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After 1.4, looking towards baby steps to 2.0

Hi all,

After we get 1.4 up and out the door, I am looking to see what we can do to help get pieces of our code more ready for 2.0.  Here are immediate proposals I would like to make:

1.  Break off the most obvious pieces of the db schema into Postgres extensions and publish them on pgxn.  These could be bundled with LedgerSMB as well, but should be available to other apps as well.

2.  Break off simple, mature functionality in Perl modules into CPAN modules.  This would focus on a stable API, better backwards compatibility, etc.

I would propose focusing on accounts storage and menu structures first, and then maybe the contact management side.  Once something is broken off, I would like to try hard to maintain backwards compatibility so this should only be for things which have become relatively stable in terms of base functionality.

Here are the impacts I could see for packagers:

1.  Packagers might want to package the extensions and cpan modules separately.  One advantage to this is that if changes need to be made for different Pg versions they can be.  The nice thing is that aside from bugfixes, it should be as simple as uploading once and then not having to worry about it until a material change comes in terms of requirements (and those would be minimized).

2.  These could still be bundled all together if they are seen as closely tied, but it would affect final target paths.

As for licensing, I would like to propose the following:

1.  Major integration points I would like to be licensed under terms functionally identical to PostgreSQL (i.e. 2-clause BSD or similar).  This reduces questions of licensing that integrators may have.  As we simplify the Perl code and move more logic into the database, it seems to me that it may be good to move more of these to a BSD or similar license.  Note that our current PHP classes are under such a license. 

2.  Areas of complex business logic I think for the time-being should be under the GPL2+.  As long as client libraries are under more permissive licenses I don't see anything we'd gain by making these more permissive.  As it is we currently have the issue that someone could fork and upgrade the license and we'd either have to follow them or not merge anything back.  Some *very* generally applicable parts might do well to be released under a BSD-style license (the menu system comes to mind) in the hope that other open source projects may pick it up and contribute but I think they'd be a small minority.

The licensing ideas are guided by the idea that what we are really hoping to bring to customers is not so much a web app or a web app framework but an intelligent database which can be the center of the enterprise.  From this viewpoint what we are doing in Perl mostly is trying to create interfaces for the database, while the major logic is in the database.  If folks want to use our API, I am happy for them to do so.

Anyway, thoughts?

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers

Efficito:  Hosted Accounting and ERP.  Robust and Flexible.  No vendor lock-in.