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All add-ons become GNU GPL if they are un-maintained

Discussion in 'General XenForo Discussion and Feedback' started by Mouth, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. Mouth

    Mouth Well-Known Member

    Food for thought ...

    XF updates it T&C's to say that add-on's/styles uploaded to the Resource Manager that are marked as unmaintained/deleted by the strict housekeeping process have their license changed to GNU GPL. Dev's are aware of this when adding or updating add-on's.

    This will ensure fairness for everyone, as it will encourage dev's to sell or otherwise pass on their add-on's if they no longer wish to maintain them, or otherwise make/let them become open source. The original dev does not loose, because the add-on is not being sold anymore and is unmaintained anyway (or they've sold it/them off to another dev) and the rest of the XF community benefits because the add-on is available for others to pick-up and fix/improve.

    Add-ons for XF 2+ would be a perfect time to introduce this, if not beforehand.

    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  2. Dakota Storm

    Dakota Storm Well-Known Member

    It will also ensure a lot less addons in the RM. I can't see many devs agreeing to this.
    gfc, Arty, Mike Creuzer and 4 others like this.
  3. Mouth

    Mouth Well-Known Member

    Why? There's no loss for a dev. If they make good add-ons, they can sell them or otherwise pass them on. They'd want to do this anyway before they're removed or unmaintained. Alternatively, they go to the community, and in this instance the dev has already abandoned them anyway (that's why housekeeping has applied to them).
    If the dev is not willing to agree to this, then perhaps that speaks volume's about the dev's upfront commitment?
    And if some add-ons or dev's are lost to this, I think less quantity and high quality and supported add-on's / styles are a better option for XF and the community anyway?

    Of course, very interested in what dev's think of this and why they wouldn't agree to it.
    Glockie likes this.
  4. sbj

    sbj Well-Known Member

    This would shift the RM listing to somewhere else. Wouldn't solve anything. Forcing people to give up their copyrights won't do good for this community.
    I can't see this working at all.
    Terror likes this.
  5. Mouth

    Mouth Well-Known Member

    But no reason as to why you think that?
    For most (all?) good add-on's there 'home' is already elsewhere anyway, and they still rely on XF RM to 'advertise' their add-on.
  6. Snog

    Snog Well-Known Member

    I don't see this happening. Just because an author stops supporting an add-on doesn't mean he's not going to produce that add-on for another system. Giving up copyright to the XF version would mean giving up copyright across the board. The core functions of an add-on can usually be used across platforms so giving up copyright to one, gives up copyright for all.
    gfc, tyteen4a03, Liam W and 1 other person like this.
  7. Mouth

    Mouth Well-Known Member

    No, copyright and licensing is not the same thing. Since the add-on wouldn't work on another system in it's current form then the GNU GPL doesn't apply. GPL doesn't apply to the idea/concept or the output, just the code.

    Joomla and Drupal both enforce GPL for their extensions/add-ons, and it's not affected the quantity that they have.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  8. RobParker

    RobParker Well-Known Member

    The main problem I see with this is that the "unmaintained" flag here is pretty strict and is applied to stuff that is still working fine and doesn't need updates.
    Steve F and Glockie like this.
  9. Snog

    Snog Well-Known Member

    Actually yes it does apply.

    If you were to look at a couple of my add-ons when they were first released, a good portion of the code in the vB version and the XF version were virtually identical. So, giving up copyright for the code in the vB version would have given up my copyright to the XF version.
  10. Mouth

    Mouth Well-Known Member

    Don't see how that's a problem. It's unmaintained because the developer has abandoned the add-on. As I understand, XF's housekeeping process involves the author not visiting XF.com, so an author active on the site doesn't get add-on unmaintained just because they've not (unnecessarily) posted an add-on update or thread message. Who's to say that 1.5.11 (if released, won't break add-ons) as we saw with many add-ons with 1.5.5? (or thereabouts). Then no-one has any options if the author is not around, you cannot fix it without breaking copyright.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
    Glockie likes this.
  11. RobParker

    RobParker Well-Known Member

    I'm fairly sure you're wrong. Lots of addons are marked as unmaintained despite the developer being active on here. XenPorta is the obvious example.

    The football prediction addon is working absolutely fine for us but hasn't been updated in ages. It's marked as unmaintained but the author was last online a few days ago.
  12. Mouth

    Mouth Well-Known Member

    As I understand GPL, yours is a common misconception. Can you point out where this is explained?
    And again, license and copyright are not the same thing.
    The code to perform the outcome is under GPL, since the shared code by itself means the outcomes does not work on the other system, then GPL does not automatically transfer across to different systems/products. Unless your shared code was distributed as it's own library.
  13. Mouth

    Mouth Well-Known Member

    "If resource authors wish to avoid their resources being affected by routine housekeeping, they should ensure the account used to list the resource is the one they use to visit the site with on a regular basis and to provide support on the dedicated threads."
    I'd suggest those examples you gave, the author either chose to mark them unmaintained (there's many examples of this) or stopped responding/providing support in the add-on thread.
    Glockie likes this.
  14. Glockie

    Glockie Well-Known Member

    I will add to this that an add-on we use, was recently marked as unmaintained which is an active and working add-on.
    When I posted to the thread pretty much questioning the dev as to why, because it works for us etc staff here mentioned they did it and it was their housekeeping policy.
    Which is fine and their right of course.

    When I read carefully the post about housekeeping which was also sent to me at the same time - it is also mentioned that unmaintained can be applied if authors/devs also request people post for support etc off site - as in off XF.
    Which in all honesty, I think is pretty fair.
    Going off site means some things cannot be monitored but most of all, content and community help/support is being syphoned off elsewhere.

    As for the OP.. I think it's a tricky one and definitely one for a devs' point of view. :)
  15. Snog

    Snog Well-Known Member

    By default, the GPL allows derivative work to be produced from the code. By retaining the copyright and not releasing via GPL, nobody can produce a derivative product for say MyBB using any portion of the code that might be common to all systems.
    Glockie likes this.
  16. Mouth

    Mouth Well-Known Member

    GPL code can be used within proprietary code, providing that the author of such works makes their source code available upon request. Making it available does not mean you are giving them GPL license (use, reuse, copy, modify, distribute) to your proprietary code, just that you are complying with GPL by making your proprietary code reviewable. Since XF add-on's are already fully code reviewable anyway (I'm not aware of any add-on's using code obfuscation?) then by simply using shared code within your add-on's between systems does not mean that people can utilise your non-shared proprietary code under GPL terms.
  17. SneakyDave

    SneakyDave Well-Known Member

    If this is put in place , then you're saying that XenForo basically owns the code for the add-on, not the developer.

    I don't think many people would go for that.
    tyteen4a03, Robust and Snog like this.
  18. Snog

    Snog Well-Known Member

    I don't think you understand what a GPL license does...
    To limit what can and can't be used in a program is more of a pain than you might realize. There's no way I would give up copyright and go with GPL.
  19. Mouth

    Mouth Well-Known Member

    ... if the developer chooses to abandon that add-on.
    Yes. And does not sell, pass on, or remove the add-on before it reaches the unmaintained state.
    I don't see how that's unreasonable.
  20. Snog

    Snog Well-Known Member

    So, the same would apply to XenForo, vB or any other commercial software itself. If a version is no longer maintained, then it passes to GPL? I don't think so.
    tyteen4a03, SneakyDave and JustinHawk like this.

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