Changes in Style Submission Policy

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Raimon
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Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by Raimon » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:34 pm

Hello Everyone,

You may have seen that we now require licenses to be specified for styles in the Customisation Database. This is a necessary policy to prevent ambiguity and potential legal consequences. The entire Style Submission Policy is currently being reviewed and revised and we are considering allowing images/theme/javascript to be licensed separately.

We feel that now is a good time to ask for the community's input in this matter, so if you would like to assist, please answer the following questions for us:
1. If such a policy were enacted, would you submit styles with the images/theme/javascript licenses under a license other than the GNU GPL? Why?
1b. If you answered "yes" above, would you use a non-Creative Commons license? Why?
1c. If you answered "yes" above, would you use a non-OSI-approved license? Why?
2. What do you think about having separate licenses for your images/themes/javascript?

We really appreciate your taking the time to answer our questions.

Thank you for your continued contributions to the phpBB project.

Best regards,
The phpBB Styles Team
Last edited by Raimon on Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Typo
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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by Mighty Gorgon » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:28 pm

  1. I would use only GPL
  2. If in a style some images covered by CC are used, then it would be useful to have a separate license... anyway I would prefer to keep things as simple as possible
Just a small suggestion: I would like to have some checkboxes in the submission form with the aim to simplify stylers' life. I would prefer not being forced to have a license.txt in my style, but the license could be added just by flagging a checkbox "Click here to automatically add a GPL V2 license to your work"... that would make our life easier, and also a lot easier for users who don't care/understand about licenses (I know that everyone should).

As I final remark... I would remove the possibility to select license not applicable to styles such Creative Commons (if I remember correctly when I have uploaded my styles I tried to select CC with no success).

Thanks for your time.

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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by _Vinny_ » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:27 pm

1 - No. Today it is the same license used by phpBB, would be simpler for authors to work with the same license used by developers and known by the styles team.

2 - I think the same:
Mighty Gorgon wrote:... anyway I would prefer to keep things as simple as possible
I think it would be quite complicated to use licenses for each image/script used in styles.
First of all, the authors try to know if you need a license to use the images and scripts.

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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by FanFanLaTuFlippe » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:46 am

Hi Raimon, Hi all,

First happy new year :)

I think it would be much simpler to have one license in order to avoid any confusion or unnecessary errors. I think if a designer puts are templates for free download is that he fully agrees that we can use its images or its templates. I think the GPL is sufficient.

have a good day.

Best Regards

FanFan

PS: sorry for my bad english.
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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by Raimon » Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:14 pm

Mighty Gorgon wrote:Just a small suggestion: I would like to have some checkboxes in the submission form with the aim to simplify stylers' life. I would prefer not being forced to have a license.txt in my style, but the license could be added just by flagging a checkbox "Click here to automatically add a GPL V2 license to your work"... that would make our life easier, and also a lot easier for users who don't care/understand about licenses (I know that everyone should).

As I final remark... I would remove the possibility to select license not applicable to styles such Creative Commons (if I remember correctly when I have uploaded my styles I tried to select CC with no success).

Thanks for your time.
Yes, we are going to implent some features to make it easier for Style Author to submit there Style.
The idea you mentioned was already crossed my mind.
But before we can implant such things we really need to know what the Community things of our ideas.

So thanks so far for all the feedback guys :)
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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by AdamR » Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:44 pm

Just to add my opinion to the list (not that I currently have any released styles, but I do have a few I"m developing):

I firstly have no issue with multiple licenses used throughout the style as long as those elements are clearly identified and separated within the package. For example, one of the styles I'm currently developing does not borrow template code from prosilver/subsilver2. As such, I'm licensing it under MIT. The CSS and JavaScript are also MIT. The style does utilize some CC-BY-SA images, but they are clearly identified within the package and are separate entities.

Provided style authors are not violating the GPL that covers prosilver/subsilver2 (or any other author's licenses), I honestly don't think they should be limited in the database to which license they can chose for their own self-produced work.

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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by thinkagain » Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:28 am

I haven't released any phpbb styles although I've done a few custom ones for hire but I do develop Drupal themes for free. I believe that if phpbb is supposed to be GPL then you should require all styles to be 100% GPL as well. Most GPL based projects already require this for admittance into their download databases or repositories.

