31
brash
Re: Commisioned Modules
  • 2004/8/4 1:12

  • brash

  • Friend of XOOPS

  • Posts: 2206

  • Since: 2003/4/10


Quote:

Mithrandir wrote:
you CAN charge as much as you want for a GPL product, but you cannot impose ANY limitations on the buyer, once he has got it. Therefore, selling a GPL product at $500 may be a good way to make $500 - but you cannot in any way prevent the buyer from making it available for free downloads.


This I would say is a double edged sword for Xoops. The fact that any module/theme/template released for XOOPS is governed by the GPL can result in both good and bad things I think.

On the one hand it promotes an open and sharing community, and takes the focus OFF money being the main driver. This is a rare and pure thing these days. I wouldn't have it any other way as freedom of skills and thought is the fuel tank for innovation and progress for the greater good in my books.

On the otherhand, if a person(s) puts themselves significantly out of pocket in time and/or money by producing XOOPS projects they have little hope of recouping their costs through a general release to the XOOPS community. And this I think has got to stunt development.

I think Herko's idea for a module to put up project ideas and collect pledges until it can pay for a developer is great. How those pledges would be gathered, and what happens in the case of pledge skipping could make it somewhat complicated. I suppose all you would need really is a "pledge blacklist" for those who decide to back out on their pledge AFTER the project development has comenced.




32
rudycash
Re: Commisioned Modules
  • 2004/8/4 7:23

  • rudycash

  • Just popping in

  • Posts: 70

  • Since: 2004/2/12


I think a system that would work is this.

Someone like me who needs a module that has commercial benefits posts the spec. Devs then post their thoughts on how much it would cost. A price is set and a paypal donation system is set up for the module. The money is paid to a third party. Once the target is met an initial payment is made to the dev/devs who have quoted the best price. Once the module is complete and released then the rest of the fee is paid. The module is available to all so everyone still benefits. The more well off amongst us who want to see the module will pay more to get the work done.

Module developers will benefit by earning a bit of cash, XOOPS will benefit because more commercially viable modules will become available and site owners will benefit by getting the stuff they need quicker.

I have posted a few projects on the forums and been contacted off forum by devs and paid them for work - I think this would be much better in the open.

33
jerryj
Re: Commisioned Modules
  • 2005/2/8 14:40

  • jerryj

  • Just popping in

  • Posts: 33

  • Since: 2001/12/20


I'm sure glad you guys have so many lawyers among you, otherwise people wouldn't be so confused.

Please read the following two points regarding the GNU Public License:

1.) If you develop a module for XOOPS or any other Open Source CMS, you ABSOLUTELY can charge for it.

2.) Further, you can license the module SEPARATELY from the Open Source CMS and protect your intellectual property. In other words, you do not have to allow other people to distribute your module for free as MadFish has incorrectly suggested.


What you cannot do is release the module and the GPL programs as one package and charge for the package.

If you want to see this model in action, go look at Mambo, http://www.mamboserver.com. Mambo is another excellent Open Source CMS licensed under GNU. It has SEVERAL third-party developers that develop and release commercial grade modules for that CMS and charge fees for them and offer upgrades and support. One of the most popular is Phil Taylor at http://www.phil-taylor.com .

PLEASE stop saying modules developed for XOOPS cannot be subject to intellectual property protection, because that is NOT TRUE.

34
Herko
Re: Commisioned Modules
  • 2005/2/8 15:03

  • Herko

  • XOOPS is my life!

  • Posts: 4238

  • Since: 2002/2/4 1


Quote:

jerryj wrote:
Please read the following two points regarding the GNU Public License:
2.) Further, you can license the module SEPARATELY from the Open Source CMS and protect your intellectual property. In other words, you do not have to allow other people to distribute your module for free as MadFish has incorrectly suggested.[/b]

What you cannot do is release the module and the GPL programs as one package and charge for the package.


OK, let me set some things straight here.

