> > >> I want to enforce my rights and GPL. I'll do that as a sole former
> > >> SquirrelMail contributor or as representative of current and former
> > >> SquirrelMail contributors. As I've said in my private email, any
> > >> contributor
> > >> can join my crusade or do it own way.
> > >
> > > Well if you want to start your crusade, I think a mail stating
> > > objectively all the violations should be a plus.
> > >
> > > What sites / what trivial proof / their fisrt answers to your claim of
> > > violation. (It is always a good link for an article :).
> > SquirrelMail - http://www.squirrelmail.org/screenshots.php
> > Nutsmail - http://www.nutsmail.com/xpbluesky_skin.htm
> > TOS of Nutsmail - http://nutsmail.com/orders/terms_of_service.php
> > Standard SquirrelMail package does not support skins. It supports only
> > color themes (set of 16 different colors) and basic CSS. If people want to
> > get same level of customization as the one seen in Nutsmail screenshots,
> > they have to modify scripts licensed under GPL.
> > I have enough knowledge about SquirrelMail internals and can prove that
> > Nutsmail had to modify GPLed scripts. I can even name modified scripts and
> > functions.
> > > Each of us who are intrested could relay the information in a magazine he
> > > knows (I would do linuxfr and maybe libroscope), you could report it to
> > > http://gpl-violations.org/. If someone could do slashdot ^^
> > The ones who read Slashdot articles will toast my website first.
> > I will contact lawyers after contacting SquirrelMail contributors.
> This is an interesting thread of course.. and I am not specifically talking
> about NutsMail or any individual company, but as a commercial company that
> includes GPL software, including of course Squirrelmail code in our
> commercial products, I guess I can speak to some issues surrounding this
> First of all, I agree with Paul, that encouraging companies like Nutsmail or
> others can only be good for SquirrelMail, as long as the company does not try
> to pass off the work of the wonderful SquirrelMail contributors.. However,
> often the preceived needs of the commercial product may not be in line with
> the direction of the SquirrelMail developers, and the code won't be adopted
> which means that a 'fork' might be needed. Now, of course that code will
> still be covered by GPL by definition, but there is nothing wrong with
> shipping a forked version by the commercial company.
> Now, the tricky thing is how they 'advertise' the commercial product of
> course. As soon as they bundle this version with say proprietary images or
> whatever, they CAN put a new license about shipping the bundle. However,
> they cannot change any of the license in the code itself, or any derivitive
> works, and if a customer requests, they have to make available the source of
> that code, but since all code is in PHP anyways, that is almost a moot point.
> They aren't required to put their changes open to public viewing, only to the
> people that they distribute it to, and then the GPL, in order not to be too
> onerous I believe, has said 'must be "made" available' and even allows for a
> nominal fee.
> Now, nothing precludes them from preventing people from redistributing their
> package, which may contain a mix of GPL and proprietary bits, they just have
> to abide by the GPL on the GPL code and derivitives.
I don't understand this. If the code is GPL'd, then the parties that
received the code (presumably through purchasing it) are free to
redistribute, no? Doesn't the GPL *specifically* prevent them from
preventing :-) redistribution? I'm not sure how that applies to
things like images that were created by them alone, which, by the way,
beside perhaps .css files and the like, are really going to be the
only original material in their package. Their "Customized Package"
definition you quote below makes it sound very iffy that they are
trying to claim copyright and non-GPL licensing on the lines of code
they added or changed in the SquirrelMail original source files.
> And they seem to try to even satisfy that in the following para from the terms
> of service..
> "Customized Package - represent all elements of a product except the GPL
> licensed original source of an "open source" script. This will refer but not
> limit to: all copyrighted graphics, the graphic template implementation work
> and solutions. All GPL license clauses still apply to the original open
> source script used for implementation. " (They might have been more clear
> about derivitave work)
> Note, CopyRight information is differnt than licensing so I won't digress into
> that arena, but they seem to appear to differentiate based on what materials
> they put their copyright on possibly. This MIGHT be an area of contention of
> course, but argueably, a 'design' can be considered copyrightable, if it
> differentiates from the original, and I am not the legal expert to open that
> can of worms.
