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Moving Forward with FreePBX

Discussion in 'Developers' Corner' started by wardmundy, Sep 8, 2011.

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  1. wardmundy Nerd Uno

    The continuing evolution of FreePBX has produced some confusion within the PIAF Dev Team as some of you may be aware. Now that the dust has settled a bit, I wanted to provide an explanation of the positions of the various stakeholders so that everyone is clear about what has transpired and where we stand moving forward.

    The FreePBX Dev Team has gotten a much-needed shot of new talent from Schmooze which is a commercial telephony provider. Tony Lewis heads up that company and is a good friend. But he also has a business to run and, as it should be, his primary focus is feeding his family and the families of his staff and developers. His development payroll alone is close to $500,000 a year. Beginning with FreePBX 2.5, Schmooze took an active role in FreePBX development. With FreePBX 2.9, Schmooze has increased their support of the project in a major way. In addition to hiring some of the FreePBX developers, they also at no cost reworked many components and contributed still others to the FreePBX open source project.

    As most of you know, the PBX in a Flash and Incredible PBX projects primarily are focused upon providing free VoIP telephony solutions for end-users. We're not in it for the money although some of our gurus make a good living reselling and supporting PIAF installations.

    Beginning with FreePBX 2.9, the FreePBX user interface has integrated support for commercial add-ons. These are optional. No one has to buy them or use them if they don't want to. One of the modules that now has been integrated into the FreePBX UI in the FreePBX Distro only was a slimmed down version of a commercial add-on called System Admin. This led to some confusion because the standard FreePBX GUI had no current method for defining the module as something other than open source when it was used. The module itself was clearly labeled as commercial in the Module Admin listing of available modules, however.

    Our focus and concern is narrow. What happens in the FreePBX Distro is a matter between the FreePBX Dev Team, Schmooze, and their end users and resellers. What we wanted to assure is that FreePBX add-on modules used in the PIAF distribution were clearly designated as what they are, i.e. open source, freeware, commercial lite versions, or purchased commercial software. While the PIAF Distro also includes some freeware components, we go to great lengths to clearly identify them as such when they are used.

    Even though the Module Admin GUI provides clear licensing information for every component in FreePBX, to avoid confusion, we believed that some designation in the actual module GUI itself should be provided so that the end-user could discern the type of licensing without resorting to Module Admin. This is fairly easy to do with rollovers and other tools available in modern web browsers, and it's something we have discussed with the FreePBX development team. They have been extremely receptive to looking at ways that module-specific licensing information could be presented alongside the GPL-designated licensing that appears on all FreePBX GUI pages. We also have been assured by the FreePBX Dev Team that the base FreePBX install is and always will be purely open source GPL code.

    We are satisfied that the current installation method for adding additional non-open source components, if we were to do it, would provide PIAF users with sufficient notice of the type of license which applies to each component that is being installed. If you would like to see commercial FreePBX module access integrated into a future release of PBX in a Flash, please open a new thread and let us know.

    We hope this clarifies both our position and that of the FreePBX Dev Team insofar as FreePBX 2.9 and future versions as well as the interplay of FreePBX with optional commercial add-on modules.
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