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osCommerce

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Selling modified version of osc, as a product / service...


jaycee

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Hi there, we have built numerous sites using osc over the last few years.

Our own osc site we spent loads of time on to get just right as we knew wed use it as a base for future installs. We take the most recently completed site, copy it over to the new domain on our server, install it, re-skin with a custom template and then add any further customisations the client may require. Certain mods we have then released back to the community.

the result is now, after a few years, we have a heavily customised version of osc ready for the next install, containing all the mods and customisations from over the years. It hardly resembles the original in both in the front end and the back end which we have also redesigned.

 

Im well aware we couldnt have done any of this without the hard work and skills of the oscommerce team and community so i want to stay on the right side of this. We dont have the osc copyright on the front end of the clients sites as we are not obligated to, we do of course have the notice in the admin. Teh notice are intact in the source files...but generally the client doesnt have access to these files as they are non-technical store owners that do everything via the admin, so are we actualyl distributing it?

 

In the past we have offered our version as an option when clients request a quote for an ecommerce site, I am now thinking about being a bit more proactive and making it into more of a product/service. My quesiton is if we wish to actually bundle all this up, make our own demo site and sell/lease as a product/service to other clients how can we go about doing it to both adhere to OSC terms / copyright but also protect and benefit from our investment in the modified software.

 

If we built one of these sites using the default OSC install at http://www.oscommerce.com/solutions/downloads each time it would take many 100s of hours to install all the mods, custiomisaitons etc. The cost to the client would be quite considerable even at a low hourly rate. So obviously its good sense to use our modified version each time but then charge more than jsut the time it takes to install...we are happy cause the money is decent for the time involved (kind of paying us for the unpaid time we spent getting it to this point) and the client is happy cause they get all these features at way less than the cost of a programmer installing and customising all the mods etc. So seems a win win there for us and the client but what about osc? We could make donations to osc each time? Hmm...

 

advice/opinions would be greatly appreciated

 

JC

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There is should be nothing standing in your way for you to charge for your customized version.

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There is should be nothing standing in your way for you to charge for your customized version.

as long as you keep on providing access to the source code, that is what is open source is about.

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

I do not use the responsive bootstrap version since i coded my responsive version earlier, but i have bought every 28d of code package to support burts effort and keep this forum alive (albeit more like on life support).

So if you are still here ? What are you waiting for ?!

 

Find the most frequent unique errors to fix:

grep "PHP" php_error_log.txt | sed "s/^.* PHP/PHP/g" |grep "line" |sort | uniq -c | sort -r > counterrors.txt

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well thats what im grappling with

if we sell it for pretty cheap, then the client decides to miove to a competitior, the competitor gets all the modifications.

If we arent distributing it as such, meaning its part of their hosting package , then do we actually have to give them the source code?

 

Im trying not to appear selfish but at the same time protect our time/effort in customising the base install, and affording some protection for us to stop someone just paying for one month hosting and install and taking the software

 

Jay

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If you provide it as a service where they do not have direct access to the files and db, then yes you don't need to release the code.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
well thats what im grappling with

if we sell it for pretty cheap, then the client decides to miove to a competitior, the competitor gets all the modifications.

If we arent distributing it as such, meaning its part of their hosting package , then do we actually have to give them the source code?

 

Jay

Your modifications are your copyright, unless you released them, your competitor shouldn't sell them. You should make it clear to the customer which parts are open source and what parts are your copyright.

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well thats what im grappling with

if we sell it for pretty cheap, then the client decides to miove to a competitior, the competitor gets all the modifications.

If we arent distributing it as such, meaning its part of their hosting package , then do we actually have to give them the source code?

 

Im trying not to appear selfish but at the same time protect our time/effort in customising the base install, and affording some protection for us to stop someone just paying for one month hosting and install and taking the software

 

Jay

 

The long and the short of it is you can't really protect it short of not allowing your clients access to the source code at all (eg no FTP, SSH etc).

 

Iggy

Everything's funny but nothing's a joke...

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  • 4 weeks later...
wow, €98 for a free Oscommerce with a bunch of free contributions, that's mean.

 

Not necessarily. If you've got more than a couple of trivial contributions added, the cost of that customization alone would exceed €98. Unless the shop owner is comfortable modifying PHP code (or employs someone who is and who has the time to do it), that's money that they'd have to pay to some web developer.

 

In addition they're presumably offering some level of support, at least in the form of bug fixes, which isn't free either.

 

This is not unlike the way that any number of Linux distros are funded. If you don't want to pay it, you can put together your own Linux with packages that you download - but you can't go complain to anyone if what you assemble doesn't work well together.

 

Bruce

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Not necessarily. If you've got more than a couple of trivial contributions added, the cost of that customization alone would exceed €98. Unless the shop owner is comfortable modifying PHP code (or employs someone who is and who has the time to do it), that's money that they'd have to pay to some web developer.

 

In addition they're presumably offering some level of support, at least in the form of bug fixes, which isn't free either.

 

This is not unlike the way that any number of Linux distros are funded. If you don't want to pay it, you can put together your own Linux with packages that you download - but you can't go complain to anyone if what you assemble doesn't work well together.

 

Bruce

 

True, but as soon as you get the Distro you're free (under the GPL) to do anything you like with it (think CentOS - based on RHLE). Which is the point I think. Despite any effort put into making or maintaining a fork as soon as you let it go it's gone.

 

Protecting the code is explicitly NOT part of the GPL so attempting to monetize a fork in the way described by the OP will be an exercise in frustration and gnashing of teeth.

 

Iggy

Everything's funny but nothing's a joke...

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wow, €98 for a free Oscommerce whit a bunch of free contributions, that's mean.

 

Some people can't even install the simple contribution or follow the installation steps...

Please read this line: Do you want to find all the answers to your questions? click here. As for contribution database it's located here!

8 people out of 10 don't bother to read installation manuals. I can recommend: if you can't read the installation manual, don't bother to install any contribution yourself.

Before installing contribution or editing/updating/deleting any files, do the full backup, it will save to you & everyone here on the forum time to fix your issues.

Any issues with oscommerce, I am here to help you.

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