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

Licences: right to use, modify, sell, integrate...
alexc
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Re: [IMPORTANT] Gephi license: leaving GNU AGPL to BSD?

Post by alexc » 17 Nov 2010 13:47

jbilcke wrote:However, I have now a question: how will you get individuals release their additional work on the Toolkit, if they don't have to because of the licence?
Changes to core libraries are likely to be released because those who make them would want to ensure future versions of Gephi will have them as well, otherwise development would effectively be branched.

Now, naturally it would be wrong to expect some of the completely new value added stuff on top of existing code to be released, but that's what businesses require in order to pay developers their salaries, which I think is not a bad thing: hardware isn't free, and neither is energy nor food, and especially not beer :cry:

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

Post by jbilcke » 17 Nov 2010 16:56

I agree with you on bugfixes. This seems indeed counter-productive to every developer to keep these enhancements out of the main software branch.

Contamination of new features by GPL is indeed part of the "long term changes" plan.
When one think about it, this is a beautiful idea, perhaps too in advance for today industry, assuming everybody are "good players" and do not pursue selfish goals, like earning more money than others.

I believe that's how people who developed and use GPL see the licence.

However I agree with alex and other members of the forum who raised question of double licensing.

This could be a less ambiguous ("we are gpl, but want to do business!") and more assumed position for Gephi, although I don't exactly understand all subtleties yet (eg. can a Consortium manage money? is it really the best legal form for business partnerships, handle people, recommendation?)

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

Post by Yestin » 19 Nov 2010 10:15

---keep AGPL
Seb, I agree with something about what you said. I think Gephi can achieve commercial benifit by providing advices, support, training or something else. But I don't think the GPL license is a barrier. We can provide training, support even if Gephi is released under GPL license.

Gephi is a great tool. If company want to use it in their specific domains, (at least) most of them have to build their own plug-ins to process their own data. If they do that way, they have to open those source codes to public. I don't know if I am right about GPL license. If we use current AGPL, all the plugins should also use AGPL to release their products and all source codes. If so, companies might don't want to use Gephi because of such problem. To solve such problem, we can let those companies translate their data to GraphML or other supported format, so they shouldn't open their data related source codes. Gephi itself is still AGPL.

---a positive reason of changing license
But I didn't consider what if companies are interested in part of Gephi (shader engine just as you said). I don't know whether there are plenty of companies who are interested in part of Gephi, but the requirement did exists. If we have to migrate to Apache/BSD/etc , I agree that this is one supporting reason.

---a new advice
An advice just come to my mind. Gephi now have a toolkit and an application(In my mind, the toolkit is a subset of the application itself). What about migrating the toolkit to a commercial friendly license, and keep the application AGPL? It's similiar to double licenses.Is this useful? Just an advice:)

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

Post by admin » 26 Nov 2010 01:23

Hello everyone,

It seems that the GNU xGPL raises a legal risk that blocks commercial usages. But as it is important to keep the possibility to extend/specify the Gephi Platform inside the Free Software (GNU) paradigm, I propose the following solution:

The official trunk remains released in GNU AGPL.

However the Gephi Consortium can create commercial releases published in BSD on demand, as it has the right according to the CLA. Of course, if the Gephi Platform integrates a third-party software in GNU GPL/AGPL, it would be removed from this release. A list of included packages is available here.

The commercial releases can't be sold by the Gephi Consortium directly, as it is a non-for-profit organization. It is not strictly forbidden to sell, but the laws for NGOs are quite subtle in France and I really recommend not to do that. Anyway this legal structure is not made for this usage.

The mechanism
So who should sell commercial licenses created by the Gephi Consortium? I propose to grant this right to:
a) the Consortium members,
b) who have contributed by a commit on the trunk for more than one year,
c) and who have contributed with at least one commit during the past 6 months.

