Thread

EE2 reprieve, EE3 third-party plugin support

September 27, 2016 4:08pm

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  • #1 / Sep 27, 2016 4:08pm

    Steve Garcia's avatar

    Steve Garcia

    50 posts

    I saw the email today stating that EE2 is going to be supported until the end of 2016. That’s nice and I really would like to update all of my sites to EE3. However, I’m seeing that several of the go-to plugins that some of our sites can’t live without have not yet been updated to EE3 or have been completely abandoned by the developer.

    Objective HTML’s Postmaster is a must-have for one of my client sites. It’s extremely powerful but the developer has completely abandoned it and it works (somewhat) on EE 2.11.3; he has shut down his website entirely. Without any hope for an EE3 equivalent, the site will eternally live in EE2.

    I understand the need to move forward and focus on one platform, however it does rely on third-party plugins making the transition and if that doesn’t happen, we can’t move ourselves.

    ** On a side note - I really don’t know how support for an abandoned plugin works in regards to ownership. If someone is able to make Postmaster EE3 compatible, we would be willing to pay for this.

  • #2 / Oct 01, 2016 4:59pm

    travisb

    168 posts

    The Postmaster question is a good one, and I would love to hear if anyone knows of a solution in the works.

  • #3 / Mar 28, 2017 8:29am

    Just spotted this thread so may be a bit late. On the legal side there doesn’t appear to be anything in the license preventing updating the code to work on EE3 and using an existing Postmaster license.

    I’m currently in the middle of a project, but might have some time after this to look at getting Postmaster to work with EE3.

  • #4 / Mar 30, 2017 12:09pm

    Derek Jones's avatar

    Derek Jones

    7176 posts

    Disclaimer: not an attorney, but that’s my layperson reading of the Postmaster license as well. You could update it for projects that already have a license, but cannot distribute or share those changes. Bit of a pain, seems like the intent was to open source it by putting it on GitHub, but that’s not enough.

  • #5 / Mar 30, 2017 12:47pm

    garabedium

    11 posts

    Postmaster is a pain point, I would also add CE Cache to the list of add-ons to consider before EE2’s sunset: https://devot-ee.com/add-ons/support/ce-cache/viewthread/15358/P30. Although it’s not technically a mission critical add-on, it’s one of the reasons holding me back from upgrading a client’ site to EE3.

  • #6 / Mar 30, 2017 1:52pm

    Derek, I’d have to disagree on the “cannot distribute or share those changes”. I’m not aware of any US or UK law that prevents me from reusing code I’ve created on other projects or of sharing such code. If I were to make freely available the instructions on how to modify the Postmaster code, or provide code in the form of a patch then it doesn’t involve me redistributing anyone else’s code.

  • #7 / Mar 30, 2017 2:33pm

    Derek Jones's avatar

    Derek Jones

    7176 posts

    It would depend on how much of your patch or instructions involved modifying existing Postmaster code vs. writing new material. As for why in this case it could be an issue, it’s not US/UK law, it’s how a restriction that the author has put on the license itself with respect to redistributing modifications/derivative works:

    You may alter, modify, or extend the Software for your own use, or commission a third-party to perform modifications for you, but you may not resell, redistribute or transfer the modified or derivative version without prior written consent from Objective HTML / SaucePan Creative. Components from the Software may not be extracted and used in other programs without prior written consent from Objective HTML / SaucePan Creative.
  • #8 / Mar 30, 2017 6:34pm

    Yes, you’re right that it says that in the license, but notice the wording “modified or derivative version”. I was specifically referring to a patch or code that would be unusable without the original Software.

    In any case, the point is moot since that part of the license has already been broken by placing the software on Github, which explicitly allows redistribution within Github by means of forking.

    My intention is simply to reassure those using Postmaster that there are ways legally to get it to work on EE3 without full payment for custom development. Naturally each company would need to make their own decision on the legality of how they proceed with updating Postmaster.

  • #9 / Mar 30, 2017 6:40pm

    Derek Jones's avatar

    Derek Jones

    7176 posts

    Check my link above - the right of others to fork your repo is the only thing granted by placing it on GitHub, and that assent to their ToS doesn’t negate any other rights of the author, including under what terms they grant you to do something other than forking and looking at the code.

    Naturally each company would need to make their own decision on the legality of how they proceed with updating Postmaster.

    That’s my main point as well. If you do the work yourself, or hire someone to do it, there aren’t any issues. But if someone tried to share the fruits of that labor with others, there are licensing issues to consider in if/how you can do that without putting yourself or your clients at risk. For instance, a git .patch would include substantial amounts of original code in each - line. Whether or not code is usable or even functional is immaterial to copyright.

  • #10 / Mar 31, 2017 6:55am

    This is getting rather tiring, as you’re making invalid statements - damage to the copyright holder, distribution intent, and fair use are key points in many cases involving copyright dispute.

    I’d recommend doing some research on Fair Use as well as Derivative Works, though that’s only a small part of the complex law involved. I’ll refer you to this case as an example: Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc. 964 F.2d 965 (9th Cir. 1992)

    P.S. Don’t forget that restrictions in contract (e.g. license agreement) can be held as non-binding. For example, an employee contract that denies the right to leave and work for a competitor.

