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Archived ⇒ Discussion on GPL


I'd like to ask a question if I may....

On one of those links DJMaze posted it talks about 3rd-party add-ons to a CMS (in that case Nuke). It says if the add-on requires GPL code to run it is also GPL, whether the coder agrees or not.

As you may know I sell my modules these days rather than give them away. I only do this as a support mechanism, i.e. someone who's paid me for something gets my attention before someone who hasn't.

However it does concern me that if my code is GPL simply because it can't execute without a GPL CMS, then it means someone could buy a module and give it away free and no-one else then need buy it if they can get it from the someone else (they could perhaps "donate" it to DF and you offer it for download here). I'd then be in the same situation as Devon, you could offer my modules for free download whether I like it or not because despite every line of them being my own work they're GPL and I have no say in how they're used / distributed.

Is this correct?

I was under the impression that Devon's situation is different to mine as many of his themes are ports (derivatives) of others. None of my modules are, they're 100% my own work. It's slightly disconcerting to learn (if indeed this is the case) that I don't own my own code at all because it requires other GPL code to work.

[edit]This post and the following 9 posts removed from another more specific topic[/edit]

Gaming League / Cup - www.leaguecms.co.uk :: Other DragonFly modules - www.cmsdreams.co.uk

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http://dragonflycms.org/cvs/html/index.php?v=9.35 wrote
Linking CPG Dragonfly™ CMS statically or dynamically with other modules is making a
combined work based on CPG Dragonfly CMS. Thus, the terms and conditions of the GNU
General Public License cover the whole combination.


However, there's an exception below it
As a special exception, the copyright holders of CPG Dragonfly CMS give you
permission to link CPG Dragonfly CMS with independent modules that communicate with
CPG Dragonfly CMS solely through the CPG-Core interface, regardless of the license
terms of these independent modules, and to copy and distribute the
resulting combined work under terms of your choice, provided that
every copy of the combined work is accompanied by a complete copy of
the source code of CPG Dragonfly CMS (the version of CPG Dragonfly CMS used to produce the
combined work), being distributed under the terms of the GNU General
Public License plus this exception. An independent module is a module
which is not derived from or based on CPG Dragonfly CMS.


An example of such is the Downloads Pro module.
It only uses the core functionality and is shipped with it's own library (classes) to fulfill special tasks.
Therefore it is allowed to use its own license.

However, if we packaged/combine Downloads Pro with the Core as a single download. Then the module is GNU/GPL as well, as the license says.
Since we don't do that, to prevent *Nuke and others use our module, the special license stays intact.

Kendle, therefore you might have to change your modules a bit to comply with these rules.

But why take all the hassle and sell your modules?
You could offer them for free, which is attractive, and then ask money for support Wink

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Maze, thanks for the clarification, that puts my mind at ease because all my modules fit within the description you give of Downloads Pro. I don't distribute modules with DF, they're packaged on their own, and they only use core DF functionality, so under your special exception my modules are not GPL.

Charging for support rather than the module is an idea I considered (as that's what the charge actually covers, in reality), however I've never got my head round how to do it properly.

When someone buys a module from my store they get auto-added to a Group giving them access to a private support forum. I therefore know any questions asked in the private forum come from someone who's paid for the module. It also seems more sensible because they're paying an amount of money for an amount of code.

I feel kinda un-easy about people asking me questions and having to respond "show me the money!" before answering their question. Besides which some people cause me a lot of grief (many, many support issues) and others I never hear from once they've bought the module!

Gaming League / Cup - www.leaguecms.co.uk :: Other DragonFly modules - www.cmsdreams.co.uk

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Something free has no real value. You'll definitely get grief from unappreciative people. On the other hands those paying for something such as a module or support expect a higher level of quality. That is good for a project.

So what's the difference between Kendle's commercial modules and my commercial themes?

If my free themes are being gobbled up under GPL ownership it means so is ForumsPro, Kendle's free mSeries modules, Phoenix's modules, everything at DFAddons, etc... All freebies currently out in the open today are free game to do with as anyone pleases even if the author says not to use them? There is something fundamentally wrong with that.

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I understand you both regarding this issue and i totally agree that ther are {expletive removed} on this planet that missuse the meaning of GNU/GPL and that make you angry.

However, by sharing code between projects the GNU/GPL and similar licenses are great.

A good example is the RPM in Linux which has several versions for different GNU/Linux distro's.
But they have in common that different parties (RedHat, Fedora, SuSe, etc.) share bugfixes and improvements.

The same is actualy happening with Dragonfly and *Nuke versions where people share code between projects.

For modules and themes this kind of stuff is less noticeable since they don't realy share code that works on different CMS's.

Therefore a different license similar to GNU/GPL but no boundings for themes and modules would have been better all along but, due to the fact that code base derivatives from Nuke we are bound to the GPL as well.

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Devon, your commercial themes are only GPL if they contain something else (like an image) that is GPL, or are a variant or port of a theme that was originally GPL, because under the terms of the GPL you're not at liberty to "un-GPL" them or distribute something containing GPL as non-GPL.

My modules are not GPL because they do not contain GPL code and under DF special exception as explained by Maze above do not inherit DF's GPL.

I think as authors we just need to understand that if we GPL something, or distribute it with something that is GPL, or base our whatever on something that was GPL, we can't complain about what happens to it, because we retain the right to NOT GPL it, or NOT distribute it with something GPL etc.

My advice to you would be to not do anymore ports, only produce original themes, then you're covered by DF's special exception.

