Miro backflips on Mambo copyright

update Melbourne software company Miro will assign the intellectual property inherent in its open source Mambo content management system to the non-profit organisation it created to administer the application, despite earlier avowals not to do so. The move is the latest in an ongoing controversy which has seen the 19-member strong volunteer team developing the CMS withdraw their support from the project.

update Melbourne software company Miro will assign the intellectual property inherent in its open source Mambo content management system to the non-profit organisation it created to administer the application, despite earlier avowals not to do so.

The move is the latest in an ongoing controversy which has seen the 19-member strong volunteer team developing the CMS withdraw their support from the project. The developers objected to some of the terms under which the non-profit Mambo Foundation was created, among them the fact that intellectual property rights would not be transferred.

Despite having gone on record as saying it would only "issue an irrevocable, perpetual and royalty-free licence to the Foundation," Miro chief executive Peter Lamont today issued a statement saying his company had given in to the wishes of the community and would transfer the copyright.

"Over the past few days, a few people took the time to come to me directly to help me understand why it was so important that the Foundation should own Mambo's copyright and trademark outright, and not just a licence," he said.

Despite Lamont's contention that there was now a "responsible structure" to manage the intellectual property, the make-up only consists of three people.

Miro general manager Justina Phoon told ZDNet Australia the Foundation calls Lamont, another community member and herself as directors, although the intention is to eventually have other members of the community involved.

"We are recruiting another two members to the board," Phoon said, "hopefully from within the [Mambo] community or at least within the open-source community at large."

"The idea is that eventually we will hand over the reins to the community," she said, noting that the Foundation was still in the process of being established as a legal entity, and will have its own bank account.

Phoon said Miro had investigated the structure of similar non-profit foundations created by the Ubuntu, Eclipse and GNOME open-source projects in an effort to find a suitable structure for the Mambo Foundation.

"It's sort of a work in progress at the moment," she said, pointing out that the community could always change the structure of the Foundation if it so desired. "This is really a starting point."

Despite Miro's efforts, it appears to have alienated its core development team who plan to start producing their own version of the CMS in a technique known as 'forking'. In addition, they have retained legal representation in the form of the Software Freedom Law Center.

However, Phoon was philosophical about the split. "I guess in most open-source projects there will come a time when people will consider forks and things like that," she said. "I guess it stuns the community when it happens, but it does happen for a lot of open-source communities."

The Mambo CMS has been downloaded approximately five million times, Phoon claimed, and the community has around 40,000 users registered on its forums.

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