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OSL-contaminated extensions? 
 
colinmollenhour
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I think it is pretty well established that one can create an extension for Magento that is written from scratch and maintain the right to commercialize it.

I’d like clarification on extensions that aren’t really written from scratch. Example: to hook into a controller’s action at a point to perform some additional action that can’t be done by overriding a model or some similar technique, a coder copies the controller’s source code file into their extension directory and renames the class and adds an override to the config.xml so that Magento now uses the extension’s controller source code instead of the core source code. The coder then modifies a few lines of code to do what needs to be done. Similar situations would be overriding a class and copying one method from it and changing a few lines, or copying a template file and making a few changes to it.

Can the actions described above contaminate the non-OSL status of an extension?

If so, what can be done about it to maintain non-OSL status for the extension?

If not, where is the line drawn between what makes an extension legitimately non-OSL?

It seems that the way this has been dealt with to date is that as long as people aren’t out there creating derivatives of Magento and offering them as competing products to Magento itself there is no issue. I just want to know if that matches the license or at least if that precedent establishes the same intent.

Thanks,
Colin

 
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colinmollenhour
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Thanks for the opinion and the substance, both are very helpful. I believe I am in agreement, the exact definition of “derivative work” is very grey considering all of the points you laid out and the many wiki articles on magentocommerce.com that mention “copy this class and change this” type of instructions. It does very much seem that Varien’s intent is for developers to freely and easily create extensions that follow the Magento core source code conventions. Trying to create an admin backend without writing code that is extremely similar to some piece of core code while keeping with Magento convention would be extremely difficult.

Varien, I know you don’t give legal advice, but can we get some kind of feedback regarding your position on whether or not the basic code structures for things like creating adminhtml grid/form blocks are “common knowledge” or not and therefore safe to copy/paste/edit when creating non-OSL extensions? Perhaps someone could give an example of something that you do consider to be strictly a “derivative work”?

Some examples (not things that I have done):
- Copy a payment gateway module and adapt it to another payment gateway with a slightly different API - ?
- Copy the CMS module and modify it extensively into a wiki module - ?
- Copy a controller into app/code/local/Mage/___ and change a few lines or add functionality- ?

Can you give distinct yes/no answers for the above scenarios?

I’m sure everyone understands that Magento belongs to Varien and to protect it you must license it in such a way that competitors can’t use it against you, but it would really benefit the community to have some clarification and reassurance from the head honchos that work on a module that includes a bit of copy/paste does or does not contaminate the non-OSL status of that work.

 
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