  • #11 / Mar 31, 2017 11:50am

    Derek Jones's avatar

    Derek Jones

    7176 posts

    This is getting rather tiring, as you’re making invalid statements

    Sorry, but I’m not making statements for sake of debate or to wear you out. I stated at the start that I’m not a lawyer, but I do have years of experience with copyright and IP law, and do not believe I have made any invalid statements. I’m happy to correct any errors, which ones?

    Non-compete agreements are a straw man argument here, we’re not talking about non-competes, nor do the reasons that courts choose whether or not to enforce them apply to contracts and licensing broadly. The Game Genie case hinges on modifying for your own use, which is what I stated earlier, and is compatible with the Postmaster license. Neither Galoob nor the end user were distributing any of Nintendo’s source code in whole or part.

    This thread on our forums concerns an add-on that was put on GitHub but not properly open-sourced, a topic I recently wrote about. It’s relevant, and anyone considering use of add-ons like that should have an abundance of caution, and properly assess the risk before implementing for a client. It would be a disservice to our users if an inbound search result to this thread did not properly raise a red flag, and each person is free to draw their own conclusions. Thank you for your input.

  • #12 / Mar 31, 2017 1:26pm

    It’s rather rude and unsubstantiated to refer to a minor and accurate statement as straw man - Is what I said about non-competes fallacious? No. Did I say that a court would consider non-compete case law when deciding on copyright case dismissal. No. My reference was a simple example that most would understand to make clear the point that just because something is in writing doesn’t mean it will hold up in court.

    Ok, let’s look at a few points since you asked.

    > it’s not US/UK law

    It is. In countries like China, Costa Rica, etc. it’s likely that the license would have no validity. I do believe a developer should be paid for his/her work, this point is only made to show that without the backing of a legal system a license is worthless.

    > cannot distribute or share those changes

    If this were true then no developer could ever reuse their own code on a new project. This would also then mean that a developer who modifies Postmaster for a single client install is then not allowed to use the same method to modify the code for another client or even another of another install for the same client.

    On top of this, there’s the issue of the license prohibiting transference. This is something even Microsoft has tried to do by saying that a Windows license cannot be transferred on sale of a PC.

    > For instance, a git .patch would include substantial amounts of original code in each - line

    I’m sure you’re fully aware that there are other methods of patch distribution that don’t require any original code. But, since “substantial amounts” is a consideration under Fair Use, could you tell me what percentage of original code would appear in a git .patch that allowed Postmaster to work with EE3?

  • #13 / Mar 31, 2017 2:25pm

    Derek Jones's avatar

    Derek Jones

    7176 posts

    My reference was a simple example that most would understand to make clear the point that just because something is in writing doesn’t mean it will hold up in court

    That is not the point I took from the analogy. It compared an unrelated specific type of contract clause that is often onerous and routinely not upheld in court, with one that is (copyright ownership). Aside from that, the fact that a contract might be disproven in court doesn’t mean taking action in violation of a contract is risk-free, which is the entire reason I bothered stepping into this thread.

    > it’s not US/UK law

    Context was in reply to you saying you weren’t aware of US/UK laws preventing use of your own code. I was saying that I’m not referring to any specific regional laws as the reason for caution. Your point about countries having different contract and copyright law just reinforces mine that folks might want to get legal advice before making assumptions that something is fine.

    > cannot distribute or share those changes

    I stand by this. Distribution and sharing definitions are certainly contentious points in software licenses, some hold up, some don’t. But a) goal should be to avoid court in the first place, not in winning a case, and b) I’m also not talking about sharing something you own the copyright to.

    > For instance, a git .patch would include substantial amounts of original code in each - line

    I stand by this too, as a git .patch would very likely include work under the author’s exclusive copyright. If there’s a solution that doesn’t require that, great! Re: whether fair use would apply to a patch that includes substantial amounts of original code, I’m not here to make that judgement for anyone. If someone feels it is fair use, and wants to risk the costs involved in litigation even if successful, that’s certainly their right to do so. My concern in this thread is only to make folks aware of potential risks, and weigh them before making a decision.

    Alas, I have no interest in arguing, and we both undoubtedly have better uses of our time. I’ve obviously made you upset, so I’ll just apologize for any offense and take my leave. Have a great weekend!

  • #14 / Mar 31, 2017 2:35pm

    Steve Garcia's avatar

    Steve Garcia

    50 posts

    I’ve tried contacting ObjectiveHTML twice using the only email accounts I can find. The first email was sent when I first started this thread and received no response. I’ve sent another email this morning with a link to this thread; I’m doubtful I’ll receive a reply.

    The conversation regarding the legality to freely-available, yet not fully open-sourced and/or abandoned source code is important one however it isn’t getting me any closer to finding a solution to this problem. As we’re close (if not already) End-of-Life with EE2, essential modules are abandoned with no contact from the original developer even though I did pay for a license when it was originally supported, I have no options ahead of me without the possibility of legal recourse for tampering with source code to make it able to be used on the fully-supported EE3.

    EE is great however I find I compliment it with third-party modules and extensions on every site I build. The risk I am now seeing is if I can trust continued support from third-party plugins and does that affect whether I use a particular plugin or even using EE at all.

  • #15 / Mar 31, 2017 3:30pm

    garabedium

    11 posts

    Try contacting OH on Twitter. They appear to be more responsive on that channel: https://twitter.com/objectivehtml/with_replies?lang=en.

    There are agencies that do add-on conversion and maintenance, Solspace, W3Care, though it may be prohibitively expensive.

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