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As one potential user of your software, I am very curious as to why you have decided not to use the GPL or something similar on it.  Currently I am in the process of beta testing our deployment, and I find I must make numerous modifications (mainly adding features we want, customizing the interface, and polishing some of the workings).  However, the way this software is licensed encumbers those changes by not permitting their distribution (whether this was your intention or not), and as it stands my organization will be the only one to benefit from the work we have done.  However, we would be more than happy to contribute the changes to your codebase and distribute mods, if only the project were libre as well as free.  I think a lot of people would be more willing to use your software if you licensed it under the GPL, or allowed users to choose between it and your license.

2 Answers

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Hey... I asked this question before... See his answer; http://www.question2answer.org/qa/17/what-is-the-licence-of-this-product

:D
+2 votes
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edited
Thanks for this question. I definitely understand where you're coming from.

As the creator of Q2A, I see two issues with licensing it under GPL immediately. First, it means inviting significant user contributions, before I feel the code base is really ready to absorb them. For example there are some major changes coming in 1.0b2, and it would be hard to work on those while other people are working on the code independently.

Second, a GPL-style license would really reduce my future options. I imagine Q2A will always be free for public websites, but I may want to charge in other cases, e.g. for companies who want to use it on their Intranet. If I made the license GPL, I lose almost all control over how Q2A can be used.

That said, I am very open to changing the license in future. I just feel that it's too early to go straight to a full-on open source license.

As for your modifications, it would be really helpful if you'd contact me at Q2A feedback - http://www.question2answer.org/feedback.php - to let me know what sorts of changes you are working on. I can then integrate these myself, or perhaps put in place an appropriate plug-in mechanism that will keep the interface between Q2A and your code clean, even while Q2A goes through future changes.
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I can see where you're coming from, but you don't need to accept user contributions right away, just because it's open source. If you decided to add a random feature to Firefox and submitted your code to them, they wouldn't accept it because they didn't want the feature.

Personally I think that if this project was FOSS then more people would be willing to help out with ideas and such. I'm making some UI changes myself to make it easier to use but I'm reluctant to post them back here.

Also, there are plenty of ways to make money off open source - donations, offering custom development etc. If you added a plugin system you could develop add-ons that you sell. You'll still hold the copyright to "Question2Answer" so this will always be the source of the software.
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