the interpretation of local copyright law), it can easily be fixed by using GPLv3 or AGPLv3 depending the direction eZ wants to take.

  • GPLv3 changes "distribution" to "convey" and provides a definition.
    GPLv3 has a source publication obligation only to the party that receives the application binary/source, not to users interacting with the application over a network. (a NDA between integrators and clients is possible) 
  • AGPLv3 has a source publication obligation to the party that receive the binary/source and to any user interacting with the software over a network. (a NDA between integrators and clients is not possible)

As eZ is getting a new major version, it could be a good timing to upgrade the license.

In case the growth of the ecosystem is important, it is also worth to notice that very permissive licenses, such as the MIT license used by Symfony, are known to boost software adoption and have a such effect.

Modified on Wednesday 17 October 2012 8:26:14 am by Eric Sagnes

Wednesday 17 October 2012 10:17:48 am

I don't believe going on random community edition users and asking them to make available the source code of ALL their projects is a good idea just because it's GPL2, this part of the license is so ambiguous that I believe if the plan is enforce that community users to distribute their source code compulsively, I believe it's better to change the license (AGPLv3), or make it really clear, or even start charging a fee for all users and forget GPL.

PS: If the plan is follow, or interpret GPL2 as, AGPLv3, then it's clear that eZ gonna suck, you need to know eZ is not the only open source CMS available, and trolling community users makes it even less popular, just check Drupal faq:

8: If I write a module or theme, do I have to give it away to everyone?

No. The GPL requires that if you make a derivative work of Drupal and distribute it to someone else, you must provide that person with the source code under the terms of the GPL so that they may modify and redistribute it under the terms of the GPL as well. However, you are under no obligation to distribute the code to anyone else. If you do not distribute the code but use it only within your organization, then you are not required to distribute it to anyone at all.

However, if your module is of general use then it is often a good idea to contribute it back to the community anyway. You can get feedback, bug reports, and new feature patches from others who find it useful.

Also this question:

 

11: Do I have to give the code for my web site to anyone who visits it?

No. The GPL does not consider viewing a web site to count as "distributing", so you are not required to share the code running on your server.

So, if eZ systems decides to choose the AGPLv3, maybe it's a good idea to migrate to Drupal, specially now that we will need to start all over again basically after eZ publish 5 release.

Modified on Wednesday 17 October 2012 11:04:44 am by Thiago Campos Viana

Thursday 18 October 2012 8:32:47 am

Please note that this blogpost is a reply to the forum topic 'share - its the law': http://share.ez.no/forums/general/share-its-the-law

Wednesday 24 October 2012 2:47:07 am

Quote from Eric Sagnes :

In case the growth of the ecosystem is important, it is also worth to notice that very permissive licenses, such as the MIT license used by Symfony, are known to boost software adoption and have a such effect.

I agree with the spirit of this comment, IMHO the greater the restrictions the less appeal there is to a community.  While their may be some merit in putting the definition and interpretation of licenses under the microscope for me one of the significant attractions of open source is that it allows and even encourages people to think differently to traditional business.  For some this will mean more than simply utilising a 'free' software package to conduct a traditional business, rather it will enable them experiment and evolve the model and methods of their business.  It would be a great loss to the open source movement generally and our community directly if the eZ environment forced participants into a specific model or method of doing business.

Wednesday 24 October 2012 4:32:55 pm

Quote from Thiago Campos Viana :

I don't believe going on random community edition users and asking them to make available the source code of ALL their projects is a good idea just because it's GPL2, this part of the license is so ambiguous that I believe if the plan is enforce that community users to distribute their source code compulsively, I believe it's better to change the license (AGPLv3), or make it really clear, or even start charging a fee for all users and forget GPL.

PS: If the plan is follow, or interpret GPL2 as, AGPLv3, then it's clear that eZ gonna suck, you need to know eZ is not the only open source CMS available, and trolling community users makes it even less popular, just check Drupal faq:

I think maybe there are some misunderstandings here still, what triggered the letter in the first place is first and formost misuses of the commercial licenses, in these cases eZ plan to take action if the party doing so does not correct misuse after being made aware of the violation. Regarding last part in the future we plan to make it more clear if wrong version is used (enterprise trial) and setup email notifications in cases limits of enterprise agreements are reached allowing invloved parties to take action instead of being unaware of it.

When it comes to the GPLv2 part, we are fully* aware that the license does not force people to share with the community, it only forces sharing to clients during distribution. So hence we would like everyone to instead share all their GPL / open source code with the community out of goodwill, cause there is a large chunk of goodwill from eZ and the community to make sure people get access to eZ Publish in the first place. But maybe more importantly to make sure the community can continue to grow which will benefit everyone involved.

* And yes we have been discussing (A)GPLv3 and alternatives, so I'm a bit surprised by your "interpret GPL2 as, AGPLv3, then it's clear that eZ gonna suck" comment. Do you see any issues using for instance AGPLv3? Or was it just about "interpret GPL2 as AGPLv3" literally, that makes it blow?

