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open source question in contract

 7:02 pm on Mar 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am about to sign a work contract that has the this clause below

"Services Provider represents and warrants that it shall not include any "open source" code (as defined by the Open Source Initiative) or "Free" code (as defined by the Free Software Foundation) (collectively, "Open Source Code") in the Deliverables, or create the Deliverables in such a way that it is compiled with or linked to Open Source Code...."

does this mean we cannot even use open source platform such as php, ruby, ruby on rails, javascript? If that's the case, wouldn't we be building a web app from the 1990s?



 7:02 pm on Mar 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

does this mean our only options are .net and cfml w/o javascript?


 7:06 pm on Mar 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

It could be that the person writing the contract didn't understand the implications of what was being written. (Or that the entity just copied an agreement from some place online without understanding what's in it.)

My suggestion is to address these questions with the person/business issuing the work contract.

travelin cat

 7:47 pm on Mar 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

Cooldar, it seems to me that they want original coding that can not be traced back to any open source or free code. I'm assuming it's because they want to make sure their products contain all original content for legal reasons. I do not think they would be restricting the platform, just the code used.

I agree with LifeinAsia, you should ask them about this, just request a bit of clarity.


 8:01 pm on Mar 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

yes cooldar, from the wording there it sounds like you can't use PHP, Ruby, JQuery, Mootools, OpenGL, WordPress, TinyMCE, Smarty... etc

JavaScript itself is not open-source; it's in the same bucket as HTML and CSS. You're safe there.

What I'm thinking is they don't want to end up with an app that relies heavily on a complicated 3rd party component. But... no one alive really wants to build a Rich Text Editor in JavaScript from scratch. ouch!

Good thing you caught this now. Bring it back to the client and discuss it. I can't imagine having to build a web app without Mootools. Oh, the suffering!


 8:21 pm on Mar 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

but even if I can use javascript, I can't use jquery or prototype and other ajax library, right?



 11:43 pm on Mar 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

that is correct.


 12:38 am on Mar 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd call and discuss. Don't guess - find out!


 6:27 pm on Mar 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

No - it just means they don't want you to deliver open source code or code that uses open source class libraries, so php will likely be out but JavaScript is OK.

Its usually put in because of vulnerabilities common in open source but might also be for legal reasons.


 6:39 pm on Mar 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

At it's strictest meaning it should also mean that can't be hosted on a 'nix box either, no Apache.....

I would contact them and get them to explain what they are concerned about.

Perhaps they are confusing 2 things as 1... confusing developing with open source with releasing your site under a GPL.

If having their site released under a GPL is their concern then I would take that to mean that you can use raw PHP but you can't use a PHP framework or CMS that was released under a GPL.


 10:27 pm on Mar 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

MMMM, I think we're over-thinking this.

.... in the Deliverables, or create the Deliverables in such a way that it is compiled with or linked to Open Source Code...."

The intent is obviously to redistribute or sell the code. So anything with a GPL stamp on it is out.

jquery - out.
lightbox - out.
tinyMCE - out.
free templates from a free template site - out.
"linked to" - a CDN for jquery (for example) - out

If you build a PHP application that requires the Zend framework, that's just a requirement for installation - but you can't include Zend files in the actual distro.

If your application uses iMagick and ImageMagick, it's a requirement for it to be in place for a successful installation, but you can't include ImageMagick binaries in the distro.

Take it one step further, if you write a program in PHP or even Perl, it would require those to be installed to function, but this could not be construed as being "linked to" an open source application.

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