Saturday, September 16, 2006

HPL version 1.0 is here

A month ago, I proposed a new license, called the Honest Public License (HPL). It is GPL v2 with an additional paragraph, clarifying that distribution of software as a service is exactly the same as distribution of software in a floppy. Therefore, GPL applies also when the software is used to provide a service to the public.

I left the license out for review for a month. I received a ton of comments on this blog and in many blogs and articles around the net. Evidently, I touched a nerve ;-) The feedback has been universally positive (and I have to admit I have been quite surprised). The only real negative comment I heard has been "yet another license". It is true, it is yet another license. But it changes the most important element of computing that was not covered in GPL, because it was written in 1991 when software was distributed in floppies and nobody knew what SaaS meant. For everything else, GPL is just fine. SaaS is the future of computing: HPL is just another incredibly important license ;-)

Anyway, here you find HPL 1.0 and here you find the diff between HPL and GPL v2. As I wrote a month ago, our next step is to have HPL disappear within GPL v3. That process is ongoing and I have no control on, so let's wait and see.

Regarding Funambol, we have decided to leave the clients on GPL v2 (no reason to change them to HPL, since there is no SaaS on clients). HPL will clearly end up in the incompatibility list of GPL, as AGPL before it (a license that tried to fix the same issue, but in a pretty "strong" way), so we would prefer people to be able to link clients based on GPL code. On the server side, to build SyncSources, you will have to use HPL. HPL affects every SyncSource, but it does not affect the product you are connecting the SyncSource to (if you talk to it with a separate protocol). Therefore, the impact should be minimal. Because of dual licensing, Funambol could also grant a special waiver for open source projects that cannot switch the SyncSource to HPL. Just give us a buzz. More to come in the new site after the launch of v 3.0 GA (very soon!).

I want to thank Patrick, Markus, Tomasz and Kari for the precious help in the review process. I just do not know what I would do without a community of people working on the project (wait, I know, I would be doing something else like opening a restaurant in Maui, probably called Funambol Italian Restaurant. THAT would be fun :-)