A question about the Lizence.Therms to Use
I have installed Open Xchange from this Repo on Debian 5.0.
The Testinstallation is working propper
deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/server:/OX:/snapshot/DebianLenny/ /
Under wich Lizence the packages are publicated? In a produktive environment do i have to buy a Lizence? Or is this Opensource Software without warranty and support but free to use?
kind regards Darko
the Server components are released under the terms of GPLv2. The user interface (Web GUI) is licensed unter the terms of a Creative Commons license prohibiting commercial usage in terms of re-selling the software or offering the software to third parties.
So, if you want to use it internally at your company or for personal its legal to use it without any additional license fees. But as you already stated there is no support included in any way. Of course some of the Open-Xchange employees help at this forums or the IRC to answer questions etc. but without any warranty or SLA about the software.
I think if you're using the software at a company you want have somebody to be in charge to get professional support - even if that may cost a few euro/dollars. I don't want to force you doing something, but in most cases a support/license agreement will cost less than a administrator figuring out how to fix it for one working day a month.
The software is completely Open-Source, only very few parts are not public - for example special implementations for customers backends that cannot be disclosed - but those are typically not general interest modules. The packages for Debian Lenny are currently snapshots, meaning they are taken each day from the latest development state. Those can not be seen as stable releases. If you wish to get support, those agreements only cover stable releases.
Hope that sheds some light
Originally Posted by Martin Braun
I can think of only a couple of reasons for the relicensing. Let me know if I'm way off in this:
- Protect the OX brand against incompetent commercial entities offering OX
- Serve as a safeguard against loss of revenue from commercial entities offering OX
I don't think OX's brand is valuable enough to warrant change in licensing. Also, at least part of these entities rebrand OX anyways, thus having little effect on the OX brand value. As for lost revenue... I doubt the OX installations done by other commercial entities sabotages your sales. The way I see it, there are four primary reasons for this:
- The external entities' customers would not have heard of, much less bought, OX if not for the marketing done by the external entity. So it's _highly_ unlikely that those customers would have found and used your services in the first place. Also, if a customer is dissatisfied with the external entity, he'll know who to turn to for help (=you).
- You still have the proprietary add-ons (e.g. Outlook connector) which provides add-on value to _your_ commercial offer. This is something external entities don't have.
- There are _lots_ of alternatives out there (Zimbra, 100+ less known groupware suites). By alienating other commercial entities you just shoot yourself in the leg, as they move to other groupware solutions. No matter how you look at it, there's nothing unique with OX, so moving to another groupware is relatively easy feature-vise.
- The CC "non-commercial" clause is easy to work around, as it's not designed for software (see below)
The CC license seems an especially bad choice for an application. In fact, Creative Commons itself discourages the use of CC licenses for software:
The Creative Commons non-commercial clause is ambiguous, even according to CC. They "are working to clarify the issue":
In any case there are several loopholes in it, given it's not designed for software. It all boils down to the CC statement:
This clause works just fine for creative content (music, video) that's sold as-is or in remixed form. This means creative content itself is valuable and the "non-commercial" clause works well to prevent commercial usage. However, it is relatively easy to work around the "non-commercial" restriction in software applications:
Noncommercial — You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
- If we sell support for CC-licensed "non-commercial" OX, we're not "using the work" for commercial purposes - rather we're providing add-on services on top of the work. So we're not violating the licensing terms.
- If we install OX's GPL-licensed server component and give the customer instructions to install the WebUI (or the entire software stack), we're not violating the licensing terms.
Also, it's not clear whether a commercial entity (e.g. company) can use the relicensed OX for their own internal usage, even though you claim they can. Could you provide a link to your source?
I think you should definitely reconsider your new choice of licensing. Preferably revert back to GPLv2. By combining this with enhanced community management and developer documentation (e.g. https://core.forge.funambol.org/) you'll start getting more contributions from the other commercial entities, too. As OX is not a general-purpose application and there _are_ lots of alternatives, you will probably never have a really big development community. Nevertheless, current community management seems to be less than optimal. For example, we tried to contribute our complete Finnish translation for months and failed:
Nevertheless, our company has contributed quite a lot of valuable documentation into your Wiki. We were just about to start using (and possibly contributing to) the Funambol OX connector, but now we have to rethink our plans regarding OX.
I'm hoping you reconsider your new licensing terms, as they only hurt you and I can't see any concrete advantages for them.
thank you for the reply, i am not the licensing/legal guy (neither is anyone of them browsing the forums frequently i think). If you have license concerns or look for a solution for a licensing problem please contact the company directly: http://www.open-xchange.com/en/contactus
All official license statements are located here:
I sent a question about the licensing terms using the "Contact us" form a week ago and haven't received a response. Prior to that I had asked twice about becoming "official" maintainers of the Finnish translation. I didn't get any response to either of those earlier messages.
Is there any other way I could contact Open X-change (the company)?
All the best,
Martin pointed out your comments on our choice of license, so here are some thoughts from one of the people responsible for it.
The creative commons licensing gives us a chance to
- differentiate between hosted and on-premises installations
The "non-commercial" clause allows on-premises installations, but forbids hosted offerings based on Open-Xchange. We developed the solution together with 1and1.com, and we share revenue generated from mailxchange.com with them.
Releasing the OX frontend under a more permissive license would enable everybody else to compete on unjust terms, because there would be no revenue share enforcable.
So the people who invested would not harvest. Wrong in our mind.
- people who do not like our frontend can easily use an open source alternative like Thunderbird / Sunbird or similar, and omit all our restrictions.
All in all, we just reserve the right to decide what we offer for free, and where we want to drive business to pay our bills.
The control points we employ are about as community friendly as they come.
Because the ease of use that comes with a hosted offering from one of our partners can always be replicated on-premises if a user wants absolute control and no fees attached.
So in the end it is convenience that we sell, rather than to tax you an using your data like in a closed environment.
Just to point out the obvious: we did not change our license from GPLv2 to CC. For some years now we have been releasing our backend (including recent features like Social OX, http://ox.io) under GPLv2. And the same applies for our AJAX GUI, our frontend, which is released under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ .
And to make it explicit: this license on the frontend restricts deployments that you offer for a fee to third parties, means hosted deployments. If you offer your services to set up an on-premises solution for a client of yours that is within the license.
Hope that did clarify things a bit.
Last edited by gecko; 08-07-2009 at 09:00 PM.
me again. I will look into the issue of this unanswered mail of yours on monday. My apologies.
You sure know about the proverbial extend of summer holidays here in Germany. And that probably prevented us from showing due diligence.
Thanks for your offer, we will find somebody to come back to you.
Last edited by gecko; 08-07-2009 at 09:02 PM.