Joomla!’s all in on the GPL (well… almost)

The powers that be in the Joomla! project have decreed that they will only accept extensions licensed under the GPL to be listed in the Joomla! Extension Directory (JED) beginning March 1st, and by July 1st, they will remove all non-GPL-licensed extensions from the JED. In one way, I applaud this decision.

A year-and-a-half ago, the Joomla!/OSM team announced their stance that any extension of Joomla! should be licensed under a GPL-compatible license because it constitutes a work derived from a GPL-licensed work. For the record, I disagree with that stance, but I won’t get into that argument here. As much as I may disagree with that stance, I applaud the fact that they are finally taking steps to “clean house,” so to speak, and stop listing non-GPL-compatible extensions in the JED. It’s a bold move, guaranteed to make some people mad, but at least they are sticking to what they say they believe.

Beat, one of the lead developers of the very popular extension, Community Builder, makes a good point that the stand that the team took a year-and-a-half ago was that extensions should be “GPL-compatible,” and the new stance is that they will only accept GPL-licensed extensions. I’m not sure what changed between then and now, but this does seem a bit inconsistent.

Brian Teeman also makes a good point that although Joomla! is licensed under the GPL, it uses libraries that have a license that is incompatible with the GPL. So, technically, Joomla! itself is not purely GPL. For what it’s worth, though, they have indicated that any libraries used in Joomla! that are incompatible with the GPL will ether be relicensed or removed from Joomla!.

Overall, I don’t like the hard-line GPL stance that the core team is taking. I think it’s too fundamentalist and too restrictive on the community as a whole. However, as former Texas Longhorn football (American football, not soccer) coach Darrell Royal would say, “Dance with the one who brung [sic] you.” I’ve been with Joomla! since the beginning, and I will continue to stick with the project that has given me so many opportunities.

3 thoughts on “Joomla!’s all in on the GPL (well… almost)

  1. I also feel that this is a little overboard. Even the FSF publishes a list of GPL-compatible licenses, so there shouldn’t be an issue with listing them on JED.

    In any event, I’m not going to spend hours reading GPL-debate forum threads again ;)

  2. Amen to that. I have no desire to get into the GPL debate again. I think that until someone who wants to enforce the core team’s interpretation of the GPL takes a non-GPL extension developer to court, the issue will never be resolved. It’s all just words, theories, and a little bit of pontificating (from both sides).

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