Over the past several years we’ve listened to feedback from hundreds of members pertaining to our policies, or lack thereof, on plugins, modifications, and themes. This blog post will specifically address the changes we plan on implementing at our Official Community Forums and on our Official Modifications Site.
As most of you know, any plugin, code modification, theme, or graphics set on the MyBB modifications site are made available to you both free of charge and free of restriction in the sense and spirit of the open source community. We do this on a set of common ideals for which the MyBB Group believes will place this community in the right direction. To continue this effort we have decided to make some changes, outlined below. (If you have any questions, please first read this blog post to its entirety)
First are the changes we will be making to our policies on plugins, code modifications, and themes.
- Effective immediately, you will not be able to post new threads on modifications in the Releases forums of the Plugins & Code Modifications and Themes and Templates sections that are not provided on the MyBB Modifications Site. This does not affect threads that were there previously and can continue to be operated as normal.
- As soon as the updates to the MyBB Modifications site are in place, the Releases forums of the Plugins & Code Modifications and Themes and Templates sections will be archived and new Release forums will be created which will be synchronized directly to the Official MyBB Modifications site. Once the old section has been archived, you will be able to continue to read your old threads but not continue to post or update them. This change is meant to start us off fresh.
- As soon as the updates to the MyBB Modifications site are in place, the Discussion & Support forums will be archived and new Discussion & Support forums will be created to start off fresh with the new Releases forum. Essentially, it will be the Official Modifications Site Support Forum and we will begin to moderate it as such.
- As soon as the updates to the MyBB Modifications site are in place, the Requests forum will be archived and will not be replaced by a new forum. We believe that the old system of requests creates a mindset of monetary value for these requests instead of intrinsic value. We hope that more people will create plugins for their own needs and release them to the community to benefit and as practice.
- As soon as the updates to the MyBB Modifications site are in place, the Development forum will be more strict. We ask you only to post development discussions instead of items that are under development and won’t be available on the official MyBB Modifications site. We will ask the community to help us keep this forum in order by reporting threads and posts which don’t follow this guideline.
- When MyBB 1.6 is released to the general public, the license will also be changed to LGPL. Further information about the difference between the GPL and the LGPL can be found below.
- Between now and MyBB 2.0 we will also be working on a larger revamp of our modifications systems. Our aim to become the central and primary place where people go to get modifications and where developers go to submit them. More details on this are outlined further down in this blog post.
In summary, the MyBB Themes & Modifications sections of community forums have become a breeding ground for most everything but the Themes & Modifications sections for the MyBB Modifications Site. We are, in essence, taking it back to its original purpose.
Modification Site Upgrades and Changes
The policy amendments outlined above are the first step in a larger round of changes planned for the official modifications community, which will include the development of several enhancements and new features to the MyBB Mods website. A follow-up blog post will be made in the coming weeks outlining the planned changes in more detail but in the meantime here are a few areas in which you can expect to see changes in the future.
- Automated release announcements (as detailed above)
- Improvements to download organization and searching
- Improvements to the submission validation procedure
- New archiving features
The upcoming changes are based both on user feedback and our own ideas and visions for the future. We look forward to sharing more details with you soon.
Future plans for the modification system on MyBB.com
In the future, we plan to be providing a system where we support both commercial and non-commercial resources. Initial work would be submitted under an OSI-approved license – and, by using a promotion system involving user and quality ratings, can be upgraded to a commercial (or custom) license. This system would mean authors are encouraged to produce good plugins, provide upgrades and keep them up to date before gaining “Trusted Developer” status and the ability to provide commercial modifications through MyBB.com.
Modification Policy Changes FAQ
1. Will Paid Plugins or Themes be completely removed or banned?
No, they won’t. You will still be able to advertise them in your signature, post your MyBB sites in the Showcase forum, and provide services in the Requests/Services/Jobs forums. You will not be allowed to post threads in the Plugins & Code Modifications and Themes and Templates sections that are not/will not be on the MyBB Modifications Site.
2. Will the MyBB Modification Site allow paid modifications or non-GPL compatible licenses?
At this time we do not have any plans to allow either of these. We cannot allow non-GPL compatible licenses right now on the MyBB modifications site at this time and we have no plans to allow them. We have plans to eventually launch a central shop for these paid/proprietary modifications but with certain limitations and required processes, as outlined above.
3. So does that mean I cannot sell my MyBB modifications?
No, you are free to provide your own services in the Requests/Services/Jobs forum and sell your own modifications where ever you’d like outside of the MyBB Community Release Forums. These changes, apart from the upcoming license change, have nothing to do with the MyBB Software itself, just to the Plugins & Code Modifications and Themes and Templates sections on the MyBB Community Forums and the MyBB Modifications site.
In fact, the GNU/GPL allows you to sell your plugins for monetary value and we have no disagreement with that. When MyBB 1.6 comes, which will be on the LGPL, you will also be legally able to distribute or sell your modifications under non-GPL compatible licenses.
Please note that we will not be sending out C&D notices to those of you already distributing non-GPL-compatible derivative works (plugins, themes, or code modifications).
4. Can I still run paid plugins on my MyBB forum?
Yes, you definitely can. These changes will in no way effect your MyBB forum in any way. I can’t be any clearer when I say these changes, past the MyBB 1.6 license change, only affect specifically the MyBB Community Forums and the MyBB Modifications Site.
5. What is the difference between the GPL and the LGPL?
Wikipedia defines the main difference as follows: “The LGPL places copyleft restrictions on the program itself but does not apply these restrictions to other software that merely links with the program. There are, however, certain other restrictions on this software.”
What this basically means is that modifications (plugins, themes, code modifications, etc) created for MyBB will be able to released under proprietary licenses. This is not a change from our current stance, merely a clarification, or ‘fix’ if you will, to our previous license terms.
6. So what is the MyBB Group’s stance on using proprietary licenses on modifications?
We believe that proprietary licenses, while they have their uses, hinder the continued “innovation” mindset so we strongly discourage you to do this if you’re not a professional. There is certainly a place and a use for protecting your code from senseless redistribution if you have a good business plan, but it is only a good idea if you’re a professional who knows what they are doing and can provide the support, services, maintenance, and upgrades to their modifications. We encourage you to evaluate the actual value of what you are thinking of selling before releasing a modification with a proprietary license.
7. Are these plans set in stone?
As the saying goes, plans are just plans and plans always change. While this does represent what the MyBB Group plans to do, we can never 100% ensure this is exactly how things will workout in the end.
Thank you for taking your time to read this exhaustive blog post.
The MyBB Team