[pmwiki-users] Commercialism in PmWiki (was: Google Analytics)

Patrick R. Michaud pmichaud at pobox.com
Wed Aug 23 17:03:40 CDT 2006

On Wed, Aug 23, 2006 at 06:46:15PM +0200, Stephan Schildberg wrote:
> Neil Herber wrote:
> > Now, however, I have a few worries about the slippery slope that 
> > inclusion in the core presents. Rather than being a purely 
> > open-source project, PmWiki will have some components embedded in it 
> > that are of a commercial nature. There may already be such components 
> > in PmWiki, but I am not aware of them - so shame on me if they are there.
> [...]
> PmWiki, at least for me appeared (because I cannot prove it), to be 
> clean and independent from any commercial power, beside Patrick's own 
> intentions. This was a 'good feeling', is a good image for this 
> software, now will slightly vanish.

Since the topic has conveniently come up, it seems like a good time
for me to pass along some of my plans regarding commercial software
and PmWiki.

At the moment, the PmWiki core does not have any components 
embedded in it that are of a commercial nature.  Based on 
the excellent comments and observations about the "commercial"
and negative connotations of incorporating Google Analytics 
into the core, I don't have any plans to put any such 
commercial associations into the core distribution.

However, I should let everyone know that over the next few weeks
and/or months, I'm intending to make available a paid (yes, $$$)
"commercial license" for PmWiki, as an alternative to the
existing General Public License that PmWiki is currently
distributed under.

This doesn't mean there will be two versions of the software, 
it only means that PmWiki will be available under two licenses...
the General Public License and a more traditional software
license that can (must) be purchased.

One may reasonably ask "If PmWiki is available under the GPL,
why would anyone pay for a traditional license?"  The answer
is that, believe it or not, there are businesses and
organizations that have policies restricting the use of
GPL software, or that can only used software that has been
purchased and has an asset tag, invoice, or purchase order
for it.  Or, they may just wish to have a more traditional
vendor relationship.  (For some people it's much easier 
to tell managers and bosses "I need XX dollars to buy
this excellent software package" than to say "I'm going to
use this excellent software package I downloaded off the

So, this new license is designed to help more people adopt
PmWiki, as well as bring me some income.  And a larger
community helps everyone.

Now, in saying that a commercial license option will soon be 
available for PmWiki, this should not be taken as having any 
negative implications for what is available via the GPL.
The same functional code will be used for both license 
distributions; it absolutely won't be a case of "the 
commercial version gets more/newer features than the 
GPL version".  The only thing that I expect to change
is that PmWiki will now be available under the GPL and
a non-GPL, "paid" license.

And, for organizations that need to purchase software but
would prefer to buy a copy of PmWiki under the GPL, that 
option will be available too.  And PmWiki will of course 
continue to be available under the GPL and downloadable at 
no cost from pmwiki.org.

In addition to the commercial license, I'm also planning to 
offer some forms of "paid support option" for PmWiki, to provide
installation, troubleshooting, development, and other assistance
with PmWiki.  And, as before, the existence of a paid 
support channel should not be taken as an indication that the
no-cost channel will wither away, or that I'll be any less 
available or helpful on the mailing lists than I have been.  I 
just know that there are likely some groups and organizations 
that need a more definite support option for PmWiki; i.e.,
something fee-based with contractual obligations and
specific performance guarantees.  So, this will be for them.

The paid support will be available for both the commercial
license and the GPL, although there may be different fee
structures involved.  I'm still working out the details.

Anyway, that's my current planning on things; I don't have
a specific timeline for events but will keep everyone posted
as things occur.  And as always, I'll be happy to answer
questions and hear any opinions or suggestions (good or bad)
about these plans.



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