Why:
(a) ensures a control on the people who sells it so that bad behaviors (=violating the bylaws or the intellectual property rights) can lead to a quick expulsion. This measure is not retroactive to protect customers: if the vendor is no longer a member, the previous sales are still valid, but he loses the right to make sales at the day of his membership's termination.
(b) rewards long-term efforts.
(c) ensures the people are still somewhat active in contributing to the Free Software project, and have the basic knowledge to provide support.

According to the anti-trust compliance policy (PDF), the Gephi Consortium would not:
- set prices,
- signs agreements to allocate markets,
- calls for boycotts,
- prohibits or limits competition.
In a few words: this is a free market.

For customers
In a customer's point of view, this is simple: the Gephi Consortium would maintain a list of authorized vendors one can contact to ask for their offers and prices. A contract is made directly with this vendor and engages only the two parties, not the Gephi Consortium. Rights are granted by the BSD license without time limit and without restriction of usages (unless defined by the BSD license), for this sole release (=only this version of the source code).


What do you think about this solution?

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

Post by jeffg » 29 Nov 2010 17:52

I'm definitely for an open license. I plan to use pieces of the Gephi toolkit in my Processing projects, but depending on what I'm doing, I can't make my code public since I do a bit of work for the Government. I need the freedom to use the code for this non-commercial use, as the source code will be closed to the general public. I have no problem with recontribute back changes made to Gephi itself, but I hate software that requires anything connected to it to also be free and open (as I usually can't do that - it's not my code to give).

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

Post by bentwonk » 11 Mar 2011 01:20

Thought I would add my recent experience to this discussion as it is relevant.

I was looking for a fast, java based graph display solution, and Gephi looks like a very good candidate. However since this is a business application, first thing I have to check is the licensing terms, problem is the methods we use to prepare the data to display are proprietary and we licence them, we could not open source there implementation.

A BSD or LGPL licence would work, but the current licence raises concerns for us including the proprietary methods. (5.c You must license the entire work, as a whole), and if we had to seek extensive legal advice on this, it would make the business types very nervous, and probably kill any change of using Gephi, regardless of the final legal verdict.

This is a shame, as we have a number of experienced developers, and would probably add some value to Gelphi, in areas we could share back with the community (we have done this in the past with other projects).

Of course if a commercial licence model also existed, we would be happy to consider it, and pay if we thought it fitted our needs. I guess a commercial would also licence would also allow us to contribute to the project as a whole in areas where we are able, however it may be harder to convince business types 'this is a good thing" if we are already paying a licence.

So yes I would suggest BSD would be more pragmatic.

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

Post by asethi » 13 Apr 2011 17:30

bentwonk wrote: This is a shame, as we have a number of experienced developers, and would probably add some value to Gelphi, in areas we could share back with the community (we have done this in the past with other projects).
...

So yes I would suggest BSD would be more pragmatic.
I want to echo Bentwonk's post. We are also a company who are developing proprietary graph visualization tools. I can pretty much echo his post verbatim. We are interested in a platform and can contribute to the community with full time developers, but we cannot use the product if we have to publish ALL our modifications. Some of them may be UI based and some analysis based. I personally think Gephi would be a great fit, but the AGPL license isn't compatible.

Is it possible to change Gephi functionality significantly via a closed source plugin?

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

Post by asethi » 13 Apr 2011 17:31

Another question, this thread was started in November. Is there any interest by the software foundation to make a decision one way or the other?

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

Post by bentwonk » 18 Apr 2011 04:22

Just saying I am still watching this with keen interest, we would love to use Gephi, and contributing back the majority of our code. However we simply cannot contribute all our code, so unless we can get an idea of timeframe for the AGPL vs BSD decision we are going to have to opt for a route with less uncertainty.

Please talk to us, we want to help, and have the resources to do so. :)

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

Post by admin » 18 Apr 2011 09:43

Hi,

A vote amongst the developers will stand before the end of the month. We also seriously consider the GNU LGPL license, which is less permissive than AGPL but has some restrictions.

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