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Introducing liveSite Open Source

The software that powers thousands of websites is now available as open source.

May.31.2017 / Release / 0 Comments

We are happy to announce that the same liveSite software that has been used to build and run thousands of websites world-wide, is now available as open source. Starting with liveSite Community Edition v2017.2, you can download, install, and modify liveSite in source code form on any web host. The liveSite Community Edition (CE) will include unlimited functionality so a software subscriptions will no longer be required to unlock additional features. liveSite CE will be released under the MIT License. which is one of the most permissive open source licenses in existence. Now anyone is free to build their own open source or proprietary web application on top of liveSite and redistribute or sell without restrictions.

What Does This Mean?

It is important to first assure our existing customers that we will continue to superior development, support, and hosting services. This new open source initiative is designed to enhance our customer's choices, freedoms, and introduce liveSite to a new community of open source developers to help us all accelerate and expand liveSite's capabilities.

Why Open Source?

liveSite, our proprietary enterprise website platform, has been around for over 15 years and has been used by thousands of websites in almost every industry. Over the years, a shift in the website software marketplace has been taking place. Today, our top competitors all offer open source versions of their software which has helped them build enormous ecosystems of development and support around their offerings. We have resisted this movement, staying with a proprietary approach so we could deliver a stable, reliable, and secure website platform with a hassle-free upgrade path for all customers. Such benefits are difficult for open source solutions to deliver, but we believe through leadership and experience there is a way to have the best of both worlds.

Adding to this, some governments, schools, churches, and even businesses are not able to use liveSite because their IT departments are now required to either use open source software or have control over the source code that runs their web applications.

By releasing liveSite as open source, we can level the playing field. We believe it is time to provide our customers with not only a great product, but more choices when it comes to customizing and supporting their liveSite websites. We are also excited to foster and increase the opportunities for web developers that work with liveSite to build solutions on top of the liveSite platform and help propel liveSite's growth in an ever-expanding marketplace.

Advantages for All

We have significant advantages over most new open source initiatives because we are bringing a mature solution to the open source community. Our proprietary software has been hardened from security threats and software defects by a single team of professional developers working with thousands of customers over the years so we can instantly compete with our open source competitors. With hundreds of thousands of lines of code carefully designed and deployed, the liveSite platform is also backed by a well-established organization ready to help grow the new open source community of liveSite developers.

Although it is typically a headache to upgrade open source-based websites, our plan is to continue to provide a smooth upgrade path for all users of liveSite, including those that choose to run liveSite CE. We will first focus on creating upgrade tools and processes to keep liveSite deployments current and running smoothly. We are committed to learning from our competitor's open source mistakes to come up with new and better ways to maintain the same hassle-free software experience that has been a hallmark of liveSite over the years.

liveSite's open source licensing will differ from our largest competitors to provide liveSite developers with more freedom. The top website platforms including Wordpress, Joomla!, Drupal, and most others use an open source license called GPL, which requires any developer that modifies the base source code to release their modifications as source code to the public if they distribute their customized solution. This stipulation prevents developers from using any GPL source code as a starting point to create proprietary applications. Since we already have customers with successful custom solutions built upon liveSite, that licensing approach doesn't seem like the right fit.

The GPL license also stipulates that the license cannot be changed to a more permissive license like the MIT License in the future. As the open source marketplace has matured, GPL licenses are no longer the trend. Unfortunately, these massive code bases are unable to legally change their licensing model so their entire ecosystem is stuck with it. This "copy-left" stipulation will continue to be a road block for developers and companies interested in building solutions they can sell unencumbered.

We, on the other hand, believe that any developer that modifies the liveSite source code should be able make that decision for themselves. If they want to contribute their source code back to the public and advance the liveSite code base, they certainly should be free to do so. But if they decide to modify the liveSite code base and then sell their custom solution, they should also be able to do so and without restriction. This is why we selected the MIT License for the liveSite open source licensing model.

We are looking forward to fostering this new open source community and excited about creating a new marketplace for web designers and developers to profit from this new liveSite open source ecosystem. We welcome your suggestions and feedback as we embark on this new adventure together.

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Building custom website solutions for organizations of all sizes for over 25 years.