Toowomba's Andrew Eddie (pic below), the lead developer for the Joomla! content management system, is one of those who makes a living from free and open source software.
He provided some insight into his methods at the 12th Australian national Linux conference yesterday, in a presentation titled "The paradox of commercially viable open source software."
Eddie has been writing open source software since 2002, first with the Mambo project and later with Joomla!
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In 2007, the project started to promote the fact that it was under the GPL. Some might call it enforcement. The result was that some members of the project walked out.
Until that point, the project had not been too particular about the licensing requirements when it came to extensions. But once the GPL was put front and centre, the tale was different.
Eddie said that it was not possible to do what people with traditional licensing did, things like digital rights management or using obscurity to hide intellectual property.
"When you use copyleft, distribution is free and some licences, like the GPL, have viral downstream effects," he added. Hence, alternative models had to be devised.