The board of directors of Open Source Matters (OSM) is requesting public feedback from our community members through March 6, 2014, regarding a potential license change for the Joomla! Framework from the GPL to the LGPL. This potential license change would only apply to the Joomla Framework, but not to the Joomla Content Management System (CMS).
Early last year, following a previous public email list discussion, the Joomla Production Leadership Team (PLT) conducted a survey with the Joomla developer community to learn more about how they felt about potentially relicensing the Joomla Framework, but not the Joomla CMS, from GPL v2+ to LGPL v2.1+.
Here are some links to published results of that survey:
Because the survey results indicated strong support from the Joomla developer community for that potential license change, the PLT requested that OSM research legal issues regarding this potential change for the Joomla Framework:
Since that time, OSM has had multiple internal discussions about this request, and has also been in contact with the Software Freedom Law Center to receive guidance about legal issues. Discussions are still ongoing, but at this point it appears feasible from a legal standpoint to make this potential license change for the Joomla Framework.
Summary rationale and additional resources
Changing the license of the Joomla Framework to LGPL would follow the example of many other popular software frameworks, and would remove a potential barrier to increased adoption of the Joomla Framework. But the first "L" in the LGPL license stands for "lesser" (compared to the GPL license), and making this license change would also allow the Joomla Framework (but not the Joomla CMS) to be used in proprietary programs, which is not allowed by the current GPL license.
Here is a Frequently Asked Questions page regarding the GNU family of licenses (covering both the GPL and LGPL licenses):
Here is an article that summarizes some of the reasons both for and against using the LGPL license:
Next step: more community feedback
OSM recognizes that this potential license change for the Joomla Framework is an important issue, and so in addition to previous public discussions, we now want to allow two more weeks for a final period of public feedback from our community members. Please share your questions and comments about this issue through March 6, 2014 in this public forum thread:
Beginning March 7, 2014, OSM will move forward to address any remaining unanswered legal questions, and then there will be a final OSM discussion and vote on this issue. OSM will make a public announcement of the results of that vote.