Note: After you read this, make sure you read the first few comments for a considerable expansion of what I’ve written here.
GPL compliance issues are tearing Joomla! apart: There are some problems in the Joomla! camp. After they forked from Mambo, they decided to let companies develop and sell
commercial proprietary, closed-source extensions for it. Many did.
Now, the powers-that-be at Joomla! say they made a mistake and they’ve changed their minds — extensions to Joomla! can no longer be closed source. They’ve asked these companies to release their
commercial proprietary components to open-source.
[…] after two years of allowing proprietary plugins for the open source CMS, the group has decided to ask third-party developers for voluntary compliance with the terms of the GNU General Public License, under which Joomla! is licensed. Those developers are complaining that it’s unfair for Joomla! to reverse its position after “a bunch of companies spent millions,” according to one developer employed by a company that markets the proprietary extensions.
It’s a tough situation. I guess my question is this: what can Joomla! do if the
commercial proprietary extension developers simply refuse? That’s what it appears many of them are going to do.
My opinion? Allow closed source extensions. Open-source and
commercial proprietary software have to meet somewhere. You work through it and forge this interface or you suffer from not having it.
The president of one of the affected companies put it less diplomatically:
“The Joomla! core developers are very young. They don’t have a lot of real life experience. They don’t understand how things work in the real world. If you don’t compensate people in the real world, they’re not going to do it.”
I agree with the last part of it. Open-source is great, but there’s a distinct place in the world for
commercial proprietary software.