Modified on Thursday 25 October 2012 4:03:28 pm by André R

Wednesday 24 October 2012 8:53:00 pm

Quote from André R :
Quote from Thiago Campos Viana :

I don't believe going on random community edition users and asking them to make available the source code of ALL their projects is a good idea just because it's GPL2, this part of the license is so ambiguous that I believe if the plan is enforce that community users to distribute their source code compulsively, I believe it's better to change the license (AGPLv3), or make it really clear, or even start charging a fee for all users and forget GPL.

PS: If the plan is follow, or interpret GPL2 as, AGPLv3, then it's clear that eZ gonna suck, you need to know eZ is not the only open source CMS available, and trolling community users makes it even less popular, just check Drupal faq:

I think maybe there are some misunderstandings here still, what triggered the letter in the first place is first and formost misuses of the commercial licenses, in these cases eZ plan to take action if the party doing so does not correct misuse after being made aware of the violation. Regarding last part in the future we plan to make it more clear if wrong version is used (enterprise trial) and setup email notifications in cases limits of enterprise agreements are reached allowing invloved parties to take action instead of being unaware of it.

When it comes to the GPLv2 part, we are fully* aware that the license does not force people to share with the community, it only forces sharing to clients during distribution. So hence we would like everyone to instead share all their GPL / open source code with the community out of goodwill, cause there is a large chunk of goodwill from eZ and the community to make sure people get access to eZ Publish in the first place. But maybe more importantly to make sure the community can continue to grow which will benefit everyone involved.

* And yes we have been looking into (A)GPLv3 and alternatives, so I'm a bit surprised by your "interpret GPL2 as, AGPLv3, then it's clear that eZ gonna suck" comment. Do you see any issues using for instance AGPLv3? Or was it just about "interpret GPL2 as AGPLv3" literally, that makes it blow?

I don't see any problem about using AGPLv3 if the plan is put community users in abandon ship mode.

Modified on Wednesday 24 October 2012 8:53:45 pm by Thiago Campos Viana

Thursday 25 October 2012 12:46:12 am

Quote from Thiago Campos Viana :
Quote from André R :
Quote from Thiago Campos Viana :

(..)

I don't see any problem about using AGPLv3 if the plan is put community users in abandon ship mode.

That didn't really answer the question, what are your reasoning behind saying the community will be abandoned?

Isn't AGPL only about making sure code used on a server, and not distributed, also needs to be shared? And I assume it only covers the product itself, and not extensions you write on top of it (those will only have to be shared if the license you choose for it has this clause).

Unless you are saying extensions needs to be licensed with same license in that case? And hence must be shared? Or?

Update: I guess the answer can be found here http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-java.html if that is to be considered correct for this case, and if extensions goes under the dynamic linking clause.

Modified on Thursday 25 October 2012 12:53:55 am by André R

Thursday 25 October 2012 5:02:33 am

André

AGPL is not LGPL and extensions are not libraries.

From the AGPLv3 license:

0. Definitions.

...

To "modify" a work means to copy from or adapt all or part of the work in a fashion requiring copyright permission, other than the making of an exact copy. The resulting work is called a "modified version" of the earlier work or a work "based on" the earlier work.

A "covered work" means either the unmodified Program or a work based on the Program.

and

1. Source Code.

...

The "Corresponding Source" for a work in object code form means all the source code needed to generate, install, and (for an executable work) run the object code and to modify the work, including scripts to control those activities. However, it does not include the work's System Libraries, or general-purpose tools or generally available free programs which are used unmodified in performing those activities but which are not part of the work. For example, Corresponding Source includes interface definition files associated with source files for the work, and the source code for shared libraries and dynamically linked subprograms that the work is specifically designed to require, such as by intimate data communication or control flow between those subprograms and other parts of the work.

It is pretty clear that any extension designed in the sole purpose to run with an AGPLv3 software is considered as a part of the software, and thus require to be also released under AGPLv3.

I personally don't think that AGPLv3 is a wise choice for a web CMS as it puts too many constraints on the developpers/users.

Modified on Thursday 25 October 2012 5:06:13 am by Eric Sagnes

Thursday 25 October 2012 9:52:07 am

Quote from André R :

When it comes to the GPLv2 part, we are fully* aware that the license does not force people to share with the community, it only forces sharing to clients during distribution. So hence we would like everyone to instead share all their GPL / open source code with the community out of goodwill, cause there is a large chunk of goodwill from eZ and the community to make sure people get access to eZ Publish in the first place. But maybe more importantly to make sure the community can continue to grow which will benefit everyone involved.

Yes.  I think this is the message that has been lost.

I personally don't think that AGPLv3 is a wise choice for a web CMS as it puts too many constraints on the developers/users.

Yes.  Am I misreading it or does the AGPL imply that any visitor to your website can demand the source code?

Thursday 25 October 2012 11:56:32 am

André, as Eric pointed, AGPL is not LGPL, and yes, if you create one extension you are creating a work based on the program, so it needs to be distribushed as AGPL as well.

Steven, this is the main purpose of AGPL, so yes, any visitor can demand the source code for any web site using AGPL code.

Thursday 25 October 2012 3:50:28 pm

Ok thanks for the clarification, wanted to understand the pitfalls myself as I'm not so much involved with licenses.

To sum up: We are not considering AGPL, lets please move the discussion back to the original points if there are more clarifications needed there.

Modified on Thursday 25 October 2012 3:55:48 pm by André R

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