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Re: OCA's statement on the announced change of license of Odoo

Open for Small Business, Graeme Gellatly
- 08/02/2015 01:10:59
Hi Christophe,

I must admit I am finding it difficult to reconcile some of your statements and would prefer them debated further for clarification.  Comments inline below.

On Sun, Feb 8, 2015 at 2:52 AM, Christophe Hanon <> wrote:
Dear community,

may be I am the only one, but I don't like AGPL because it put duties on the organisation running the software.

You are not the only one
You buy a 2$ mug from a shop and then you can ask the complete source code a the webshop,

True, only if the webshop has modified the source (and sells mugs), otherwise it is an upstream problem.  In any case 99%+ of that 'source' is not the webshop's.
same for any employee working a day in a company.

Only True if running on a publicly accessible server, otherwise AGPL behave like GPL as Clause 13 is specific to publicly accessible network servers.  Even the case of customer extranet is grey, but for CMS yes this is True.
These are things customer don't want

Maybe, but expecting the efforts of others for free without expecting to give themselves is a rather one sided view.  That said, it is one reason why I prefer GPL over AGPL.  Customers understand GPL, having to explain LGPL, AGPL is a pain.
and IMHO most integrators don't explain it to their customers because if they do so, the customer run away...

Most customers should/would have read the license before engaging an integrator.  In any case the customer should read any license and understand it, just like with any contract or software.

This licence obligations without commercial action about the software itself makes also Odoo in open-source licence (I mean without enterprise private modules incompatible with use of any software patent / copyright which is again a problem. 

The repeated argument is about somebody making money with the software without contribution to the communitty.

In listening to many many responses to the current debate, this was not the most repeated argument and never a strong one.  Lots of people already make money with Odoo without contributing. Belief in software freedom and the customers right to not being locked to a particular integrator were far more common.  The threat of proprietary modules is not the marketplace, it is the integrator.  If you think integrators aren't explaining a commonly used open source license, then imagine what they will do with a proprietary licence that locks their customer in.
I thing it is more a human-psychology issue than anything else and symptomatic a non assumed open-source model.
May be somebody will make a fortune writting a book with LibreOffice

This is unfair, if someone writes an extension to LibreOffice it must be licensed AGPL.  Your claim of writing a book is akin to saying if someone uses Odoo they must share their financials.  Indeed it is strange to use an AGPL licensed software to make the case for why not AGPL.
... So what ? I make money using Python and Postgres... So what ?
And people make money using Odoo, again an unfair comparison.  You are mixing usage with extension.

I respect a lot those who contribute their code and work, one way or another. On the other side, a lot of these contributions on the Odoo eco systems are unfinished, unsupported work.

A key reason for OCA formation.  I had to go through the modules last week, not all of them but say 5 repos worth.  I was amazed by their quality and completeness and the thoroughness of review.  In a short time OCA has achieved a lot to rectify this, largely due to a core of awesome contributors but partly thanks to AGPL.  Indeed the rigour and testing applied to OCA modules I would argue is at least or exceeds the rigour applied to many Odoo internal contributions.
I think commercial offering will increase availability of more finished solutions and those who have such solutions will finally be enabled to advertise them instead of hidding themselves. In a way this will make the 'odoo market' more transparent and more efficient. 

My understanding is one key reason open source rose to become such a popular development methodology is because it has proven to be the most efficient way of creating and distributing software.  But your claim suggests the opposite position, advertising and proprietary modules are the most efficient way of developing software?  I'd be interested to understand the evidence for this.

Please note that having the framework LGPL (or similar business friendly licence) is the only way to get it seriously face to face with other frameworks. 

The only way?

For that reason, I fully support the licence change. Odoo keeps the software open-source and accepts that others are also making business with it. This is true open-source spirit. I think it is the best move concerning the business model since I follow the product and it does not exclude cooperation like the OCA projects.

The OCA excludes cooperation?  In what way, while a number of OCA's best contributors have just come out in support of AGPL, nobody is forcing any contribution on any licence.  OCA has always welcomed contributions under any compatible OSI approved licence, it is just that until now the only compatible one was AGPL.

I did not like the idea of a restricted distribution of the latest version because it would slow down adoption of the product. However I can live with commercial products by Odoo or others. For example mobile apps, connectors, wysiwig report engine etc I am sure this will provide a lot of nice solutions that cannot be easily founded by a project to a single customer.

And Odoo supports your position.  You just cannot use any GPL, or AGPL licensed modules which is pretty hard since Odoo bundles in at least one GPL library already.

Finally, each contributor may have his opinion about how he wants to share his work. But I think AGPL modules on top a LGPL framework, mixed with proprietary modules can only make good to layers wallets.

Not really, we can write a module licence check for that.  If people choose to work around it, then so be it, but they will know their dubious legal position the moment they do so I doubt lawyers would even get involved.  That said I am far from 100% certain of what the new legalities really mean and will wait for professional advice.
For that reason I think the only right solution for open-source contributors willing to ensure the open-source aspect without impeding the usage of its contributions (thus assuming the open-source model completely) is to use the GPL licence.

My preference is for GPL, solely for the CMS thing. But I contribute 2 maybe 3 modules per year.  And if forced to choose between AGPL and LGPL then AGPL would win 99 times out of 100.  If the guys writing 10-20-30 say AGPL then that is their right as a developer.  If you choose not to use it because it is AGPL that is your right as a consumer.  But they wrote it, they can choose how they want their software used.  If they believe in software freedom, then the only right solution for them is one which ensures software freedom.  Requesting them to compromise their beliefs just so someone can run a paid module is unreasonable.  Indeed, such an approach would ensure the end of community collaboration and the departure of many of the developers.  There is a difference between a convenient solution and a right solution and a big difference between open source development methods and free software philosophy.

Have a great week-end !


Christophe Hanon 

Kind regards,