Open Source Licencing

Dear Readers,

Pentaho has just announced they will embrace GPLV2 licence type for their next release of the Pentaho Platform 1.7 GA. There are other well-known recent precedent of products changing their licence policy, such as EXT Framework or MyGWT library (for those we are currently using), bringing some confusion in the Open Source community

In those case, this simply means that if you didn’t take attention to those evolutions, you can embed a component with a licence type that has just became incompatible with your product’s licence type. In our case, we removed MyGWT from our set of embeded components (for exemple).

Pentaho GPLV2 is for the Pentaho platform (meaning : the core engine – xaction engine and some components, understanding all other projects such as Mondrian, JFree or Kettle will keep their own licence type). Along with going to GPL, Pentaho will release a Floss licence for customers and OEM partners … for simple people like me, understanding this change and how it apply is a little bit complicated in terms of “what does this exactly means and why Pentaho did this”, “how is it possible to change a licence type ‘like this'” and “how does this impact our development”, keeping in mind that Pentaho is a commercial Open Source company.

Having read carefully the announcement and how it applies, I think turning to GPL V2 is nice for the Pentaho platform, and it won’t have any impact on our business (correct me if I’m wrong, I understood it means you have to release your code if you perfom enhancement in the Pentaho Platform … things we already did many times in order to improve this Platform).

By the way, I spent again some times in the Open Source licence list : http://www.opensource.org/licenses/and I found it so difficult to really understand what is a good licence type. It reminds me to a discussion I had with an open source promoter when I told him that “too many licences type will kill the Open source licence approach”, and that majority of users only require only a product services. If you think as projects such as salesforce.com, you don’t care any more about salesforce licence, but only use it as a services. Konwn as “Software as Services”, this kind of architecture will simplify your life, as you don’t have to invest times any more to take care about the evolution of the different components of your internal architecture.

Have Fun !

Patrick

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