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ConcourseConnect Open Source Licensing

Posted by Tom Manos on June 3, 2009 9:35 AM EDT
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I thought I'd take a moment and talk about the way we license ConcourseConnect, and why.

Connect is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License Version 3 (AGPL), which is OSI approved, and very similar to the GPL3. It is a "viral" license, in that any modifications you make to the code must also be redistributed under the AGPL, and the same applies if you provide Connect to users over the network.

We chose the AGPL because it provides the most freedom to the community and insures that all improvements and bug fixes are shared and can become a part of the main distribution. All users and providers of the system realize the benefits.

What this means to you as a provider of the application is that the AGPL requires that the complete source code of your version be made available to any network user of your version of Connect . Of course this does not apply to content, but it does apply to themes, portlets, workflows, new modules, plugins, or any other code changes to Connect. You assume the burden of making all your code changes available, but you also receive the similar benefit of using the improvements made by Concursive and other users of the system.

The only possible downside to you, the provider of Connect, is that the license does not permit you to provide proprietary additions to the application without also redistributing them. But in fact, there is a commercial licensing scheme that provides you exactly what you want: a fully supported version of Connect, with major functionality additions designed for production Connect systems, and the ability to add your own modifications without restriction.

To learn more about the Affero GNU Public License V3, follow this link:

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl-3.0.html

To learn more about the different versions of ConcourseConnect, follow this link:

http://www.concursive.com/show/concourseconnect/wiki/Versions

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In hindsight, it almost feels inevitable that after countless anti-trust lawsuits and reticence towards third-party developers, Microsoft has opened up its major APIs. Following the likes of Google, a company that strongly encourages community development on its products, Microsoft's move seems a bit overdue but ultimately quite logical.

More and more software focus is turning away from desktop computing towards web applications and services. The SaaS phenomenon is one example, as is the increasingly visible open source movement.

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Sun Shines $1B on Open Source Database MySQL

Posted by Michael Harvey on January 17, 2008 9:40 PM EST
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Huge news in the Open Source world today: Sun Microsystems announced that it will spend $1B to acquire the Open Source database MySQL. MySQL is the back-end of the LAMP stack (Linux OS, Apache server, MySQL database, and PHP programming language), on which many web applications are based, not to mention web giants like Facebook and Google. The press release can be read here, which contains the following paragraph:

"This broad penetration coupled with MySQL's strength in Web 2.0, Software as a Service (SaaS), enterprise, telecom and the OEM embedded market make it an important fit for Sun. With MySQL, Sun will have the ability to deepen its existing customer relationships and create new opportunities with companies seeking the flexibility and ease-of-use of open source systems. With MySQL, Sun will have the ability to deepen its existing customer relationships and create new opportunities with companies seeking the flexibility and ease-of-use of open source systems."

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Increased Security through Open Source

Posted by Michael Harvey on January 15, 2008 8:30 AM EST
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On Friday I wrote about the debate going on around Open Source security. Let me restate: bugs in software are not related to the fact that the source code is freely available. In fact, open source software has fewer bugs due to the constant scrutinization and programming skills of its development community.

On the topic of security this article in ZDNet Asia, uses an Open Source adoption study from IDC as its reference point and states that: "Security was the top reason for deploying open source technology". This alternative view just shows how different the press can approach one facet of technology. The article cites an IDC analyst, Prianka Srinivasan, who talks about how Open Source is seen by its advocates as providing more secure software than closed source alternatives.

The article also talks about how companies are taking an interest in open source versions of CRM, and so they should be. The combination of innovation, security and the ability to connect with customers, partners and stakeholders across the extended enterprise is something that any business should at least explore.

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Closed Minds on Open Source Security

Posted by Michael Harvey on January 11, 2008 3:55 PM EST
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There's a buzz around the internet right now regarding an article recently posted on Information Week titled "Open Source Code Contains Security Holes". If you couldn't tell from the title, this is a piece about the potential bugs in open source applications. If you couldn't guess from the title: I'm not exactly supportive of the author's standpoint.

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There's nothing like some good press to start the year off. This week Reuters has highlighted the work of the Open Solutions Alliance in its story "Open-Source Chief Executives Make 2008 Predictions". This article picks up a quote from our CEO, David Richards, about international differences in open source, stating that in 2008 Asia will likely see a rapid open source adoption.

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Interoperability in Open Source

Posted by Michael Harvey on December 19, 2007 6:45 PM EST
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Last week was an exceptionally busy week for Concursive: launching our new website, announcing our name change, and releasing our new Concourse Suite 5.0. And during this hectic week, there was even more news that I wanted to take a moment to address.

Our friends at the Open Solutions Alliance released the results of the surveys they have been collecting, evaluating customers’ views on Open Source software. Overall, the data seems to be pretty positive, highlighting the cost effectiveness and simple customization of Open Source solutions. Conversely, the OSA found that the point of contention for customers is the potential interoperability issues with Open Source applications.

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The Value of Transparency

Posted by Michael Harvey on September 28, 2007 4:15 PM EDT
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Open source software can justifiably claim to have spawned one of the most vibrant and intelligent communities in existence. The main tenet of the open source community—and this should go without saying—is openness, running from the decisions made by the higher echelons of management at open source software companies down to the very bedrock of the code itself. This tenet has turned the traditional marketing cycle on its head.

As more companies embrace an open culture, there are fewer rumors about potential deals, releases and products, and this positively affects the quality of products. This is not to say that rumor mongering no longer exists: gossip and speculation accompany all healthy communities—it comes with the territory. There is, however, more knowledge of what is happening internally within each company in the open source space, than in other sectors. Dana Blankenhorn recently pointed out in a blog posting;

“What passes for rumor is speculation over the importance of things which have, in fact, happened. Even among proprietary vendors.”

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Oregon and On and On

Posted by Michael Harvey on August 3, 2007 8:50 AM EDT
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The waves from this week's OSCON in Portland, Oregon, are still rippling through the open source community. As you would expect from an O'Reilly event, there was plenty of debate at the conference, not least about 'badgeware' licenses.

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Ethics of using "Open Source"

Posted by Michael Harvey on June 26, 2007 10:20 PM EDT
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As background, I'm the CEO of Centric CRM, one of the vendors of open source software that has been at the fulcrum of a heated discussion centered around which vendors can rightly use the term "open source" when describing their products. While I normally stay out of such verbal jousts, I decided I ought to share our view point if only given the tone of some of the recent postings. Specifically, to address the sentiment of some that vendors using the term “open source”, whose offerings differ from the strict OSI definition, are either disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst.

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