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.
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.
(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.
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?