Joomla GPL License debate

The GPL discussion at the forums is still raging on, the thread has now become the most posted to thread in existence and its only a month and a half old!

The debate has expanded from the license into the business models of the the 3rd party developer community.

“Due to the uncertainty of their futures many developers have paused further development of software for Joomla 1.5”

What does this mean for 1.5?

“Can Joomla! extensions be released under non-GPL compatible licenses?”
GPL what, eh?

Most component/extension developers whose are full time Joomla developers use a non-GPL license. You have probably purchased one of their extensions at some point. Usually $20-50 and the non-GPL license asks that you use the component on a single website.

If extensions/components must be GPL, then a different business model is required. This is usually along the lines of giving the component away for free and charging for support, or consultancy-based. Obvously if a component is GPL, it can be re-distributed for free.
The current debate seems to fall on two sides; full time commercial Joomla developers think that GPL-only extensions/components will lead to fewer 3rd party developers and fewer components.

Others, including key members of the Joomla core team think that this won’t happen and developers will be able to easily adjust to different business models.

Joomla is asking for the Joomla end user community to contact them with your thoughts on this issue:

??All feedback from the forum thread as well as emails sent to This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it , will be integral to review and consideration for the greater good of the project and the community.”

I’d like to ask you to take a moment of your valuable time and email your thoughts, perhaps it really boils down to these two opinions, if you are too busy, you could just copy and paste one of them…

I think that commercial developers should be able to use non-GPL licenses for their components and choose their own business model.

All commercial components should be GPL licensed and free, and they must use a GPL-compatible business model.

Thanks for your time, I appreciate you reading this email. I know you are busy, but I thought this was an important issue for all that use Joomla.

If you have a bunch of time on your hands, the background for this question has been discussed (exhaustively) at:,163492.0.html

An alternative viewpoint can be found here:,com_smf/Itemid,28/topic,100.0/

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1 Response to Joomla GPL License debate

  1. Lejer says:

    Joomla Petition is started

    It seems that some major news outlets are talking about Joomla’s recent licensing change, among the big boys were Wired (Joomla Sticks With the GPL), CMS Watch (Joomla! CMS faces a governance challenge) and (GPL compliance issues are tearing Joomla! apart). Interestingly it seems some inaccuracies were creeping to their stories, showing just how complex this subject is.

    There is also a petition that has been started. You should check that out if you want to “cast a vote”.

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