I contacted FSF trhough twitter, but didn’t receive a response on that tweet from FSF. However, Odoo did pick up the tweet and an Odoo partner responded:
Replying to @robb_nl
Taking proprietary code and publishing it is forbidden by most copyright laws, not really a license issue.
11:42am · 19 Jan 2018 · Twitter Web Client
Reply to @mart__e @robb_nl
Rob Bosch @robb_nl
Replying to @mart__e
@fsf Exacly my thoughts on this. However, this is only Odoo point of view. I couldn’t find any response from FlectraHQ yet. Nor statements that they are actualy publishing their own code. What would be the advice regarding use of Flectra software until there is legal clarity?
Martin T. @mart__e
Replying to @robb_nl
my answer is not on a specific case. If you take source code under an intellectual property and publish it without the owner consent, you are breaking the law in most countries. Nobody is really arguing about that.
At the same time I also wrote an email to the legal list of FSFE (European sister organisation of FSF)
I would like to hear your opinion on the following subject:
First a bit of background. I am a member of the NethServer community. NethServer is an opensource distribution based on CenOS that wants to provide an easy to manage server environment. Part of the options of NethServer is installing modules with a 1-click effort. Some of these modules are considered ‘core’ modules and privided through the official NethServer repository.
However, if an application can be installed on CentOS, it is likely it will run on NethServer too. Recently, one of our members pointed to Flectra. Flectra is a fork from Odoo, an opensource CRM tool. Odoo is quite modular and some modules are not opensource.
However, It looks like Flectra copied code from proprietary modules of Odoo into their fork and published this code under LGPL3.
This is the story according to Odoo: https://www.odoo.com/nl_NL/page/flectra-vs-odoo-flectrahq-enterprise
I am far from being a lawyer, but the story by Odoo looks like Flectra is committing copyright crime. To protect the NethServer project from any outside legal problems, I would like to hear your opinion on this matter.
I did receive an answer from them:
If the claims are true, then Flectra did violate the proprietary copyright of the commercial Odoo modules. By distributing them, Flectra risks being responsible for damages to Odoo.
In general, this is not a problem with something being Open Source, but with appropriating some code where the authors did not license it under a FOSS license. It does not matter if the same functionality is available somewhere else. It also does not matter if somebody thinks Odoo tries to protect ideas. If code is copied verbatim (as the diffs seem to indicate), this is a concrete use of the code, covered by the original license. The claims of Mr Patel seem to be attempts to distract from the root problem.
Being part of an open source community to a large part means accepting community norms. It seems this is not the case here. Actually on both sides - releasing open core code claiming it is open source in spirit (as Odoo does) creates the tension in the first place. I see fault on both sides. But the copyright violation is a concrete issue that is probably independent from the social aspects.
Mirko Boehm | email@example.com | KDE e.V.
FSFE Fellowship Representative, FSFE Team Germany
Qt Certified Specialist and Trainer
Request a meeting: https://doodle.com/mirkoboehm
Reading this response from FSFE, I can only conclude that the issue between Flectra and Odoo is not 100% black and white. Both sides have a point, but as long there is no legal clarity, we should leave things be as they are. IMO we can’t affort to get involved in some kind of lawsuite between 2 fighting parties.