eZ Community » Forums » General » Share - its the law!
expandshrink

Share - its the law!

Share - its the law!

Tuesday 25 September 2012 9:01:04 pm - 67 replies

The following letter appears to have been send by eZ Systems to a number of (community) partners by snailmail. The letter begins with a friendly request to share back extensions and tweaks, and subsequently urges the partner to 'comply' with the GNU license, and take a few minutes(!) to upload all derivative code to specifc locations.

I feel compelled to share this letter with you. I am not quite sure what to make of it? Can someone explain? What is the objective of this letter?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

eZ Systems
Bonner Str. 484
50968 Koln
Germany

 

Share-back with the community – a matter of respect and law

 

Dear ...

Open-source was born from people loving and sharing code. Tenfold innovation, magnified software quality amd immensely larger business networks are direct results of this philosophical seed. You benefit from it too, through the using eZ Publish Community Project.

Make sure the ball keeps rolling and take a few minutes to share back the extensions and tweaks you have been developing in your eZ Publish-based projects. It will benefit the entire community, and in return, you, as a fellow member (company or individual) having your code included and maintained.

On top of becoming an active part of a durable open-source community, sharing back will make sure you (and by extension, your customers), are in legal compliance with the GNU General Public License v.2 (GPL) under which you use the software.

The simplest way to do comply with this is to:

 (see http://www.gnu.org/licenses for further information).

Sometimes it is important for your customers not to be obliged to share back customizations, for example because they have a competitive edge or a security requirement through your solution. In these cases, the Enterprise Edition of eZ Publish is available, shipped with a Business User License (BUL) without any sharing back requirements.

In order to coordinate the sharing back activities, we would like you to share-back your derivative work at the afore-mentioned location, or write us an email in which you describe the past and on-going customer projects customizations or other eZ innovations that should be shared back according to the explanation above. Also note that we need to be aware of project customization to integrate them to the product if they are good, or discuss them with you and gather your input and recommendations.

 eZ Systems is changing and improving its approach towards partners in different was:

  • The first eZ Community UnConference [blablabla];
  • The eZ Publish Cloud Edition [blablabla];
  • The New Partner Program is being launched at the moment. Amongst other, the concept of “Community Partner” is reworked: two new levels are now available for you to choose from: Registered and Ready. They are both different, with different benefits and pre-requisites. We would like to explain what is new and why it presents more interest for you: please get in touch with us (cf contact information below).

Please make sure you get in touch with us soon on any of the topics above: we will be delighted to strengthen our contact, and guide you through these exciting novelties.

Your contact point: eZ Community Management team at community@ez.no

Best regards and thank you in advance for your support.

[Signature]

eZ Corporate Headquarters
Gabriele Viebach
eZ Systems Group CEO

Modified on Friday 28 September 2012 12:44:41 pm by S V

Wednesday 10 October 2012 12:13:15 pm

Maybe all partners who share our concerns and attending the unconference can join forces and together formulate an official reply to eZ Systems' letter, put their signatures under it and hand it over to Nicolas or another eZ representative.

Unfortunately I am not able to join the unconference due to other obligations, hopefully I'll be there next time.

Tuesday 16 October 2012 12:08:17 pm

Dear all, 

I shared a reply with you, as a blog post: http://share.ez.no/blogs/ez/future-plans-and-direction-of-ez

Thank you,
--
Gabriele 

Tuesday 16 October 2012 4:07:24 pm

Dear Gabriele

thank you for this post. Loking forward to continue the discussion in Cologne.

Best regards, Donat

Wednesday 17 October 2012 10:22:35 pm

Here's how a true open source company interprets GPL2:

From 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.

No open trap, no grey area, simple as that.

Wednesday 17 October 2012 11:08:41 pm

Quote from Thiago Campos Viana :

Here's how a true open source company interprets GPL2:

 

Exacta-!@#$#$%-lutely.  Can eZSystems come up with something like this?

Edit - removed the explicit.

Modified on Thursday 18 October 2012 6:25:25 pm by Steven E Bailey

Friday 19 October 2012 1:51:18 pm

No updates here? I need to know the official answers for the same Drupal's questions:

8: If I write a module or theme, do I have to give it away to everyone?
11: Do I have to give the code for my web site to anyone who visits it?

The community needs a short and clear answer, not 2L2R wall of text that doesn't answer anything.

PS: I was avoiding touching Drupal all these years because eZ is slightly better, but given the last events (the USA office email last year and now the CEO letters), it's clear we need to consider other things besides the CMS features when choosing one to use in our personal projects.

Modified on Friday 19 October 2012 2:22:57 pm by Thiago Campos Viana

Friday 19 October 2012 2:08:54 pm

Hi Thiago

Did you read Gabriele's blog post about it ? Things have also been clarified during the unconference, but I'm sure Nico will post an update on this hot topic blunk.gif Emoticon

Friday 19 October 2012 2:15:40 pm

Quote from Jérôme Vieilledent :

Hi Thiago

Did you read Gabriele's blog post about it ? Things have also been clarified during the unconference, but I'm sure Nico will post an update on this hot topic blunk.gif Emoticon

Yeah, that's what I classify as "2L2R wall of text that doesn't answer anything". So, questions remains:

8: If I write a module or theme, do I have to give it away to everyone?
11: Do I have to give the code for my web site to anyone who visits it?

