Cloud Software Group snubs GPL obligations, say critics

Even if you decide to stop offering free editions, you don’t get to stop providing the source code to FOSS, users of JasperReports Server are complaining.

Cloud Software Group – the post-merger offspring of Citrix and Tibco – has decided to withdraw the community edition of its JasperReports Server. Now all you can get is the commercial edition, with a 30-day free trial.

Effectively, this seems like a similar tactic to Red Hat’s unpopular changes to the way that the RHEL source code is distributed. Some of the JasperReports source code is still on Github, but not everything. The JasperSoft community website has the grumbling of unhappy users – as does Reddit.

One user on the community website commented: “Are you aware Jasper Server CE was under the Affero GPL, and you can’t delete everything?

“You cannot just change the license of the previous versions and call it a day. I mean, we the users, have the right to fork it using the same license or a compatible one,” the user protested.

JasperSoft has been developing its reporting tools in the open for well over a decade – the Reg was reporting on it nearly twenty years ago. Tibco acquired the company for some $185 million in 2014.

We’re not certain that things are going very well for the new outfit. Early last year, the merger was followed by a round of job losses, and the company has also more recently doubled its prices on some offerings.

According to its listing on Azure Marketplace, the JasperReports Community Server was AGPL3 – which is to say, the GNU Affero Public Licence. This often misunderstood variant of the GPL is intended for cloud and SaaS apps, but as one former vulture notes, it is not universally loved.

According to an FAQ on its community edition site, “Jaspersoft is no longer able to support the community edition of JasperReports Server. However, the product will continue to be available and supported in our Jaspersoft commercial edition. If you would like to try JasperReports Server and experience its robust capabilities first-hand, register for a 30-day trial of our commercial edition.

“With over 600,000 downloads a month, JasperReports Library continues to be available for free download as part of our community edition offering, along with the popular Jaspersoft Studio.”

It also confirms on the page that source code is not available: “Jaspersoft Studio 6.21.1 is available under a BSD-type license that is limited to binary code use, as the source code is no longer distributed.”

There are reports of at least partially successful enforcement of the AGPL, just as the GPL before it.

We hope that various copies of the source code are out there and that some of them find their way into new forks of the product.

We have attempted to contact the company for comment, but with no reply. We will update this story if we do receive any.

It sounds to us like the son of Citrix has learned nothing from the last time it dropped the FOSS ball. ®


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