Gaming League / Cup - www.leaguecms.co.uk :: Other DragonFly modules - www.cmsdreams.co.uk

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I don't have a problem with the ports anymore. I see maze's point of view and will let all ported themes be freely distributed. I don't have any issue with that. My issue is with the TCD_Aquarium or any TCD_ theme. Those ARE my original themes. All ports I've ever done I've appended the DF_ prefix. My ports and original themes are very easy to distinguish because of that. So if my original themes are covered under this special exception then all TCD_ labeled themes I can claim ownership of only if I sell them and not give them away for free? The only difference being one I sell and one I give away.

If I created a theme and put it in my store as a commercial theme and gave the same theme a free license then I could claim both as my property even if I don't sell any. Basically disguising a free theme as a commercial theme just to keep the rights on the theme. I mean who would buy the same theme when they could get it for free. So that would be a loophole.

I don't think that's the right way to do things. It's not the way things should be needed to be done just to keep rights on my own creations. DragonflyCMS should just come up with their own license. Ahh but they can't because it's fork from php nuke which is GPL. As you can see whatever the GPL touches it consumes and leaves no possibility of getting away from it. It's viral.

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djdevon3 wrote
It's viral.


Devon, are you also on Micro%oft's payroll? Wink

It really infuriates when I see someone use M$'s latest ill-chosen adjective (hate word?) for GPL.

Consider: If PHP-Nuke was released under any proprietary license, or even simple copyright, then DF simply wouldn't exist as it is today, because the corresponding source code would not be usable even if available (indeed PHP-Nuke wouldn't even be PHP-Nuke, nor include php-BB forums). And most likely you'd never have been able write themes for DF if Dragonfly had not been released under GPL.

So saying GPL is viral makes no sense at all. The only reason the GNU Public License "spreads" as you put it is precisely because it permits the "spreading" or re-use of the underlying licensed work, in a way that even copyright law prohibits. If you want to redistribute an existing GPL work including any derivate works, then the license goes with it. That doesn't make the license itself "viral" in any way.

Remember GPL is not a restrictive license, it actually gives away rights that copyright otherwise reserves for the author. That's why the genius behind GPL, Richard Stallman, refers to it as an alternative copy-left - a play on the word copy-right.

If you want to understand GPL you'd be wise to follow Groklaw, lots of info there on GPL 2 and the newer GPL 3. Personally I wouldn't touch DF, esp. as a developer, if it wasn't GPL 2 (or 3). GPL is all about sharing and collaborating. Yeah you can't make money in the classic way (which is hurting me right now), but it enables custom product development in ways which simply cannot happen in the same way under any other license.


BTW, DJ et al, any plans to move DF to GPL 3 in the future? Or you see a reason why an add-on module could not be released under GPL 3 to run on a DF under GPL 2? (I'll admit to not having read and analysed 3 in great enough detail yet.)

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layingback wrote
I'll admit to not having read and analysed 3 in great enough detail yet.

Thats a brief explanation "Why GPLv3"

.:: I met php the 03 December 2003 :: Unforgettable day! ::.

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Yes Layingback, I'm a ms employee. I make so much money that I created Treasure Coast Designs just for my personal amusement. I'm flattered you would think ms would even hire me.

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If I am understanding the GPL and DF's special exception correctly:

If you write the theme from scratch using none of Dragonfly's code other than the core functions then you can release the theme under any license you want to. But if you use for example the default theme as a base and build your theme off of the default theme. The new theme would be GPL also.

With GPL anyone can update a theme and release it. especially when the theme is still in demand and the original author has abandoned the project or just stops supporting it leaving the community hanging with no where to go.




edit:fixed typos

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No because it would still require GPL code to run. There is no way to create a theme without the "core functions". Even including those core functions makes it GPL. You could create a theme and not include the core functions. However that would render it useless as I'm sure you know and would require the user to insert the core functions where needed and all the defines within the template files. There's no way you can expect anyone to do that kind of modification themselves. They want to just install a theme and be done with it. So in that respect there's no realistic way of keeping ownership of anything you do. As soon as you create a theme that includes any kind of dragonfly code it immediately becomes GPL. Yup, all of the themes you've created too Diz are not yours. They are GPL. The only reason you or anyone else might want to attach their name to a theme is to provide a method of support. Otherwise it's absolutely pointless to try and claim a theme as your property.

So this means you can host all of my ported themes on your site Diz as well as anyone else that wants to and I can't say a thing about it. In the same token anyone can host your themes too. No one can claim ownership of a theme or module. They can only attach their name as a method of support and I certainly won't be supporting any of my themes now because I can't control who does or does not modify what I thought was my property. I'm certainly not going to support modified versions of my theme where others screw up my code and then expect me to support it. So to me this is a lost cause and one I'm willing to simply let go and never look back on.

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I did not port the themes to be mine I ported them for the community. So I do not claim ownership just credit for doing the work.

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djdevon3 wrote

As soon as you create a theme that includes any kind of dragonfly code it immediately becomes GPL.


Not if I understand DJMaze correctly. DF includes a special exception to allow you to make something that uses DF code but isn't included in DF's GPL. Although it doesn't specifically state "theme" I assume it's the same deal.

You only fall foul of the GPL thing if you package your theme with something that is GPL (like DF itself) or you base your theme on an existing GPL theme.

Gaming League / Cup - www.leaguecms.co.uk :: Other DragonFly modules - www.cmsdreams.co.uk

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Is it GPL if:
1. you use DF code as a base(exception: core functions are permitted to be used with out makeing the project GPL)
2. you package it with another gpl project

It is not GPL if:
1. all the code is the authers with the exception of the special exception which grants the free unrestricted us of core functions.
2. you do not package it with another GPL project.


Only way I can make it more clear than that is to write it in crayon.

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