Who will follow Funambol’s open source SaaS steps?

Funambol’s move to adopt the new GNU Affero GPLv3 (AGPLv3) has some interesting implications for the mobile open source software player. It will be even more interesting, though, to see whether other open source SaaS players follow Funambol’s lead. What will be the impacts of closing open source software’s loopholes?

Funambol describes AGPLv3 as ‘the open source license of the future’ because it aligns with the modern trend of SaaS. Funambol believes, as does the Free Software Foundation, that by requiring code and modifications availability over the network, the AGPLv3 delivers the collaborative upsides of GPL licensing to SaaS. In addition, Funambol gets to change from its home-crafted Honest Public License, which while similar in terms, does not carry near the same cachet as any kind of GPL licensing. Funambol says the move to AGPLv3, which reinforces the company’s endorsement of GPLv3, also simplifies compatibility for its community of 10,000 developers, who can now more easily and confidently combine with GPL software thanks to AGPLv3-GPLv3 compatibility.

So with all of these benefits, are we likely to see a rush of other SaaS players heading to AGPLv3? One big question mark is SugarCRM, which some contend is unlikely to adopt AGPLv3. Of course, the open source CRM vendor was among the first in July 2007 to adopt GPLv3 for its Community Edition, she‌dding its own license with attribution along with some open source community ill will. Despite being a SaaS player, SugarCRM may not choose to go beyond GPLv3 for its Community version with any AGPL steps. However, Funambol, which has a good relationship with SugarCRM, says its fellow open source vendor may be induced to take a similar AGPLv3 step, particularly if it drives development and innovation.

Google is another big player to watch. We all know about the company’s extensive use of and support for open source software. If Google’s recent Android release is any indication, it is unlikely to look to AGPLv3, GPLv3 or any other GPL licensing anytime soon. However, AGPLv3 is a significant opportunity for Google, and many other big companies using and distributing open source software over networks, to turn open source scorn and cynicism into open source community support and collaboration.

14 comments ↓

#1 karlisle » Who will follow Funambol’s open source SaaS steps? on 11.27.07 at 5:31 pm

[…] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerpt Funambol’s move to adopt the new GNU Affero GPLv3 (AGPLv3) has some interesting implications for the mobile open source software player. It will be even more interesting, though, to see whether other open source SaaS players follow Funambol’s lead. What will be the impacts of closing open source software’s loopholes? Funambol describes AGPLv3 as ‘the open source license of the future’ because it aligns with the modern trend of SaaS. Funambol believes, as does the Free Software Foundation, that […]

#2 Who will follow Funambol’s open source SaaS steps? — Google Android on 11.27.07 at 8:08 pm

[…] Read the rest of this great post here […]

#3 Roberto Galoppini on 11.28.07 at 9:49 am

Jay I can hardly see SaaS champions like Google shifting to AGPL.

.

Of course they might want to share some non-differentiating software, as they are actually doing now, but they don’t need the AGPL for this. On the contrary going AGPL would require the adoption od software architectures API-based in order to avoid the risk of being obliged to make public differentiating software.

Android it’s a different story. GPL was the right way to go, no doubt. But what about going to ask OEMs to join the club saying them that they would have got less (commercial) freedom than with windows mobile? I understand it wasn’t easy at all, but shall this technological club stay united? Fragmentation seems to be a keyword when talking about mobile..

#4 Jay Lyman on 11.28.07 at 11:21 am

Thanks for the comment, Roberto.

I agree we might not see anything major from Google go GPLv3 or AGPLv3 anytime soon. However, Google certainly develops a lot of different software for a lot of different stuff. There will be ample opportunity for such a move if the company so chooses.

It will be interesting to see what players such as Google do in regards to AGPLv3, particularly if and when we see some of the key development and distribution advantages cited by Funambol.

In terms of Android and the OEM groups, I would also agree that fragmentation is among the most applicable words. However, as in the case of Linux, GPL licensing has proven to be an effective way to help overcome fragmentation and achieve true collaboration.

JL

#5 Roberto Galoppini on 12.02.07 at 4:50 pm

Jay, considering open source software available at SourceForge, the percentage covereed by the GPL is about 64%, that goes up to 75% if you consider also LGPL. While I agree that SourceForge is not the only repository, I believe that it provides a rough estimation of how much FLOSS is GPL.

I understand and I hope individual (independent) developers could shift to the AGPL in the next future. But what about mainstream projects? As long as they are developed by big firms’ employers how many chance to see them going AGPL? As you know over the year and a half public consultation process big firms were all agreeing on not closing the GPL loophole.

The only way to close the GPL loophole was to fix it within the GPL, when Richard’s power was absolute.

#6 Roberto Galoppini on 11.28.07 at 11:20 am

Jay, I can hardly see SaaS champions like Google shifting to AGPL. As Bruce Perens argued:

it would be a mistake to Open Source your business differentiators, because then your competitor’s business might use them to become as desirable to the customer as your own business.

Of course they might want to share some non-differentiating software, as they are actually doing now, but they don’t need the AGPL for this. On the contrary going AGPL would require the adoption od software architectures API-based in order to avoid the risk of being obliged to make public differentiating software.

Android it’s a different story. GPL was the right way to go, no doubt. But what about going to ask OEMs to join the club saying them that they would have got less (commercial) freedom than with windows mobile? I understand it wasn’t easy at all, but shall this technological club stay united? Fragmentation seems to be a keyword when talking about mobile..

#7 Linux Compatible Computer Parts » The451Group: Who Will Follow Funambol’s Open Source SaaS Steps? on 12.01.07 at 8:26 pm

[…] Full story: Werner Heuser (wehe at tuxmobil.org) […]

#8 The451Group: Who Will Follow Funambol's Open Source SaaS Steps? ([News from TuxMobil.org]) on 12.01.07 at 10:28 pm

[…] Open Source SaaS Steps? read it all… In Rubrik Linux-News von admin Permalink • Print• Email […]

#9 OpenGTS - full-featured GPS tracking system (1.6.1) ([News from TuxMobil.org]) on 12.03.07 at 5:58 pm

[…] Funambol's Open Source SaaS Steps? In Rubrik Mobile Graphik von admin Permalink • Print• Email […]

#10 451 CAOS Theory » Facebook opens up, but misses opening on 06.04.08 at 2:57 pm

[…] for network deployment and how software works today. This makes sense, but it also makes me wonder why not the Affero […]

#11 451 CAOS Theory » Census started for enterprise open source use on 06.09.08 at 5:36 am

[…] identify open source packages, OSS Discovery is licensed under the new Affero GPLv3 (AGPLv3) for open source SaaS. It can be downloaded from CollabNet, where the open source discovery tool is […]

#12 451 CAOS Theory » Is the AGPL half-empty, or half-full? on 06.10.08 at 5:06 am

[…] asked who would follow when Funambol promptly adopted AGPLv3 last November touting the advantages of true GPL development […]

#13 451 CAOS Theory » Funambol - AGPL’d, ad-supported mobile open source on 06.12.08 at 3:23 pm

[…] down in sharing requirements? Steger says the move appears to be paying off given Funambol was among the first to adopt the AGPLv3 and adoption of the license is now […]

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