Is it possible to give us something as short and clear as the Drupal's answers? They, the competition, are two steps ahead: they have the answers, and their answers are very developer friendly.

Modified on Friday 19 October 2012 2:39:59 pm by Thiago Campos Viana

Friday 19 October 2012 4:38:17 pm

Thiago

This subject has been widely discussed during the unconference and licence change to GPL v3 for example, might be option (like Eric suggests). Still under discussion of course.

To be continued...

Tuesday 23 October 2012 9:26:32 am

At the UnConference the topic was heaviliy discussed, but there was no formal statement by eZ Systems regarding the letter or considered licence changes.

To keep this discussion on, this brochure on "Open source software in buiness-critcal environments" by Ernst&Young might be helpful. It covers many aspects and gives consise explanations of different OSS licenses.

http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Open_Source_Software_im_geschaeftskritischen_Einsatz/$FILE/Open_Source_Software_DE.pdf

http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Open_Source_Software_in_business_critical_environments/$FILE/Open_Source_Software_EN.pdf

Lotus Notes sucks... If link above does not work, try the one in the following post. Thanks Thiago!

Modified on Tuesday 23 October 2012 11:45:28 am by Donat Fritschy

Tuesday 23 October 2012 11:03:41 am

Quote from Donat Fritschy :

At the UnConference the topic was heaviliy discussed, but there was no formal statement by eZ Systems regarding the letter or considered licence changes.

To keep this discussion on, this brochure on "Open source software in buiness-critcal environments" by Ernst&Young might be helpful. It covers many aspects and gives consise explanations of different OSS licenses.

http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Open_Source_Software_im_geschaeftskritischen_Einsatz/$FILE/Open_Source_Software_DE.pdf

http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Open_Source_Software_in_business_critical_environments/$FILE/Open_Source_Software_EN.pdf

Correct link to english version is: http://www.univention.de/fileadmin/univention/publikationen/Open_Source_Software_EN.pdf

 

And reading the AGPL part, looks like eZ systems must change their license to AGPL before sending that letters...

Wednesday 24 October 2012 10:38:07 am

The reasoning behind this letter remains vague for me. Gabriele's post didn't shed light on this.

While I understand that eZ Systems makes a living out of the Enterprise Edition mainly, I don't think they are going to increase their sales by trying to restrict community members on selling eZ Publish related services.

The lack of eZ Publish adoption should be more worrying than a few license abuse cases.

Here's a snippet from the ERNST & YOUNG document that Thiago linked to:

“If the initiator (of the OS Project) largely retains control, they alone can shape the ongoing development of the software in order to implement their business strategy unimpeded (as Gabriele pointed out with her post). However, this comes at a cost to acceptance on the part of users and developers, increasing the risk that third-party investment and contributions will always remain low.”
[P 23, Successful community management]

It looks like you have a catch-22 situation here, Gabriele.
You need more community contributions but you also want to retain as much control on the software as possible.

Wednesday 24 October 2012 11:49:23 am

I participated in the UnConference discussion about this and here are some of my highly personal interpretations on what was said there (meaning, I can't speak for eZ and I may be totally wrong but take it for what it is, opinion).

  1. eZSystems is not interested in becoming a patent troll
    They are aware of the ecosystem, have invested the time and effort into it and aren't trying to sandbag it now with heavy-handed shenanigans (like I said - a personal take and a matter of trust on my part).
  2. If you were incensed by the letter then you probably were not the target of it
    You (as a user of eZPublish) probably have an idea of your place in the ecosystem and whether or not you're getting a free ride.  If you are doing large projects for large multi-nationals based on the community edition - you're doing it wrong.
  3. The GPL is outdated and really not the issue
    10x lawyers will come up with 10x different interpretations of the GPL - I don't think there is consensus among the people at eZSystems either.  So, I'm not sure that a clear-cut FAQ such as the Drupal one will ever be forthcoming (or possible) even though I'd like to see it.  The issue really is, how do we make this ecosystem continue to work for ALL of us in the future?
  4. eZSystems is a for-profit company
    And is aware of their place in the ecosystem and aware of the benefits of the community and the symbiotic relationship. They aren't trying to screw that up.
  5. eZSystems is perhaps not serving smaller partners enough
    At the price of the enterprise edition - or even the cloud - no one is expecting (can expect?) community users to be paying, say... half a project's cost for a license. That said, maybe there are ways to make it easier for eZSystems to see something coming back monetarily from smaller community partners (whatever that might be).

Wednesday 24 October 2012 1:12:07 pm

Quote from Steven E Bailey :

The GPL is outdated and really not the issue

I disagree here, all this discussion started mostly because some people interpret GPL2 as AGPL3, so, we don't know what to expect here.

