[IMPORTANT] Gephi license: leaving GNU AGPL to BSD?

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admin
Gephi Community Manager
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Re: [IMPORTANT] Gephi license: leaving GNU AGPL to BSD?

Post by admin » 18 Apr 2011 14:40

Hi,

A referendum has started amongst Gephi source code owners. Following is the copy of the email they received.


== CONTEXT ==
To sum up, we always used the GNU (A)GPLv3 to protect our work from a proprietary use. This mechanism is well suited for an end-user software primarily developed for academic purpose. However some major changes raises the question again, in particular:
- Gephi has become not only a software, but a platform to create new applications, integrate third-party technologies, and extend the functionalities with plugins.
- The Gephi Community is diversifying thus starts to include private companies and large research projects.
- We try to reach maturity with more developers and funding supports.

I'm both in contact with companies and research laboratories across Europe and the US. Both reported a strong motivation to use Gephi and to contribute (bug fixes, employment, direct fundings) but are unable to take Gephi because of two typical cases:
- for companies: impossibility to integrate part of Gephi (source code or library linking) in a final product with a proprietary/commercial license.
- for academics: impossibility to integrate part of Gephi (source code or library linking) in an Open Source program with a BSD or MIT license.

The future growth of our community will depend on how we can put them on board. We all have very diverse motivations to contribute to Gephi, but we all do it on our free time. So by this vote, I want to solve these issues:
- How do we reach a broader adoption of Gephi without sacrificing on our ownership rights and the idea of "common good"?
- How to create stable jobs for skilled Gephi developers?
I don't have direct answers of course, however we can shape our ecosystem to enable more opportunities if we choose the right licensing system.


== PROPOSAL ==
We initially started to oppose xGPL to BSD in the debate but I would like to propose a trade-off that seems to take all your considerations into account: a dual licensing using the GNU AGPLv3 and the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL). The CDDL is a "weak copyleft" in a sense that every _file_ in CDDL must remain in CDDL, and source code modifications must be published. However one can combine the source code with other licensed code, which is not the case in GPL, LGPL and AGPL. This license is derived from the Mozilla Public License (MPL) and is well recognized by the Open Source Initiative (OSi) and industrials. NetBeans is released under a dual license CDDL-GPLv2 for instance: http://netbeans.org/cddl-gplv2.html

Consequences:
- improvements of the source code will remain in open source.
- one can create a specific version of Gephi for his needs with additional files in the desired license.
- using the Gephi Toolkit as a library will also be allowed whatever the case.

The GNU LGPL has a "weak copyleft" only when the code is used as a library. It would be okay for the Gephi Toolkit, but not for building applications over the graphical framework, which hence should be entirely in LGPL.


== QUESTION ==
Now the question of this referendum:
Do you agree to release the next official releases of Gephi source code in the dual license CDDL + GNU AGPLv3?

Please reply by YES, NO or NEUTRAL to all people in this list and not only me, and add your first name + name in clear after your reply.


== VOTING RULES ==
You have fifteen (15) days to reply from today. Votes will be closed after that on Tuesday May 3rd at 3pm (UTC+1). Only your first reply will be taken into account; more would mark your vote as "neutral".
Discussions are not allowed in this thread but should stand on the forum. A simple majority (>50%) of yes amongst yes+no is required to accept the proposal with at least 50% of the voting participants.

bentwonk
Posts: 7
Joined: 11 Mar 2011 00:29

Re: [IMPORTANT] Gephi license: leaving GNU AGPL to BSD?

Post by bentwonk » 27 Apr 2011 02:49

Thank you, that is most encouraging, and would seem on the surface ( I would need to read the licence details) to be the best of both worlds.

We would like to contribute to the gephi project, use it as a library, but legally are required to keep some very application specific source code proprietary.

Thanks again. I await with interest.

admin
Gephi Community Manager
Posts: 964
Joined: 09 Dec 2009 14:41

Re: [IMPORTANT] Gephi license: leaving GNU AGPL to BSD?

Post by admin » 27 Apr 2011 20:04

The result of the vote is announced on this page.

Next releases will be in dual licensing CDDL + GNU GPLv3.

bentwonk
Posts: 7
Joined: 11 Mar 2011 00:29

Re: [IMPORTANT] Gephi license: leaving GNU AGPL to BSD?

Post by bentwonk » 28 Apr 2011 14:44

That is great news, I kiss you. :P

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pacoid
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Re: [IMPORTANT] Gephi license: leaving GNU AGPL to BSD?

Post by pacoid » 16 May 2011 21:03

I agree with Sebastien. If an open source project wants to get wide spread usage and contributions from developers who are being paid to fix things, then yes especially the part about "Keep legal stuff simple. You want to pay developers, not lawyers." becomes the barrier. If I see that a project is AGPL, generally it is simply too much trouble to use for an Internet/consumer business.

Plus, I've had a similar experience with Stallman several years ago. He demanded a 5-page contract be signed by the organization before he would agree to speak, including special "perks", then started an argument with us without even knowing anything about us. The philosophy is interesting, but how much of it just originates from that one personality?

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