The GNU GPL 2.0 is a license for compiled open source software, meaning that the source code is not normally available to everyone who has a copy of the application. This makes it legally vague as to what is and what is not considered 'part of the program' as defined by the GPL, for application that use interpreted languages such as PHP. So to say that something is true or not true is simply impossible, as there is no jurispudence on the interpretation of the GNU GPL 2.0 on interpreted language yet. I am not a lawyer, but I have put this for consideration with 3 of the top experts on open source legal issues here in the Netherlands, and all 3 agree on the above conclusion.

So the issue here is what is considered 'part of the program', as the GPL states that everything that is part of a GPL licensed program is considered to be licensed under the GPL as well. The commonly used and accepted interpretation on this applied to the XOOPS context is that the module is considered GPL licensed if it depends on the GPL XOOPS code to operate. So if it can operat without XOOPS (but not fully), then you can license it under another license, closed or open. But if it cannot run without XOOPS, it is considered part of the program, and thus GPL licensed, as XOOPS is. Note, this only applies if and when the code is released. Giving it to the customer who paid for it's development is not counted as a release.
XOOPS.org uses this interpretation for any legal issues that may arrise (which haven't yet and hopefully never will).

Then your point about intellectual property. The GPL clearly states that the intellectual property, and therefore the copyrights and patent rights, belong and always will belong to the original author. The GPL states furthermore that the author allows everyone to use the code as they see fit, and redistribute it as they see fit without (m)any restrictions, forevermore. The copyright owner is allowed to change the license at a later date, but the conditions for this I do not know.

So: yes, XOOPS modules are GPL when they depend on other XOOPS GPL code to function properly or at all.
And no: you don't need to worry about the intellectual property of your work, as the GPL actually protects that for you. You keep that, releasing it as GPL will mean you say to the world 'you can use it how you see fit, but share and share alike!'


This has been an issue I thoroughly investigated, so please do not see this as my personal opinion or inexpert interpretation...

Herko

35
jegelstaff
Re: Commisioned Modules

brash wrote:
Quote:

I think Herko's idea for a module to put up project ideas and collect pledges until it can pay for a developer is great. How those pledges would be gathered, and what happens in the case of pledge skipping could make it somewhat complicated. I suppose all you would need really is a "pledge blacklist" for those who decide to back out on their pledge AFTER the project development has comenced.


This is indeed a very interesting idea. A paper has been written about a similar idea: an open-source software development bond market:

http://www.openknowledge.org/writing/open-source/scb/

The basic idea is that the "pledges" would be put up beforehand in the form of bonds, with the money held in an escrow account. The developers would hold the bonds, and then cash them out upon completion of the software.

There is a lot of administrative overhead associated with any such approach, but this kind of mechanism may be a required step as open-source software matures as an alternative to closed-source funding schemes.

Another view about funding, though, is that perhaps, where there is a large enough market, open-source software can be sold by the creator just the same as closed-source, because most of the market is not willing or able to seek out "unofficial" download sites for the software. So most people go to the creator's website for the actual download, which they would have to pay for, and they're happy to get a copy they know is good, and also access to any support services or other value-added services the creator is offering.

It is an open question whether most people would actually do that. But I think it is possible that they might.

--Julian

36
MorelyDotes
Re: Commisioned Modules

Quote:

Herko Coomans wrote:
So: yes, XOOPS modules are GPL when they depend on other XOOPS GPL code to function properly or at all.
And no: you don't need to worry about the intellectual property of your work, as the GPL actually protects that for you. You keep that, releasing it as GPL will mean you say to the world 'you can use it how you see fit, but share and share alike!'



Bottom line: If a module (or any other package) is released under the GPL, it is a serious copyright violation for anyone (like, for example, Microsoft) to take the code and re-release it *without* the source code, or to claim licensing restrictions more stringent than the GPL's.

37
jerryj
Re: Commisioned Modules
  • 2005/2/9 21:28

  • jerryj

  • Just popping in

  • Posts: 33

  • Since: 2001/12/20


Hey Herko:

I know you've done research on this and you've reveiwed this issue with some "experts" in the field. My guess is that your experts are individuals like yourselvs who have a "free software" world view that predisposes them to interpret this portion of the GNU license in such a restrictive manner.

