Magento Licensing Update
With the pending release of Magento 1.1.7 (expected by the end of Nov.), we are pleased to announce a licensing change to make clear that your own versions of Magento’s design packages (templates, themes, layouts, skins), language packs, and configuration files, including XML files used to direct Magento’s functionality, although they are derivative works of Magento under copyright law, need not be disclosed to anyone. As such, those files will be licensed by Varien under AFL 3.0 (http://opensource.org/licenses/afl-3.0.php). This license is identical to OSL 3.0 except it does not require you to disclose the source code of derivative works. (See section 1(c) of AFL 3.0.). Please see a related post about Magento Connect extension licensing.
The licensing for Magento software as distributed by Varien (outside of the aforementioned files and third party libraries) continues to be licensed under OSL 3.0 (http://opensource.org/licenses/osl-3.0.php) with no changes whatsoever.
What does this mean to me?
It is important to note that changes made to the files licensed under OSL 3.0 are considered derivative works. As such, you must disclose any changes you make to the OSL 3.0-licensed copyrighted works whenever you distribute Magento or make your Magento store or software available over the web to a third party. (See sections 1(c) and 5 of OSL 3.0.). For example, modifications made to the Magento Core files and distributed must be licensed under OSL 3.0 and made publicly available.
For organization seeking to waive the OSL 3.0 license requirement to disclose such changes for derivative works, Varien offers a Magento commercial license. Varien’s dual-licensing for Magento is based on the principle of quid pro quo - Latin for “something for something” or “a favor for a favor.” In return of the advantages you gain from using Magento, we ask that you contribute your changes back to the Magento community under the same license. Alternatively, as mentioned, you can obtain a commercial license from Varien which waives the requirement to disclose such changes.
Varien’s OSL 3.0 and AFL 3.0 licenses do not require you to disclose independent works, including extensions that you create yourself or that you license from a third party even if they override functional classes in the Magento Core—as long as those works aren’t copies or derivative works of Varien’s copyrighted Magento software.
Varien encourages participation by both open source and commercial parties in the Magento platform. We offer Magento under OSI-approved open source licenses. We encourage you to build unique online commerce sites using our software and we are excited to foster a community process and a software architecture that permits your private and commercial extensions to be combined freely with Magento.
A new licensing forum is now available to discuss licensing issues. We welcome your feedback and appreciate your continued support.