Wednesday 24 October 2012 1:49:20 pm

Quote from Thiago Campos Viana :
Quote from Steven E Bailey :

The GPL is outdated and really not the issue

I disagree here, all this discussion started mostly because some people interpret GPL2 as AGPL3, so, we don't know what to expect here.

Yeah, but it doesn't really matter who interprets that.   An elephant isn't going to be a rhinoceros even if someone would like to interpret it as that.

Wednesday 24 October 2012 4:38:07 pm

If you have no legal background, like me, please read this at the GNU website:

GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL) version 3 

This is a free software, copyleft license. Its terms effectively consist of the terms of GPLv3, with an additional paragraph in section 13 to allow users who interact with the licensed software over a network to receive the source for that program. We recommend that developers consider using the GNU AGPL for any software which will commonly be run over a network.

Please note that the GNU AGPL is not compatible with GPLv2. It is also technically not compatible with GPLv3 in a strict sense: you cannot take code released under the GNU AGPL and convey or modify it however you like under the terms of GPLv3, or vice versa. However, you are allowed to combine separate modules or source files released under both of those licenses in a single project, which will provide many programmers with all the permission they need to make the programs they want. See section 13 of both licenses for details.

So it is clear that GPLv2 is not compatible with  AGPL, any claims in this direction have no legal justification.

It has been a month now since Sebastian started this topic. The post of Gabriele does not answer the legal issue raised in the letter and questions raised in this topic. I urge eZ Systems to come with a clear statement.

Modified on Wednesday 24 October 2012 4:40:10 pm by Ron Schöningh

Wednesday 24 October 2012 8:59:20 pm

I think the discussion is being split a bit:

http://share.ez.no/forums/discussions/future-plans-and-direction-of-ez#comment77855

Thursday 25 October 2012 5:46:15 am

Steven

Thanks for the feedback on the UnConference, it is very valuable as I couldn't attend myself.

 If you were incensed by the letter then you probably were not the target of it
You (as a user of eZPublish) probably have an idea of your place in the ecosystem and whether or not you're getting a free ride.  If you are doing large projects for large multi-nationals based on the community edition - you're doing it wrong.

"Don't send letter to people that are not targets." seems to be the logical way to do it. Partners doing large projects for large multi-nationals are usually business partners and eZ Systems has a direct contact for such matters.

In the case community partners are making such big projects, it could have been wiser to talk directly to them and show them the merits of using the enterprise edition instead of a biased and restrictive view on the community edition argumented by a very free interpretation of GPLv2.

The GPL is outdated and really not the issue
10x lawyers will come up with 10x different interpretations of the GPL - I don't think there is consensus among the people at eZSystems either.  So, I'm not sure that a clear-cut FAQ such as the Drupal one will ever be forthcoming (or possible) even though I'd like to see it.  The issue really is, how do we make this ecosystem continue to work for ALL of us in the future?

GPLv2 is old (1991), but I am not sure that make it outdated as it is still widely used. (Drupal, Wordpress)

GPLv3 on the other side is recent (2007) and fill all the known problems of the GPLv2. (specially the distribution/convey part)
By the way, 10 lawyers also make 10 interpretations of bribery or murder, but in the end all that matters is the judge decision, but to have a judge decision there is no other choice than bringing the case to a court.

Modified on Thursday 25 October 2012 5:49:55 am by Eric Sagnes

Thursday 25 October 2012 9:36:36 am

Quote from Eric Sagnes :

"Don't send letter to people that are not targets." 

Absolutely, (again, speaking for myself) this was a stupid, stupid letter to send to all partners and I'm pretty sure everyone at eZSystems is acutely aware of that (even if they disagree).

Quote from Eric Sagnes :

GPLv2 is old (1991), but I am not sure that make it outdated as it is still widely used. (Drupal, Wordpress)

Yes, I was not clear - I was talking about GPLv2 in the other post.  I also don't think - if you believe that eZ hasn't turned into a troll - that there wouldn't be much point in bringing something to court unless it was a clear-cut violation of something.

Thursday 25 October 2012 3:40:43 pm

I am sorry but some posts here seem highly biased. What is a true open source company anyway ?

Anyway, this Drupal FAQ is saying exactly the same as what the letter said and guess what ? Yes we're talking about the same licence : GPL.

Actually, what this Drupal FAQ is not answering to is : What are my obligations when I DO distribute my code ?

And they would answer the same as eZ systems if they had to. GPL is 23 years old, believe me people with degrees have been reading it way before us. It's not like there are many interpretations to it.

Believe me or not there are companies out there that have been using for years the extensions that you create, improving them, selling them an high price without sharing back not a byte of code on github, and those companies are the one that was targetted by this letter.

If you're ok with people making money from your work [ a.k.a distributing] without contributing to it, it's fine; but it's not GPL.

Think about it another way now, eZ has a public repository where all bug fixes, improvements and new functionnalities implemented by eZ engineers are shared back with the community ( eZ ... Wait for it ... Community Project ).
So eZ systems is complying to the GPL, why not ask to other companies to do the same ?

my 2 cents.

expandshrink

You must be logged in to post messages in this topic!

36 542 Users on board!

Forums menu

Proudly Developed with from