I think your mistake is misinterpreting the term "module" on the GPL license to be equivalent to XOOPS modules. When in reality, what they're calling a "module" would be equivalent to a "library", "include", or "hack" in XOOPS (or most other CMS's).

I mentioned Mambo in my previous post. They have an FAQ item on their website here that specifically addresses this question. See question #10 on the link.

They also have a thread in their forum that talks about this very topic regarding Mambo you can visit by clicking here.

If you create a XOOPS module and then distribute XOOPS and the module together, then the module must be released as GPL. However, if the module is released and distributed separately and installed into XOOPS by the user, it is not subject to GPL and can be released under a commercial license. Here is an excerpt from the GPL preamble:

Quote:
Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the Program (independent of having been made by running the Program). Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.


If you look at discussions regarding this "module" clause in the GPL, it usually centers around such items as linked libraries and derivative works. The spirit of the GPL is to make sure that derivative works from a GPL'ed piece of code are also GPL. Hacking the XOOPS core and reselling the hacked XOOPS core definitely IS a violation of the GPL license. However, XOOPS modules are NOT derivative works because they do not include the XOOPS core files, and have to have the Xooops core system to run. I know that's hard to understand and at first sounds contradictory, but think of XOOPS as a "website operating system". Modules are independent programs that use website operating system calls to accomplish their work, in much the same way as Linux programs make calls to the Linux kernel.

By your way of thinking, Herko, every program that runs on Linux would have to also be GPL because it can't run independently of Linux (Xoops) and makes calls to the Linux kernel (Xoops core).

38
Chainsaw
Re: Commisioned Modules
  • 2005/2/9 22:45

  • Chainsaw

  • Quite a regular

  • Posts: 304

  • Since: 2003/9/28


Sorry if others have mentioned this before but I am an IT Manager by profession and yes I would pay for a module to be developed or modified to suit my commercial purpose.

I would be quite happy for the modified/developed module to be released back into GPL community for everyone to use (provided of course that the module didn't cost me $10's of thousands of dollars for a new module).

As an example - I'm wanting to have a contact form function where the user can

a. load a digital photo
b. after submitting, be directed to a secured payment page

I could commission the module developer (or someone) to modify the formulaire module for me and pay for it. Once it has been done, I am quite happy to release it back to the community for free use.

39
Mithrandir
Re: Commisioned Modules

Quote:
However, XOOPS modules are NOT derivative works because they do not include the XOOPS core files, and have to have the XOOPS core system to run
Modules do not have to have the XOOPS core system to run? I think there are very few modules that work stand-alone without XOOPS.

Comparing XOOPS to Linux is in many ways a fair comparison, but isn't Linux normally released under another open source license than GPL? (This is an actual question, not a statement masked as a question. I seriously don't know much about Linux license policies)

40
JasonMR
Re: Commisioned Modules
  • 2005/2/9 23:36

  • JasonMR

  • Just can't stay away

  • Posts: 655

  • Since: 2004/6/21


I just stumbled accross this thread, so I haven't read all posts yet, but I need to point something out:

Mithrandir wrote:
Quote:

Anything I develop for a client will be passed on to the client with full rights to do whatever he or she pleases. I keep a copy myself of course

[highlight]
to base future work on
[/highlight]

, but I usually do not release it for free download on my site unless the client agrees to that. Whether the client puts it up for free download is not my business.


While this sounds reasonable, it can get you into legal trouble, if
- the code is not GPL, as requiered by client!!!

Then you will either:
a) need permission from the client, to use the code in othe projects of yours
b) arrange with client a GPL license for the code you want to reuse


This is my reasoning, why I will never take on work from client, that is not willing to support Open Source (and why I fight against current IP laws, and software patents)!


In case someone want to do some reading on Open Source reading, O'Reilly tries hard to be a profitable business, and sticking to the idea of freedom, and provides for free an online version of the book Understanding Open Source and Free Software Licensing


...back to reading this interesting thread...

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