OCA & Odoo Meeting on Licenses

June 02, 2015

Prior to this year's Open Days in Louvain-La-Neuve, the OCA Board met with the Odoo leadership team to discuss the impacts of Odoo SA relicensing to LGPL.  Bystanders were Fabien Pinckaers (Odoo CEO), Xavier Pansaers (Odoo CSO), Alexandre Vandermeersh (Odoo CMO), Olivier Dony (Community Manager), Joël Grand-Guillaume (OCA President), Maxime Chambreuil (OCA Vice-president), Eric Caudal (OCA Board member), and Luc Maurer (OCA Board member).

Introduction

Let’s remind everyone some important facts that led to that meeting:

  • For the past 6 years, Odoo SA has released all Odoo versions under AGPLv3.

  • Odoo SA will release the next version of Odoo, version 9, under LGPLv3.

  • Odoo SA’s motives for this change were:

    • promote additional sources of revenues to partners, community and Odoo SA (selling modules)

    • AGPLv3 is not suitable for a CMS whereas LGPLv3 is

  • OCA modules are mostly licensed under AGPLv3.

  • The license of a module in the community is the choice of the developer, not the user, and neither Odoo SA nor the OCA wants to put pressure on the end-user concerning such a technical/legal point.

  • Nevertheless, both parties agreed as well to protect the end user against license related legal proceedings. AGPLv3 constraints should apply to the developers of modules, not end-users.


That being said, remember that the following statement represents the position of the OCA regarding its code base. Every contributor and developer is free to make his/her own opinion and choices regarding his/her own contribution and developments.

Getting Odoo SA and OCA agreement

After considering many options, Odoo SA and the OCA reached an agreement in order to have a clear and public intention about our interpretation of the license for our modules. The idea is to protect as much as possible the end-user, and provide clarity to all ecosystem participants.

 

A module here represents an Odoo addon, with a manifest file expressing the license used and the dependencies on other modules.

We agreed that an end-user can run Enterprise Edition Proprietary modules and AGPLv3 modules together if said modules do not depend on each other and depend only on core LGPLv3 modules. In other words, any module must be compatible and respect the license of its dependencies defined in the “depends” key of its manifest file.

Odoo text and image block
Odoo image and text block

This sounds complicated but actually it is really simple and a few examples will allow you to manage it:

  • a Proprietary module cannot depend on an AGPLv3 module

  • a Proprietary module can depend on an Enterprise Edition Proprietary module

  • an AGPLv3 module cannot depend on an Enterprise Edition Proprietary module or a module with an incompatible license

  • an LGPLv3 module can depend on an Enterprise Edition Proprietary module and vice-versa

Odoo text and image block

In pratice, what does this mean?

 

This agreement protects end-users using Enterprise Edition Proprietary modules and OCA modules against license related legal proceedings by the OCA and Odoo SA.

 

Existing contributors investments remain protected. OCA AGPLv3 contributions remain AGPLv3 and cannot be used as a dependency by any proprietary module.

 

The end-user cannot be held responsible of the choice of license from the developer. The later is fully responsible to properly license his/her work.

 

Odoo SA and the OCA will not start legal actions against the end-users who would follow the precepts above described (non dependency of proprietary and AGPLv3 modules).

 

Odoo SA asked the OCA to recommend LGPLv3 license instead of the AGPLv3 for frontend modules (a user would probably want to avoid having to release the source code of his/her website). The OCA decided to stay neutral and will provide a FAQ on its website to explain the different scenarios allowed or not for each license. OCA contributors can choose any OSI-compatible license for their work to contribute to the OCA, as it has always been the case.

 

To mitigate any future licensing compatibility issues, Odoo SA will enforce a license compatibility check for all modules through the Apps platform

OCA Contributor License Agreement

The CLA is a document signed by all contributors to the OCA repositories in order to give a copy of the copyright to the Association.

 

We remind you that the purpose of the CLA is to allow the OCA to protect the contributors' interests for their contributions within the OCA as a whole and it is not here to change the license chosen by contributors without their consent. If such a license change were to happen in the future, the OCA will ask the Delegate Assembly to vote on it. Having this possibility is important for the future and the reliability of our work, but will never be used against the contributors' consent.

Continued collaboration

Thanks to this agreement, both organizations wish to continue a long term and profitable cooperation in the management of the community, the product and the business:

  • Odoo SA aims to change its business model from selling services to selling features. To achieve this, they will release some features only for a fee or within the Odoo Enterprise contract.

  • Nevertheless, they will continue to contribute actively to the Community Edition for the ORM, base addons, standard UI and ensure a stable Open Source version for the long term. You can get more information about Odoo SA’s point of view through these two presentations:

  • OCA contributors will continue focusing and collaborating on specific or advanced features, vertical solutions and localizations.

  • The core addons in LGPLv3 will continue to be a solid foundation for the development of advanced features by the OCA and contributors.

  • The OCA and Odoo SA will work together on the LGPLv3 core.

The Odoo Community Association, or OCA, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the collaborative development of Odoo features and promote its widespread use. The Association provides financial, organizational and legal support to the broader Odoo Open Source community. It also serves as an independent legal entity to which community members can contribute to the code, the funding and other resources, with the knowledge that their contributions will be maintained for public benefit. More about us on http://odoo-community.org/.

Odoo S.A. is the software vendor of the Odoo Apps (formerly OpenERP). Odoo S.A. is a company founded in 2004 by Fabien Pinckaers, its current CEO. It has now 250 employees, 6 offices (Belgium, US San Francisco, US New York, Luxembourg, India,  Hong Kong) and activities in 120 countries with a vast partner network of more than 550 official partners.

Odoo is the fastest evolving business software in the world. Odoo has a complete suite of business applications covering all business needs, from Website/Ecommerce down to manufacturing, inventory and accounting, all seamlessly integrated. It is the first time ever a software editor managed to reach such a functional coverage.