Based on the comment above I don't think you understand GPL licensing at all. The person above me stated they were going to license their style as something other than GPL but that is not possible for many reasons. You really should read the text of the GPL version 2 license (which is what phpbb is released under and what affects all derivative works including styles) - in particular this section here:
These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.
Afaik a complete phpbb style is made up of the following:

stylename (top level folder and the style package itself aka "whole work")
--style.cfg
--imageset (subfolder containing style and language specific images)
--template (subfolder containing style template code HTML/PHP/JS etc)
--theme (subfolder containing style CSS & images used by CSS)

In order to meet the GPL requirements styles that are not 100% GPL would not be able to be distributed in the directory structure above. Being in separate folders does not qualify as being distributed separately when those folders are part of a whole style package. The gentleman above me indicated he was developing a style with CC-BY-SA images so I will use his as an example. Since CC-BY-SA is not GPL compatible, images released under that license would not be able to be packaged in a GPL licensed style. The images would have to be packaged separately like so:

Package download - (top level folder containing both style package and image package)
-stylename (root level folder and the style package itself aka "whole work")
---style.cfg
---template (subfolder containing style template code HTML/PHP/JS etc)
---theme (subfolder containing style CSS & images used by CSS)
-imageset (root level folder containing style and language specific images & non GPL license text)

See what a mess you would create for users trying to figure out what was licensed what and complicating the installation of styles from one step into possibly multiple steps. That is just taking into account non GPL compatible images used in a style, imagine how much more complicated it would be when you factor in non-GPL CSS & JS bundled as well. 100% GPL for styles, definitely.
For example, one of the styles I'm currently developing does not borrow template code from prosilver/subsilver2.
:? Can you explain how you are going to manage that? I'd be interested in seeing a usable style that does not call any of the available phpbb language and template engine variables. :D

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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by AdamR » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:01 am

A zip file does not mean a "work" in the context of the GPL. They can be distributed in the same transmission provided they are independent. Where those files are structurally located within the package is irrelevant.

EDIT: The GPLv2 also sates this 2 paragraghs down from that which you quoted:
GPLv2 wrote:In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under the scope of this License
thinkagain wrote:Can you explain how you are going to manage that? I'd be interested in seeing a usable style that does not call any of the available phpbb language and template engine variables
The template stands alone in terms of code. phpBB acts as a compiler. If you use GCC to compile your C++ code, does that code have to be GPL? Not at all.

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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by thinkagain » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:19 am

A zip file does not mean a "work" in the context of the GPL. They can be distributed in the same transmission provided they are independent. Where those files are structurally located within the package is irrelevant.
1. Your style zip files do mean a "work" by your own definition of package requirements. This is to guarantee that a user simply unzips the file, uploads the decompressed folder (as a whole) to the /styles directory and a style is born in the ACP. ;) 2. Yes they can be distributed in the same package/medium if they are packaged independently as aggregate works - which if you noticed is exactly what my second directory structure example above demonstrates as the only way you could distribute non-GPL compatible code/images with a GPL covered work, with it as opposed to within it. See? Where the files are located within the package is totally relevant, just as it would be if the medium was CD/DVD. Let's try again:
Distributing the same sections as part of a Whole Work:
<------GPL version2 covered style package (aka "the covered Work") ------->
/folder <---style name
license.txt (GPL)
style.cfg
../imageset (uh oh,the images here are CC-BY-SA which conflicts with GPL!) <- can't happen
../template
../theme

Distributing as separate works:
<------GPL version2 covered style package (aka "the covered Work") ------->
/folder <---style name
license.txt (GPL)
style.cfg
../template
../theme
<------CC-BY-SA licensed images (aka "the separate Work") ------->
/imageset folder
--CC-BY-SA License file
The template stands alone in terms of code. phpBB acts as a compiler.
No it really doesn't. You don't have to take my word for it though you can read the Software Freedom Law Center's official legal position yourself. ;)

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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by AdamR » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:26 am

thinkagain wrote:
The template stands alone in terms of code. phpBB acts as a compiler.
No it really doesn't. You don't have to take my word for it though you can read the Software Freedom Law Center's official legal position yourself. ;)
A link would be appreciated.

