P4A new licensing model

Now P4A 2 is released under GPL 2, why? Because we think that when you use free software you have to give back something. GPL 2 was actually chosen because the developer using P4A would not have to publish the source code to the public audience, but only give the full source to his customer (and release it under GPL 2 too).

We all know that GPL 2 is not the right license for network based software, because it only talks about software distribution, something like “when you give the software to your customer, you’ve to give the source code too”. Here comes the problem, developers never give their software to the customer, but install it on a server, thus they actually don’t have to give the source code to the customer because they didn’t give him the binary code… This is a way to bypass the GPL license and do closed source software.

That’s why we need a new license, everyone should respect the same rules and the same ideals.

P4A 3 will be released under the AFFERO GPL 3


  • Free Software Foundation says this is the right license for network based applications
  • It’s a GPL 3 plus a note that gives every user of the application the right to download the full source code

What about commercial software?
We know someone may not want to release his source code thus we’re thinking about releasing P4A 3 also under a commercial license. The commercial release would be sold for a small fee (see “pricing ideas”) that will be used to continue and improve the development of P4A itself.

Will the commercial release be different/better than the open source one?
Absolutely not! Both version will always be identical!

What would you buy?

  • the right to release your software under a license you choose (open source or proprietary)
  • the right to remove P4A credits from your applications
  • the right to have free P4A updates for 1 year
  • the right to create unlimited applications, used by unlimited users and published on unlimited websites and unlimited servers

Pricing idea:
100 Eur + VAT for every developer involved in the process of creating a commercial software based on P4A.
Example: if 2 analysts and 3 developers work together on a commercial software based on P4A, than you should buy 3 licenses.

Commercial license limitations

  • you won’t have the right to transfer the license to anyone (neither who will buy your software)
  • the license you’ll chose for your software won’t be transferred to P4A itself, which will act as a library in that case
  • you won’t have the right to release P4A itself under a different license
  • you won’t have the right to fork P4A itself

Note that this is not the real license, it’s just a draft idea, please let me have your feedback about that!

11 thoughts on “P4A new licensing model

  1. Paulo

    Hi Fabrizio!
    I’m new on the OpenSource/GPL world, so I don’t know if what I’m about to ask is a silly question…
    When using P4A under the AFFERO GPL 3 license, the code we write under the directory \p4a\applications, must also be released under the AFFERO GPL 3?

    Best Regards!

  2. Fabrizio Balliano Post author

    @Paulo: yes, you can find this info in section 5 of the license. note that the directory where the application is installed is not important, the app could be everywhere on the disk, it will have to ge AGPL3 because it requires p4a and inherit from its classes.

  3. Paulo

    Ok! will be nice to have this option of commercial license.
    Now, a question off topic, I’m testing p4a on 2.2 version, shoud I wait for 3.0 before do something for real?

  4. Fabrizio Balliano Post author

    @Paulo: well, if you never tried p4a before than I suggest you to do some tests with the 2.2 because it will take a bit to understand the concepts behind p4a. Anyway i’ll release a first 3.0 beta in the next 2-4 weeks so the best thing will be to move directly on that release.

  5. Martin

    I think that a comercial license was a great idea. Because we could write not only GPL software.
    And i think this could be more interesting to some enterprises.

  6. Pingback: P4A 3 commit digest (11th feb 2008): license switch and css rewritten @ Fabrizio Balliano's blog

  7. Johan

    I like the idea of a commercial license. I think lots more people, like me, can start using it. I’m planning to start testing with V2 next week. How long do you think that the new commercial license will take?

  8. Fabrizio Balliano Post author

    @Johan: that’s nice, but please start testing with p4a 3 which is pretty stable now (I’ll release the 3rd preview in the next days) and it’s really different and much powerful than v2.
    about the last question, I think a few weeks after the v3 stable release, could that be ok?


  9. Johan

    I will start testing with V3 in that case.
    A few weeks is sooner than I expected.

    Thank you very much,
    Keep up the good work, P4A is awesome.


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