OXID eSales GPL v3 FAQ

The following FAQs have been prepared to give you some explanations and background of the new OXID eShop Community Edition licensing scheme. We will update this document occasionaly and welcome any additional comments or further questions from the OXID Community.

Licensing schemes for software, even the Open Source area, are subject to intricate legal discussions. Please read our GPLv3 FAQ with a caveat that it is not intended to provide a full and comprehensive legal assessment. In regards to specific questions or concerns, the applicable copyright law, which is the basis of all software licensing, leads even in the context of the GPL v3 within any jurisdiction.

OXID eShop goes GPL v3

Q: What is the GPL v3?

A: The GNU General Public License v3 (GPL) http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html is the latest iteration of the most widely used free and open source software (FOSS) license in the world. The GPL v3 is the result of a lengthy and thorough revision process, lasting for one and a half years and involving numerous developers and petitioners. Please read the full text of the license carefully. The Free Software Foundation has prepared an introductory guide to the GPL v3 (http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/quick-guide-gplv3.html) that we also recommend for your review.

Q: Why does OXID eSales use GPL v3?

A: The choice of a specific licensing scheme is to such extent or arbitrary given the varieties of the already existing Open Source licenses. We have reviewed many of the available Open Source licenses relevant to the OXID eSales business model and have found that the GPL v3 matches all of our goals and will certainly become a strong contender for a global standard.

Q: What are the advantages of the GPL v3?

A: We share the identitcal view of the FSF and the contributors within its revision process, that the GPL v3 is the "better copyleft." GPL v3 does more to protect users' and developer's freedoms and enables better cooperation throughout the community. Additionally, specific changes have been made in the adjustments for online software distribution and compatibility with other licensing schemes. Please also see Richard Stallmans article http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/rms-why-gplv3.html.

Q: Any detriments? What are the "frogs" we have to swallow with GPL v3?

A: It can't all be a rainbows and unicorns. The GPL v3 carries along a legacy of drafting difficulties - namely the irresistible temptation to add political reasoning to a transactional document - which makes the GPL v3a less transparent and user-friendly document it could be. However, the pros far outweigh the cons.

Q: Which OXID eSales products will be distributed under GPL v3?

A: Only the OXID eShop Community Edition will be distributed under GLP v3. All other OXID eShop products and services (including OXID eFire and OXID eShop easy) are distributed under OXID Commercial Licenses.

Q: The open source variants of commercial products tend to be of limited functionality compared to its commercial twins. Do we also get a "crippled" OXID eshop product in the open source stream?

A: No. OXID eShop Community Edition has an identical code base compared to OXID eShop Professional Edition and we will continue to retain them as identical in the future.

The GPL v3 for Users

Q: What am I allowed to do as a user of the OXID eShop Community Edition?

A: The GPL v3 grants you the unrestricted right to use the software for your business purposes. You may install it, modify it and use it accordingly to your business needs. The modifications can be either accomplished by yourself or external developers, consultants or system integrators.

Q: If I am not in the business of software distribution and use OXID eShop Community Edition only for my internal business purposes, do I have to publish any of the changes I made to the software?

A: The GPL v3 requires publication of modifications (including source code) only if you distribute your modified OXID eShop Community Edition to any third party. However, we encourage you to share your further developments with the Community by contributing your modifications to us for publishing. For more information about contributions to the OXID eShop code base see our website.

Q: Can I drop the copyright notice © Shop software from OXID eSales and the banner based in /out/basic/img/oxid_powered.jpg?

A: The GPL is not an attribution license, which means that users of OXID eShop Community Edition cannot be required to include any note or link to OXID.

Q: In html source code, can I drop the entry <!-- OXID eShop Community Edition, Version 4.x.x, Shopsystem (c) OXID eSales AG 2003 - 2012 - http://www.oxid-esales.com -->

A: As the GPL is based on copyright law, the OXID eShop Community Edition requires keeping this entry in html source code.

Q: What does "copyleft effect" for OXID eShop Community Edition mean?

A: OXID eShop Community Edition is licensed to you under the terms of GPL v3. If you decide to modify the code and distribute it to third parties, all modifications made will continue to be licensed under GPL v3 and all obligations will remain intact. However, because the OXID eShop source code is entirely written in PHP, you will not need to separately distribute the source code.

Q: What is a "modification" bearing in mind the modular structures of modern software architecture?