At no point does a template touch phpBB or use any of its code. phpBB reads the contents of the template, sees sections of template variables, switches, etc, and then proceeds to compile it into HTML which is sent to the browser by phpBB. It's absolutely no different then sending C++ code through any one of the compilers out there.

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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by A_Jelly_Doughnut » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:14 pm

thinkagain wrote:I haven't released any phpbb styles although I've done a few custom ones for hire but I do develop Drupal themes for free. I believe that if phpbb is supposed to be GPL then you should require all styles to be 100% GPL as well. Most GPL based projects already require this for admittance into their download databases or repositories.
Believe it or not, I agree with you. I formulated my thoughts on the topic into a series of blog posts during the WordPress "Thesis" saga in summer 2010, and don't particularly care to re-type them today. http://ajellydonut.com/index.php?post/2 ... ng-the-GPL

To paraphrase, phpBB has the right to demand that styles be (100%) GPL, should they so choose. phpBB are not required to enforce such provisions if they feel it is in the best interest of the project.

This topic seems to me to be a poll trying to determine what is in the best interest of the project -- and a stagnant style community is not in said interest. As I'm not a style author of any repute, I'll refrain from further (marginally on-topic) replies here.
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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by thinkagain » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:34 pm

A link would be appreciated.
Here are two:
http://drupal.org/licensing/faq/#q7
http://wordpress.org/news/2009/07/themes-are-gpl-too/

Please bear in mind that we in the Drupal community went through this discussion three years ago and the policy I linked you to was developed with the aid of hired attorneys specializing in the field in addition to consulting directly with the SFLC attorneys to get an official legal ruling. Wordpress went through the same process a year later and received the same official legal opinion as Drupal after analyzing the software and how it interacts. The bottom line is that there is no way to separate a template from the phpBB functions it uses and the litmus test of whether the template on its own is a separate and independent work is can the template perform it's function and be useful without phpBB code included in the template. The answer to that is no. :)

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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by RMcGirr83 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:45 pm

I am a bit confused. Here you state
Afaik a complete phpbb style is made up of the following:

stylename (top level folder and the style package itself aka "whole work")
--style.cfg
--imageset (subfolder containing style and language specific images)
--template (subfolder containing style template code HTML/PHP/JS etc)
--theme (subfolder containing style CSS & images used by CSS)

In order to meet the GPL requirements styles that are not 100% GPL would not be able to be distributed in the directory structure above. Being in separate folders does not qualify as being distributed separately when those folders are part of a whole style package.
..and yet from the wordpress link you posted.
The CSS and images could easily be used with a range of HTML documents and read and displayed by a variety of software having no relation to WordPress. As such, these files are separate works from the WordPress code itself.
which seems to say that the css and images don't necessarily have to be GPL'ed.
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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by thinkagain » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:52 pm

which seems to say that the css and images don't necessarily have to be GPL'ed.
I haven't said they have to be. What I said is the GPL incompatible code & images cannot be packaged and distributed as part of a GPL style. If you look the both my posts where I outlined the directory structure the second example in each (aggregation) demonstrates that the GPL incompatible piece is pulled up and out of the style package and bundled as a separate work in a separate folder with its own proprietary license text. This separates the GPL incompatible code from the GPL covered code in the distribution and meets the requirements of the GPL license. That makes style creation and installation more complex though which is why I voted for 100% GPL. To install that style a user would have to extract and upload the style folder and the imageset folder individually then run two installs from the ACP, the style install (which would install the style with the template and theme components) and the imageset install. Of course stand alone images and original CSS that can be used outside of phpBB are not derivative works but they cannot be packaged within a greater whole work that is GPL unless they themselves are GPL or GPL compatible. The CC-BY-SA images AdamR mentioned using are not compatible with the GPL and cannot be packaged as part of the GPL style and were the basis for my example. No one ever said you couldn't have split licensed downloads to accommodate the bundling of incompatible licensed works but they are much more work for both the author and the user. :)

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Re: Changes in Style Submission Policy

Post by Pony99CA » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:35 pm

thinkagain wrote:Based on the comment above I don't think you understand GPL licensing at all. The person above me stated they were going to license their style as something other than GPL but that is not possible for many reasons. You really should read the text of the GPL version 2 license (which is what phpbb is released under and what affects all derivative works including styles) - in particular this section here:
These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.
I haven't released (or used) any styles, either, but I think you may need to "think again". ;)