> So I guess it is easy to be of two minds on this.. One, which says they did
> not contravene the letter of the law of the GPL, and the other which says
> that they are in using the letter of the law to their own benifits.. but I
> think the GPL was intended to allow such usage, in order to encourage
> commercial vendors to adopt the opensource code model.
Well, in addition to their very questionable claims to ownership and
non-GPL licensing of "graphic template implementation work and
solutions", they limit modifications on the login page, which is
probably not allowable, and - I'm surprised this one hasn't taken
center stage already - they very specifically limit redistribution
under clause (d). If, at the least, it *IS* acceptable for them to
separately license their custom images (and I'm not sure even that is
OK), then perhaps they can limit redistribution of those somehow
separately, BUT they certainly cannot limit redistribution of their
modified SquirrelMail scripts (see above - you apparently have a
different understanding of this?). Their assignability (and probably
ownership) clause(s) is (are) also questionable in the same way.
> (Now, I know that in all our (MagicMail) marketing speak, when we talk about
> our webmail interfaces, we always say that it is based on 'SquirrelMail' one
> of the world's most popular and powerful.... that we have customized to allow
> better flexibility in custom branding, and to work with our proprietary mail
> clusters and high volume technology.. etc.. We believe the developers deserve
> the credit..
> And the only restriction we place on it (the GPL code) is that if a customer
> choices to modfiy the GPL code themselves, that it may affect their support
> contract, affect security, and/or performance or prevent seamless upgrades..
> Of course, we do put copyright restrictions on some graphics that are included
> with our bundles, hate to have some other company or competition use those
> without limitations.. )
How do you restrict them apart from the GPL'd code? NutsMail could
probably learn from how you do it.
> I think you do have some arguments about companies who benifit from open
> source efforts should try to 'give back' in some way.. We do donations,
> report back to developers, have created some of our open source tools
> personally, but if a small company out there is trying to grow, do we have
> the right to start labelling people or corporations as good net citizens or
> open source supporters? Where is the line between good and bad.. it can get
> blurry.. especially for the little guy in the basement that may be hard
> pressed to contribute back.
Well said, but I think ultimately, everyone has five minutes here and
there to give back some hack they made to fix a bug, read a mailing
list thread and respond with helpful information or opinions, give a
few dollars, etc. Labeling people/companies as one thing or another
is probably touchy at best, but I guess if you go there, it should be
based on a long-term view of their behavior. NutsMail having never
shown face around here definitely puts a negative shine on their
reputation to say the least.
> I do think that if a company attempts to pass off that it wrote GPL code, ie
> by removing license information, compiling binaries of GPL code and
> pretending it isn't etc.. those SHOULD be chased down and enforced in the
> strictest sense of the law.
> However, nothing mentioned here has shown that yet, so Tomas, [your comments
> do not point to violations of the GPL, only that they have used, changed (and
> maybe even improved) GPL code.. and bully for them ..] I think you need to
> provide more proof before throwing the 'L' word around..
It is overly clear that they HAVE changed SM scripts. What is not
clear is what their TOS is saying about those parts. To me, it sounds
like they are trying to pass off their changes as non-GPL as well as
improperly try to limit redistribution, etc. To you this does not
seem to be the case?
> Be sure to report any contraventions if you discover them.. ( You should point
> expressly to the part of the GPL they contravene in that case, and where the
> occurrence happens)
> What should be done is encourage this.. not ostracize them.. Sure, maintain a
> watch dog against 'passing off' or violations, but instead .. invite them to
> join in lists like this, to discuss what features they would like to see,
> performance issues.. Don't try to 'insist' that everything they do go back
> into the GPL.. Allow branches of creativity... differences.. allow companies
> to grow and prosper.. so that they can give back hopefully in the future..
> And especially for a product so important as WebMail to ISP's, they are going
> to want to do branding.. make it look better.. hey, there is even a
> configuration item to change the name from SquirrelMail ;)
> I think any successes in this area should be considered, examined.. and
> possibly it can help the whole SquirrelMail effort.. and if we encourage, not
> ostracize.. I think we have a better chance for companies to contribute their
> work directly to the main SquirrelMail branch, instead of creating forks..
Well said, Michael!!!