open source

Whither Thou Goest Joomla!

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief

In terms of Internet time, one can consider Joomla! as a young adult who is trying to figure out what he/she wants to do with the rest of their life and is having an identity crisis in the process.  The Joomla project on one hand wants to remain true to its Mission, Vision & Values.  On the other, it is currently engaging a professional PR Firm to increase it’s brand recognition. 

What Joomla! does not have that a number of other OSS projects do have is one or more commercial entities that provide them with “free” marketing and PR services.  Acquia, Automattic, redhat, Canonical (Ubuntu), Oracle (OpenOffice) come to mind here.

Now that I’ve stated the above, some of you will proceed directly to the comments form and delineate the many evils of commercial entities and the OSS projects that are “conspiring” with them.  Some will suffer from “Twitter Deprivation” and move on.  Others, thinking “What the hell is this idiot talking about?” will read on out of pure curiosity.  And some will simply read on with no malice aforethought!

Frameworks and Licenses

The Joomla! CMS Project recently announced a change in the policy for listing 3rd-party extensions on their popular JED site.  The new policy requires that all 3rd-party extensions must use the GPL license in order to be listed on the directory.  Furthermore, they will no longer accept extensions that contain encrypted code, which some open source software developers use to discourage individuals and warez sites from redistributing their software.

This came as no big surprise to me, as  Joomla's overall policy on extension licensing, which was announced about 18 months ago, is that extensions to Joomla!, which is GPL, are, by definition, GPL since they are considered "derivative works."

While I personally have no problem with this new policy (other than wondering why GPL-compatible licenses are not allowed), I wondered if anyone had really thought about what the long term effect of a GPL-only policy would be on one of Joomla's often stated future goals.  That being the desire to have the Joomla! CMS spawn a companion "application framework" upon which a number of diverse applications could be built.   

One thought that crossed my mind while burning a minimal amount of brain cells thinking about this was:

Drupal 6 RC2

Drupal 6 RC2 was released yesterday.  And, I must also say that the more familiar I have become with Drupal 6, my previous opinion that building Drupal themes is not as straightforward as building Joomla! templates has mellowed quite a bit.

Why the change of heart, you ask?  Read on to find out...