As you quoted:
If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works.
Styles (other than ProSilver and SubSilver) are not distributed with phpBB, so they are independent and separate works. More about that in a bit.
thinkagain wrote:In order to meet the GPL requirements styles that are not 100% GPL would not be able to be distributed in the directory structure above. Being in separate folders does not qualify as being distributed separately when those folders are part of a whole style package. The gentleman above me indicated he was developing a style with CC-BY-SA images so I will use his as an example. Since CC-BY-SA is not GPL compatible,
Styles are not "distributed" in separate folders as part of phpBB; they are "installed" into a set of directories whose structure is merely defined by phpBB.
thinkagain wrote:
A zip file does not mean a "work" in the context of the GPL. They can be distributed in the same transmission provided they are independent. Where those files are structurally located within the package is irrelevant.
1. Your style zip files do mean a "work" by your own definition of package requirements. This is to guarantee that a user simply unzips the file, uploads the decompressed folder (as a whole) to the /styles directory and a style is born in the ACP. ;) 2. Yes they can be distributed in the same package/medium if they are packaged independently as aggregate works - which if you noticed is exactly what my second directory structure example above demonstrates as the only way you could distribute non-GPL compatible code/images with a GPL covered work, with it as opposed to within it. See? Where the files are located within the package is totally relevant, just as it would be if the medium was CD/DVD. Let's try again:
Distributing the same sections as part of a Whole Work:
<------GPL version2 covered style package (aka "the covered Work") ------->
/folder <---style name
license.txt (GPL)
style.cfg
../imageset (uh oh,the images here are CC-BY-SA which conflicts with GPL!) <- can't happen
../template
../theme
I'm no lawyer, but I disagree with your "uh oh". If somebody tried to package a new version of phpBB that included Adam's style and distribute that under the GPL, they would be violating the GPL. However, Adam's style distributed separately for installation into the phpBB framework would not.
thinkagain wrote:
The template stands alone in terms of code. phpBB acts as a compiler.
No it really doesn't. You don't have to take my word for it though you can read the Software Freedom Law Center's official legal position yourself. ;)A link would be appreciated.
Here are two:
http://drupal.org/licensing/faq/#q7
http://wordpress.org/news/2009/07/themes-are-gpl-too/
That Drupal link you mention was useless, as it contained no reference to the Software Freedom Law Center. :?

The WordPress link does reference that, but it seems that determination was made because WordPress themes include PHP files released under GPL. phpBB styles are primarily HTML files, with some CSS and images, of course. It sounds like Adam's HTML was developed independently of phpBB's styles and possibly the CSS was, too. The only problems that I can see are the JavaScript files included in the /template folder (ProSilver has editor.js, forum_fn.js and styleswitcher.js; SubSilver only has editor.js).

I don't know if those are required or are distributed as part of the style or copied there as part of the phpBB style installation process, though. If they are required to be distributed as part of the style, and if that prevents styles from being released licenses other than the GPL, I would argue that phpBB should move those JavaScript files up to the /styles directory so that styles wouldn't need to distribute them.
thinkagain wrote:Please bear in mind that we in the Drupal community went through this discussion three years ago and the policy I linked you to was developed with the aid of hired attorneys specializing in the field in addition to consulting directly with the SFLC attorneys to get an official legal ruling. Wordpress went through the same process a year later and received the same official legal opinion as Drupal after analyzing the software and how it interacts. The bottom line is that there is no way to separate a template from the phpBB functions it uses and the litmus test of whether the template on its own is a separate and independent work is can the template perform it's function and be useful without phpBB code included in the template. The answer to that is no. :)
As far as I know, phpBB styles don't use phpBB functions at all. They include markup tags that the phpBB template processor inserts data into (much like various programming languages have strprt functions that allow inserting text into placeholders). That's just a defined API, though.

By your interpretation, it sounds like coding a plug-in to an API defined by a GPL package would require that plug-in to released under the GPL, which seems ridiculous.

That said, phpBB as an organization is certainly free to set limits on what styles they are willing to include in their style database. If they choose to limit those styles to ones released under the GPL, that's their right (but not a requirement as far as I know).

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