Interesting article over at information week here discussing the 1st anniversary of the GPL v3 (GNU General Public License Version 3). Now although a discussion about Open Source licenses is a bit like naval gazing or in TWIT speak ‘inside baseball’, as with most legal issues what may not be very important today can become essential when things change (like ownership, control, intent etc.).
One of the software projects under the new GPL v3 is SugarCRM which is probably the most high profile commercial open source projects and as such comes in for plenty of praise and plenty of criticism. With the release of version 5 SugarCRM moved from the Sugar Public License (SPL) to GPL V3 (so they were never a user of GPL v2).
I thought it would be interesting have a look at the most well known Open Source Business Enterprise software projects (OK ‘most well known’ being a completely arbitrary list although I did look at the Sourceforge most active projects in the last 7 days ) to see what open source licenses they use. At this point please let me make it clear that I have no legal training and that the information below has been found on the web in various places, although I have tried to take most from the projects own website. Even if the list is 100% correct today it will no doubt become out of date very quickly. So, if the license that a piece of software is using is important to you, which I think it should be, I would confirm with the project directly. If you are thinking of using a piece of software in a ‘mission critical’ or even a mildly important area I would recommend taking professional legal advise from a person with software license knowledge. Anyway, upon researching I found the following (I have also put links to some of the articles I found at the bottom):
GPL v3 (from Version 5) prior to Version 5 the Sugar Public License being a version of the Mozilla Public License with an attribution clause. Attribution clauses are explained at the bottom of this post.
Openbravo Public License Version 1.1 being the Mozilla Public License version 1.1 with a permitted attribution clause. A copy of the license is available at http://www.openbravo.com/product/legal/license/.
PostBooks Accounting/CRM/ERP by xTuple http://www.xtuple.com/)-
Common Public Attribution License 1.0 (CPAL) based on the Mozilla Public license with a Attribution clause as explained below.
ADempiere ERP Business Suite (www.adempiere.com) –
GNU General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2).
Compiere ERP (http://www.compiere.com/) –
GNU General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2)
JasperReports – Java Reporting ) –
Pentaho (http://www.pentaho.org/) –
GNU General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2)
Alfresco CMS – (http://wiki.alfresco.com/wiki/Main_Page) –
GPL v2 + FLOSS Exception. The Floss Exception(http://www.alfresco.com/legal/licensing/floss_exception/ states basically that people using free software licenses noncompliant with the GPL can sill distribute Alfresco with their software without making their software GPL compliant.
Mysql (www.mysql.com) –
GPL v2 + FLOSS Exception similar to Alfresco see above.
GNU Lesser General Public License v.3 (LGPL) from version 3 onwards
Many companies also offer an alternative commercial licenses including MySQL and Alfresco. Some Project previousley having licences with attribution clauses have moved to GPL V3. Although the GPL V3 is not worded as stronlgy as any attribution clause mentioned here although it does mention ‘The GPL requires all copies to carry an appropriate copyright notice’ this is expeted to be enforced as badgeware but inly time will tell.
Permitted Attribution License or ‘badgeware’ as it is sometimes called requires anyone using the code in a distributed form to show ‘for of attribution’ such as a logo or a badge on the user screens to show the source of the code. The applicable section from the Openbravo license is shown below. In the situation with SugarCRM and Vtiger, as
this clause was not in the license before there was no legal requirement for them to show any such badge and due to this SugarCRM changed their license to include this to stop this happening again.
permitted attribution license
II. Openbravo and Logo.
This License does not grant any rights to use the trademarks “Openbravo
” and the “Openbravo ” logos even if such marks are
included in the Original Code or Modifications.
However, in addition to the other notice obligations, all copies of the Covered Code in Executable and Source Code form distributed must, as a form of attribution of the original author, include on each user interface screen and on program start-up or login screen the “Powered by Openbravo” logo, visible to all users. The dimensions of the
“Powered by Openbravo” logo must be at least 89 x 24 pixels. When users click on the “Powered by Openbravo” logo
it must direct them to http://www.openbravo.com.
The official “Powered by Openbravo” Logos
- nity to test out in the market if those nightmares are actually real,” Mayfield said. ®
- Note from Linis Torvalds covering his view on GPL v3 for the Linux Kernel
- Very useful page on SugarCRMs’s explanation og the GPL v3
- Explanation of the GPL license. Cover all current version 1, 2 and 3 with a link to details on the Affero version.
- Great Article on the original SugarCRM Badgeware issue going back to 2004. This link may bot work but the articale is available in the Tectonic Archives, just search for the title.
- Explanation of Badgeware as created by an attribution clause in an open source license.
- Interesting blog from Tender Systems onslecting an open source license with the ‘attribution clause’