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An Architect's View

Community and Licensing

May 9, 2008 ·

Daemon is considering changing the license for FarCry 5.0 from Common Public License 1.0 (CPL) to a dual licensing model with GPLv3 and commercial options. Jeff Coughlin interviews Geoff Bowers of Daemon about this possible change and what it might mean for FarCry users and developers.One of the key points made in the interview is that despite FarCry being open source for five years, there have been almost no contributions back to the project from the larger community of its users. Even the documentation wiki has only had a handful of people contributing. This is a common complaint about open source projects in the CF community - the authors put a huge amount of work into the projects but get very little support back from the community. I believe this stems from the CF community's roots in the Windows world where most software is commercial and, historically, there hasn't been a great deal of open source. CFers just aren't used to how open source works. Compare that to C, C++, PHP, Ruby and any number of languages that grew up in the Unix community and you'll see a world of difference. Those developers "get" open source. They don't just take projects and complain about bugs - they try to fix the bugs and submit patches back to the project, they offer up their enhancements and plugins as open source, they update the documentation, they get involved with testing and feedback and generally try to help out. I think that a shift to dual GPL/commercial would be a good move on Daemon's part and would help encourage the FarCry user community to grow and support the project in more concrete ways. If folks aren't prepared to open source their own code, there's always the option of a commercial license which also supports the project by helping defray the costs of hosting and maintenance. I don't know whether Daemon's thinking has been influenced by the Open BlueDragon project but I hope that was at least part of the catalyst. If we see a general shift to GPL and increased community involvement in open source CFML projects, that will benefit all of us.

Tags: coldfusion · farcry · oss

4 responses

  • 1 Geoff Bowers // May 10, 2008 at 1:39 AM

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Folks interested in the discussion might start with the original discussion paper:
    http://blog.daemon.com.au/go/blog-post/farcry-license-changes
  • 2 Geoff Bowers // May 10, 2008 at 1:40 AM

    And then move onto the forum thread for more detailed answers:
    http://groups.google.com/group/farcry-dev/browse_thread/thread/26ac13f1c3e36ccf
  • 3 Thomas Messier // May 10, 2008 at 4:41 AM

    I wonder if the lack of contribution stems from the fact that CFers don't get how open source works or if it's just a matter of numbers. CF is a niche, there are a lot less CF developers than Java, .NET, PHP developers. As such, those communities are working with a much larger sample, and that means they get a lot more open source contributions. For example it's possible that 1% of people are contributing in Java ant that 1% translates to 1000 people whereas 1% for CF means 50 people. Kinda hard to compete...
  • 4 Luke Kilpatrick // May 10, 2008 at 3:19 PM

    I think that there are a lot of CF'ers that work mostly on inward facing sites and projects on company intranets that may not even know of the larger community. Anyone have any ideas on how to engage this group of developers to take part in the community and maybe some of these projects?