But what does this really mean? It means that the ASL makes no (zip, zilch, nada) restrictions for works that are released:
Derivative Works shall not include works that remain separable from, or merely link (or bind by name) to the interfaces of, the Work and Derivative Works thereof.
Historically it’s been argued that links to original work should apply (GPL) – Matt has shared this publicly before:
… themes link and use lots of internal WordPress functions, which make them linked under the GPL and subject to being a GPL-compatible license.
If a theme (or a plugin) used no internal WP functions or APIs, then it could probably be considered independent, but that would be really really hard for a theme.
So where does this land us?
It means that Habari, for some, will ultimately be a more attractive blogging CMS and platform because of it’s licensing. The GPL’s intent and design is to keep free software always free while the ASL seeks to create protection for the original work and also allows a distinction when it comes to free and commercialization.
For designers and developers this may ease their consciousness a bit when it comes to profiting from their work, creating “premium” services and solutions, and ultimately they way they distribute their products. In other words, if you want to drop a Creative Commons license on your premium plugin via GPL and WordPress you’re in violation but in ASL and Habari you can go on and be your bad self.
Design, Tech, and Philosophy
So now that we’ve covered the fundamental differences between Habari and WordPress from a licensing perspective, what about features, design, and philosophy? What about the technical components? Here is what they have to say themselves and how they perceive their own differentiation:
Habari is being written with a firm understanding of the current state of blogging. Most other blogging packages have been around long enough that their responses to things like comment spam and Digg site overloads are bolted on after the fact; whereas Habari is being written from the beginning to take these things — and more — into account.
Habari strongly favors open, standard, and documented protocols. Atom, being both open and documented, is the prefered syndication format, and the Atom Publishing Protocol is the prefered means of remote communication with your site. This is a core feature, and not a plugin.
Habari is being written specifically for modern web hosting environments, and uses modern object-oriented programming techniques. Using these recent but well-established additions to the PHP language allows Habari to make use of PDO, enabling prepared statements for all interactions with the database. This greatly reduces the system’s vulnerability to SQL injection attacks. This is just one of many benefits of modern object-oriented techniques.
Those are just a few of the technical differences, but a major component of what makes Habari different is its community participation model. Users who demonstrate a consistent level of quality contributions to the project are granted more privileges within the project.
Some of the major technical differentiations are the fact that Habari supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite databases and CGI from an application server perspective. The rest of the technical differences can easily be explored by someone seriously interested in diving in so I won’t belabor the tech-specs.
But what most users will appreciate is the design and aesthetic that makes Habari really distinct. Here’s the top-level screenshots of the back-end that’ll give you a quick and very comprehensive taste of how Habari both functionally and philosophically differentiates itself from WordPress:
Looks interesting, right? The simplicity and focus on the publishing front-end is something that many people are looking at deeply, not just for WordPress 3.6 looms around the corner but even farther into the design and UX crystal ball.
It’s quite possible that Habari may have some models that are worth copying or at least investigating more fully and for even a few of us who are looking at the GPL issue with some fresh eyes Habari might be a place to start.
You can’t, of course, argue that WordPress beats the living snot out of Habari in terms of adoption and usage, at least at this point in time, but you have to remember that although Habari might be an underdog at this point in time, WordPress was also one at some point as well. Every app has to start somewhere.