Dual licensing: GPL or Memba EULA?

Oct 24, 2008 at 1:49 PM

I just wanted to raise some issues that potentially surround this project. 

I am hoping that others who use this project can assist me as the licensing details around this project are currently very fuzzy for me and has created a lot of confusion.

It was my understanding that projects upload and hosted by CodePlex are covered only by the 

Microsoft Public License agreement and cannot be further covered by another agreement such as GPL - is this correct?

This project seems to have up to three licenses covering it - Microsoft Public License, GPL and the Memba Outlook EULA and there seems to be some contradiction between them.

Here is my main question, if we use this project and modify the source code a little to change some of the end user user interface to better fit our workflow, what are we bound by?  We have no problem uploading our changes to a publicly accessible IP as stated by the GPL but are we bound to send out a copy of the source code with each velodoc file as Outlook EULA states?  If so this project is useless in GPL mode as it means that every file upload by the outlook add in requires the source code to be include which makes it pointless to use.  As an example I send several files to a colleague and they reecive the files that I sent and the full source code.  The inclusion of the source code is confusing and wastes bandwidth.

The project rocks but the implementation of the licensing is another thing and the developers seems to have lost sight of the true essence of open source projects.

The following is the blurb from the Outlook EULA which I am not sure can apply

"The GPL license which is free but requires that you do not distribute (including access or display on the Internet) to people outside your organization, without giving Memba credit and without providing the source code. Since a Velodoc package is a copyrighted file format covered by the license and since you may send a Velodoc package outside your organization, the GPL license requires that you also send the source code. Note that developers can freely use the GPL license for any deployment in their development environment."

Thoughts and comments?

Oct 26, 2008 at 4:18 PM
Edited Nov 8, 2008 at 6:29 PM

Let me cover all the points in your discussion post:
  1. First, forget about the Microsoft Public License. When you create a Codeplex project, you can select whichever open source license agreement you want. We have chosen the GPL and not the Microsoft Public License, which does not apply at all.
  2. The GPL states that any distribution of all or part of the software shall include the source code. With the GPL, you get the benefit of free software but there is a constraint. If you are not happy with this constraint, we also offer the Memba EULA which removes this constraint for a license fee. The Memba EULA is an alternative to the GPL; both licenses do not apply in conjunction. Please note that many software companies work this way (see Red-Hat Linux or Sun MySQL). For other examples, see: http://gaiaware.net/product/dual-licensing.
  3. People often confuse open souce software with free (as in zero-price) software, but the "true essence of open-source" is reciprocity, i.e. if you benefit from open-source software to build your applications, you shall contribute back to the community what the community has given you and distribute your derived works as open-source software. If you do not accept to do that, there is no reason why we should not get some money for our work. We are a business, we have shareholders and our only purpose is to make money. Besides, we need money to fund projects that "rock" and support our users.
  4. Finally we are very flexible and are happy to discuss any reasonably-sized project on a case by case basis, looking at the return on investment and true value derived from implementing our software in order to determine the price.

 I hope I have answered your questions and concerns.

Nov 8, 2008 at 6:26 PM
Edited Nov 8, 2008 at 6:27 PM
In order to further the discussion about the relation between open-source software and price, please look at the definition of free software on the GNU web site. They say:
"Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer."