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License issue. Using Magento to create client sites
 
StoreMakerPro
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I am a bit confused as to what happens if I create a site using magento and its osl license.

Does that site become open source?

Thank you for any input.

 
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adimagento
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Have you had a chance to review this license FAQ page?

 
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LeeSaferite
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@Adi

Could you address the situation where a company modifies the core Magento code to implement a feature?  I was reading the OSL and the License FAQ and some legal interpretations of the OSL today and realized that if you follow the letter of the OSL, any changes to the Magento Core files makes your code fall under the OSL.  I understand that a Module that interfaces with Magento falls outside the scope of the OSL, but it seems like most people are modifying the Magento Core in one way or another.  Are they all in violation of the OSL now?

 
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marc_j
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@Lee Saferite - Modifying the core is certainly not a violation of the OSL license. The interesting issue is distribution. If you distribute the changes (depending on some factors) they will most likely need to be distributed under the OSL license.

 
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J_T_
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What I say here is based on GPL so not exactly true for Magento but anyway…

If your extension/hack/whatever modifies the licensed code, your code falls under that license automatically. That doesn’t mean you can’t charge for your work and it doesn’t mean you have to offer it publicly for people to scrutinize, use and download. It will mean your client owns all the rights (as per the license) to that code just like you and everybody else does. The way I understand it, this is even true of you were to use proper Magento Modules without modifying the core code because you still add files to the tree and your code gets merged in config files (though I’m no lawyer and may be wrong).

In GPL it worked so that you can give your code a proprietary license if it doesn’t modify the existing files but interacts with them in a stand-alone fashion. For example, by using an API or bit of middle-ware that passes data back and forth, you can make sure your extension remains outside the GPL.

Realizing that the GPL and OSL aren’t all that different, I am pretty sure the above also applies to Magento modules.

 
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LeeSaferite
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Actually, if you read anything about the Joomla fiasco you would know that ‘extensions’ to GPL code are not cut and dried things.  The FSF has interpreted the GPL to include modules as derivative works.  Which caused all Joomla Extensions (maybe not some?) to be subject to the GPL.

However, I was simply asking about the fact that, according to the OSL, modifying Magento Core subjects your changes to the OSL.  I was wanting a clarification about the fact that large numbers of developers are currently hacking away inside the codebase and shouldn’t that mean they must release those changes under the OSL?

I understand that modules that do not modify the core can be under any license the developer wishes.  But, changes to the core are different.  Varien is explicitly trying to get people to stop modifying the core due to upgrade issues, but if changing the core requires you to license your changes under OSL, who enforces that?  And where do I get those changes?

And as a note, just putting your changes into the core and then allowing access to the website means your changes should be licensed under the OSL, according to my reading of the text.

Anyway, could a Varien member who has spoken to their council please inform the community of the consequences of editing the Magento Core files?

(Yes, I read the FAQ, and yes I read the part directed at developers, I’m looking for clarification)

 
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LeeSaferite
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@marc_j

I’m sorry if I implied or said that editing the core was a license violation.  I know that is not true.  I was just noticing that lots of peopl are editing the core and I wondered why we don’t see the code under OSL.

 
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RoyRubin
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@Lee Saferite - As far as I know modifying the core is not a violation of the OSL license. What specific provision in the license are you referring to?

 
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J_T_
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Lee Saferite - 18 September 2008 11:46 AM

I was just noticing that lots of peopl are editing the core and I wondered why we don’t see the code under OSL.

Because they don’t have an obligation to distribute their edits. They can keep them in-house for as long as they want. It’s not a violation, just their right. It’s already OSL when they are sitting on it, as it modified OSL code but only when they distribute it does it start having an impact as far as what they can and can’t do ro what they can and can’t claim.

 
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LeeSaferite
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@Roy

I think my ‘in violation’ question is being taken wrong.

I mean, since they are not releasing their changes under the OSL, which is a requirement if you create a derivative work, are they in violation of the license?

I know that creating a module that does not modify the original code is not a derivative work and is not subject to OSL §1(c), that is not my question.

EDIT: Fixed typo, added section symbol

 
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LeeSaferite
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@J.T.

Just making your site accessible is considered distribution under the OSL

So, once your site is live, it would seems like you are obligated to release changes to the core under the OSL.

5) External Deployment. The term “External Deployment” means the use, distribution, or communication of the Original Work or Derivative Works in any way such that the Original Work or Derivative Works may be used by anyone other than You, whether those works are distributed or communicated to those persons or made available as an application intended for use over a network. As an express condition for the grants of license hereunder, You must treat any External Deployment by You of the Original Work or a Derivative Work as a distribution under section 1(c).

Clarification:  I am not talking about custom modules here, I’m talking about changes to the code Varien has released under the OSL

EDIT:  Adding clarification

 
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RoyRubin
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@Lee Saferite - OK - I wanted to make sure it was 1(c) you are referring to. This provision is relevant in case of distribution only.

To clarify, a distribution of derivative work must be licensed under OSL (as per the license). If you do see distributions of derivative work that is not licensed under OSL 3.0, this is clearly a violation.

 
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LeeSaferite
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@Roy

See my previous comment.  Making your application available for use over a network is considered distribution under the OSL.  Right? 

So, at that point they are obligated to make the source available under the OSL aren’t they?

EDIT: Fixed typos.  My speeling sucks.  =)

 
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LeeSaferite
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This explains the OSL a little more as well

 
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LeeSaferite
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@roy

Ok, so my understanding of OSL 3.0 is this:

If you make a module that does not modify the Original Work then you are free to license that any way you like.
If you edit the Original Work in any way, and you distribute that work according to §5, you are now subject to §1(c) .
If you are subject to §1(c) and you do not release your changes under the OSL and provide inexpensive and convenient access to the source, then you are in violation of the OSL and subject to §9.  That means you cannot use Magento at that point.

Did I misunderstand anything about the OSL or it’s application to Magento?

I’m not looking to start any argument.  I just actually read the OSL closely today and realized that my company needed to be very careful about what we change.  I also realized that most developers are probably in violation at this point and subject to §9 of the OSL.

I think that Varien should clarify this point to the community now so we can all ensure we comply with the OSL.

 
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RoyRubin
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@Lee Saferite - Indeed, the license treats distribution over a network as a distribution and is thus subject to clause 1(c).

If a user is distributing the software via network (ie. on-demand, hosted), any derivative work must be licensed under the OSL license.

Hope this clarifies things.

 
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