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MageBridge unpublished from JED?

Our MageBridge extension has just been unpublished from the JED (Joomla! Extensions Directory). Why? Well, the reason is Uses encryption and restricts usage by license key. Obviously, that's reason enough to unpublish any extension. But does this apply to MageBridge? No, and we've had this argument already 2 times before.

Inspecting earlier mails

We've had this conversation before. MageBridge was unpublished before and the arguments we came up with are the exact same. Before, it was claimed that MageBridge was closed source and was restricting usage through a license. Stupidly enough, when having these discussions in the past, the JED re-published MageBridge again without much response. It's the same story all over again.

UR13-Bait and Switch/Fraudulent Practices

The claim starts with that MageBridge uses encryption. But none of the source code of MageBridge is encrypted. Even better: All files of MageBridge are published for public viewing on our Subversion server. Every single PHP-file of Joomla! is open-source and has the GNU/GPL license applied to it. This is the entire opposite of being encrypted, it is open source as it should be.

Exceptions: Magento licensing; trial-version

One exception to this GPL-approach is the Magento source code, which is a different application than Joomla!, and all source code needs to be published under a different open source license then the GPL (because this would otherwise be in conflict with the Magento licensing). But none of the files of Magento touch Joomla!, so no GPL is needed. The other exception is our MageBridge Trial version, a version that lets us (Yireo) troubleshoot and support MageBridge setups while they have not purchased a support subscription - this software is indeed ionCube encrypted. But the same sources of that trial are also available in Subversion. So, if anyone would look for the source-code of the trial-version, simply look in our Subversion trees.

UR9-Violation - Licensing Restrictions

The second reason for unpublishing MageBridge is that it restricts usage by license key. That's not true, period. Anyone can download and use the full source code to their use, and therefor use all of the functionality of MageBridge for free. A license is only used to keep track of those domains that customers buy a support subscription for. The keyword here is: Support subscription.

After this support subscription expires, the MageBridge software keeps on working - without us asking any money for it. The license is not required to run MageBridge, the license is only used to get support from us. There is no restriction. If you would replace the word license with the word support-coupon, then the meaning is still the same. (Come to think of that, perhaps that's a good idea.)

Loss of income, no more support for free extensions

So, the reasons why MageBridge was unpublished seem to be based on wrong assumptions. But this quick action of unpublishing gives me possibly a decrease of income of about 50%. What the JED seems to miss, is that extension developers like us need to make an income out of extensions. Having no income, means no money to pay the mortgage and other bills. Ofcourse those bills need to be paid anyway, so we're looking now for alternative income.

Unfortunately, this also means we have to spend more time on that other income, and less time on free extensions and free support. It's ashame that the JED doesn't see its own responsibility in keeping commercial extension developers happy, so those developers can support the rest of the community again with sponsoring, free extensions and other help.

Written by Jisse Reitsma op 23 May 2012

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