A: The plain and simple answer is: any change in the code sequence qualifies as a "modification". However, the GPL v3, goes two steps further than this: firstly, it is the local copyright law that decides, whether a change is considered as a "modification;" secondly, it is seen as more of a "modification" rather than a completely separate software, i.e. if OXID eShop Community Edition and a change/extension/module are not separate and independent codes, but interoperate as a comprehensive "larger program" than it will not be seen as a "modification." Please see the explanations of the FSF under http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#MereAggregation. We interpret the GPL v3 license with the understanding that any adaption, alteration or extension of a file in OXID eShop Community Edition - other than a configuration file such as config.inc.php - is a "modification" in the legal sense and is subject to the GPL v3 license. Examples of a modification - which originated from OXID eShop Community Edition:

  • Any code modifications other than changes in a configuration file.
  • Inclusion of bug fixes.
  • Addition or removal of fields.
  • Modification of API's.Modification of existing code to add a new API.
  • An entirely new module.An entirely new language pack.
  • An entirely new theme.

Examples of code that wouldn't be considered a modification.

  • Entirely new software that interacts with OXID eShop Community Edition using existing API's

Q: What is the license compatibility with GPL v3 and any other licensed components or extensions?

A: If you choose to modify OXID eShop Community Edition by adding code which is already licensed under another open source license, it may not be possible for you to comply with the copyleft effect under the license agreement of GPL v3, namely the obligation to distribute the modified version entirely. Please refer to the GPL v3 website for compatibility http://gplv3.fsf.org/dd3-faq.


Q: Are language packs subject to GPL v3 provisions? Themes? Modules?

A: As already indicated above, we consider themes, modules and language packs as code integrated into OXID eShop Community Edition and not separate or independent. It is, therefore, our understanding of the license agreement of GPL v3 that themes, modules, language packs, etc. have to be considered a "larger program." Due to this, you may only distribute it under GPL v3.

Q: Do I own the code I write?

A: Yes. Whether the code you write is a modification of OXID eShop Community Edition or completely new code, you (or your employer) own the copyright to that code. However, if you modify code covered by the GPL v3, you can only distribute the originally licensed work and your modifications under the GPL v3.

Q: Am I entitled to charge fees for the distribution of software under GPL v3?

A: The FSF has coined the phrase that free software has to be understood in the context of "free speech" and not "free beer." You can sell modified work and make it publicly available.

Q: As a developer, how does the GPL v3 affect my existing work that I developed under other licenses?

A: If you own the copyright to your work and it does not depend on OXID eShop Community Edition or software licensed under a different open source license, you may re-license your code under GPL v3.

Q: Can I post code snippets or my code samples on public sites?

A: Yes, GPL v3 allows redistribution. Please note the license the code is released under.

Q: My extension interacts with OXID eShop Community Edition purely through Web Services (SOAP API) calls. What do I need to do?

A: It's likely that your program and OXID eShop Community Edition do not form a larger work and thus your code can be licensed in any manner.

Q: Can I release an extension under a non-GPL license?

A: No, because most extensions by their nature are modifications and must be distributed under the GPL v3. Partner/Reseller

Q: Can I sell new OXID eShop modules I create?

A: Yes you are allowed to sell your modifications. You own the copyright to the code that you write. However, you cannot require that your licensees charge to distribute a copy. If it's a modification of OXID eShop Community Edition, then the code is automatically governed by GPL v3 . Please visit the GPL v3 FAQs for more information. http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#DoesTheGPLAllowMoney

Q: We intend to integrate in our templates for OXID eShop Community Edition photographs, designs and other graphic materials, which we did not create ourselves but have licensed it from third parties under proprietary licensing schemes. Can we distribute these templates (including the graphic materials) as a standalone product for the OXID eShop Community Edition?

A: As outlined above, we consider templates as so tightly integrated with our software that they form a "larger program" under the GPL v3 terms. Therefore, they have also to be distributed under the GPL v3 license. If you are not the copyright holder of the graphic materials, please assess with greatest scrutiny, whether the licenses grant you the right to further distribute these under GPL v3 license.

Q: I am an OXID partner/reseller/consultant and I occasionally do one-time OXID eShop Community Edition customization work for clients which are derived from OXID modules. These customizations are used only for the client. Do I need to make these changes publicly available?

A: No, unless your client redistributes the code in which case the client must make it available to its licensees.

Q: Am I allowed to host (rent or provide an on-demand service) modified versions of OXID eShop Community Edition without making available the modified work source code?

A: Yes. More information available here: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#TOCUnreleasedMods OXID Exchange Provider

Q: What do I need to do if I provide a module that I'd like to make available on OXID Exchange for OXID eShop Community Edition, as well as for OXID eShop Professional and Enterprise Edition?

A: You can dual-license your code by providing your module under a GPL -v3 license for OXID eShop Community Edition and a commercial license for OXID eShop Professional and Enterprise Editions.  

Q: Can I remove the language independant CMS page "Credits" which appears on http://www.myoxideshop.com/Credits? What is about the link to this page in the footer of the default installation?

A: In respect of the work of the code contributors to the OXID eShop core you are requested to leave this page as it is. Feel free to remove the link to this Credits page from the footer in the default installation of OXID eShop.