Is Zimbra open source according to the OSI?

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Is Zimbra open source according to the OSI?

Postby Charles22 » Thu Oct 20, 2005 3:28 am

I was excited by the prospect of a great open source groupware solution, but the ZPL is not approved by the Open Source Initiative as an open source license. Also, Exhibit B of the ZPL arguably violates Section 10 of the OSI's Open Source Definition. Can someone clear this up? Why wasn't Zimbra just released under an established license like the MPL anyway? Thanks.

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Is Zimbra open source according to the OSI?

Postby 17514Scott » Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:57 am

The MPL was designed for the kind of customization for the Zimbra Community that Zimbra and others (such as SugarCRM) have done, although it does lead to yet another open source software license. This is indeed a point of concern in the community, since OSI is presumably not so interested in approving an ever increasing number of community specific licenses. On the other hand, the Mozilla Public License was ideal for our needs.
We did indeed look at other licenses that did not require such customization. CDDL is the closest to Mozilla in its licensing terms. However, one of our criteria was that the license we used for Zimbra should have broad adoption across multiple communities. By that reckoning, the best bets were GPL, Apache, and Mozilla. (We got the feedback that the CDDL is still preceived to be somewhat Sun centric, since Sun is the primary user of the license, even though there are no Sun-specific terms. Our hope is the CDDL does achieve that critical mass of adopters, because it is a good license.)
Regarding the choice among the big three (all of which we liked), Apache didn't require that downstream value-adders return their contributions to the community and GPL was less ideally suited to projects like Zimbra that incorporate open source technologies licensed on terms other than those of the GPL/LGPL (e.g., although the good news is that one of the goals for GPL 3.0 is compatibility with Apache).
The Zimbra AJAX Public License (for our AJAX Toolkit) is vanilla Mozilla, but (as you point out), the Zimbra Public License (which is also derived from the MPL) does have a UI attribution requirement that may prove controversial in some quarters. The Zimbra Community is not alone in taking this approach, and moreover, we expect this trend to grow with the proliferation of open source applications that are architected as a rich AJAX/Web 2.0 user-interface married to a supporting server that exports XML bindings to the AJAX client.
Our goal at Zimbra for such attribution was and is to encourage large commercial companies that elect to retarget rich open source UIs like Zimbra's to their own proprietary back-ends to also give some recognition back to the open source projects from which they derived their solutions. Otherwise, we felt there was some risk that a nascent open-source project like Zimbra could become fragmented or co-opted by bigger companies. Our hope is that this strategy will encourage balanced investment in both the client and server technologies necessary for the Zimbra community to be successful.
My $.02. Cheers, Scott

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