Custom footer

edited October 2010 in General
I want to change the footer to just display the following links and take out the and content license blurb:

Help About F.A.Q. Privacy

Are there any rules about this? All the deleted info can still be seen in FAQ.


  • StatusNet uses the GNU Affero General Public License. It is a flavor of the GNU General Public License dedicated to web services. The major difference to the GPL is the clause "if you make modifications to the StatusNet source code on your server, you *MUST MAKE AVAILABLE* the modified version of the source code to your users under the same license".

    If you changed the source code of your StatusNet installation, you have to share the source with your users. You could upload your code on a source code hosting service. Note that Google Code does not accept the GNU Affero General Public License! A simple way to share your source code is to just create an archive (zip, tar) and link to it on your service.

    Even the slightest source code change like adding Metatags enforces you to publish your source code.

    Source .
  • This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
    it under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License as
    published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the
    License, or (at your option) any later version.

    This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
    WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
    Affero General Public License for more details.

    You should have received a copy of the GNU Affero General Public
    License along with this program, in the file "COPYING". If not, see

    IMPORTANT NOTE: The GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL) has
    *different requirements* from the "regular" GPL. In particular, if
    you make modifications to the StatusNet source code on your server,
    you *MUST MAKE AVAILABLE* the modified version of the source code
    to your users under the same license. This is a legal requirement
    of using the software, and if you do not wish to share your
    modifications, *YOU MAY NOT INSTALL STATUSNET*.

    Documentation in the /doc-src/ directory is available under the
    Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license, with attribution to
    "StatusNet". See for details.

    CSS and images in the /theme/ directory are available under the
    Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license, with attribution to
    "StatusNet". See for details.

    Our understanding and intention is that if you add your own theme that
    uses only CSS and images, those files are not subject to the copyleft
    requirements of the Affero General Public License 3.0. See . This is not
    legal advice; consult your lawyer.

    Additional library software has been made available in the 'extlib'
    directory. All of it is Free Software and can be distributed under
    liberal terms, but those terms may differ in detail from the AGPL's
    particulars. See each package's license file in the extlib directory
    for additional terms.
    Source: Readme File
  • Right, I will do that. Thanks for reply.
  • @whatyadoin nice explanation!
  • Does it mean, if I build a website based on with custom design, I have to share the whole source code inclusive my custom design to all site visitors as a download?
  • @wthem Any changes to the source code have to be released according to AGPL. Any plugin that interacts with the software has to be AGPL licensed also. Themes do not have to be AGPL because they are not executable code.
  • Thanks jordanc. I do not create any version of code, just a small niche website based on My question still is - as I cannot recognise any clear answer and I do not want to handle against any license - if I have a website based on do I have to publish any download links on my site? I know it is maby stupid question but I think as webdesigner not programmer :-)
  • @jordanc The second thing is: do I have to leave the formula in the footer "MyStatusNetBasedWebsote is a microblogging service brought to you by MyStatusNetBasedWebsote. It runs the StatusNet microblogging software, version 0.9.6, available under the GNU Affero General Public License." or I am allowed remove this from footer and publish this as a credit info in "about us".
  • @wthem You need to provide a link to the source code - either to your source code if you've modified it or back to us at
    As far as the content of the site you can licence it however you want.
  • Please pardon my jumping in but the answers provided aren't related to the questions. I believe the answers to the underlying questions are as follows:

    1) You can do anything to the code or themes, including removing the footer and anything that isn't aesthetically pleasing.
    2) No, unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a HowTo on this. I search for keywords to find code and I then zap all occurrences where required. There is little info on where things are in this software and how it works, you just need to fly by the seat of your pants until more people start contributing to docs.
    3) All that said, according to the licenses you still need to make your changes available to anyone who wants them. You don't want these notices to be obtrusive, but the notices must exist in a place where everyone can find them without hunting and without some secret handshake.

    Depending on the nature of your site there may be one out of every two techno geeks who might want source, or there might not be a single 6 year old or mom visiting your toddler's chat site who would click any of those links. It's up to you to find that balance to ensure you comply with the license while still keeping your site friendly and not any more business oriented than appropriate for your audience.

    I hope that's a better starting point for discussion in case there are any disagreements.
    Thanks for your indulgence.
  • Hi,
    im not sure if this topic is elucidative.
    first, does statusnet change the license from gpl to agpl.
    would be cool really know the differences (even if it doesnt conflict with gpl plugins, for example)

    second, about this topic, is a footer customization, a simple "display:none" could supress that element. (statusnet layout scheme is not the easier way of do changes, even if its planned to make it easier)

    (infact, you can have a fully instance, using the comunications features and a widget like betwittered without even have a displayable site for that)

    i already studied a lot of open source licenses, and do follow it rules. i really would like to know more about this, as i really dont want to keep track of ervery single change i do (even if it would worth, including for maintenece) and/or be charged of dont have that change online avaiable.

    instead of use this license terms, statusnet team should explicitilly say how they would like the code to be used.

    for example, sugarcrm, explicitilly say to keep the footer logo (even if it conflict with a grey area of the gpl, sugar is not the best example of open source project. otoh, there are lots of kind of open source projects around the net), and explicitily (in english) say what can be done (by the team) just spare lots of possible headaches.

    Best regards,
  • ps: i just found the diference. its exactly how it treat web server apps.
    it seems that anyone who run a statusnet instance should have the code avaiable online (a config.php change, is a code change afterall).
    it says nothing about what to display (doesnt restrict to change the footer), but it should have the source code avaible for any user. that is my first understood about it.
    otoh, i think add a display:none on the custom css box would be ok, anyway, good to track this closer, maybe i will add a on the fly link for taring out our instance setup, with a public version of config.php (as i dont want people knowing our password and such) :)
  • @Jaime Agree with you on the config.php file being a code change on an executable file.

    And @jordanc, in other words, for anyone to use and not break licensing, all their source code must be published. So, if I like your instance and I want to see your database username and password, I have a right to that info (me and everyone else)? Maybe a link to additional licensing exceptions of AGPL or verbiage regarding this would be helpful.

    It seems there are two possible results:
    1. You can do whatever you want to the source code - including configuring it via the config.php - and must make the new source code available online to whomever might want it.
    2. You can do absolutely nothing to the source code - but configuring your instance via the config.php - and must make the new source code available online to whomever might want it.
    So really - everyone must post their code? Or is there something obvious I'm not seeing somewhere?
  • From the best of my understanding, if you modify it you must make your changes available, if you don't modify the core code you still need to leave a link back to (assuming you modify css or otherwise change non core things that would hide the link - you can not claim it as your own software)
    Although, I am far from an IP lawyer, it's best to check out
  • @rls

    "if I like your instance and I want to see your database username and password, I have a right to that info (me and everyone else)?"

    Only changes to core code files, not databases etc.
  • @purge Thanks for the clarification - can you point me to the doc on that? I'd like to see with my own eyes how config.php is exempt here.
  • @jordanc Thanks for the link - will read it over.
  • Not really sure what you mean, as far as having to share 'code' would not mean having to give any configuration of what anyone has done. We are talking about code changes made to the core. As an example, if you made a change In one file that done something extra or different than what the StatusNet script does you would share it but as far as I am aware this would be afresh script that anyone could run up ( with there own config etc) that happens to have your changed file (s) in it.

    As far as I am aware if you make changes to core code you don't have to then back up and zip up your actual site including your config etc, that's simply ridiculous.

    So let's say you made a change in action.php, you would supply a version of the script with the changed action.php included, if it's run up 'as a new site' it would include your change or changes.

    This version would be the same as the StatusNet download but with what you have done in the files.

    That's how I understand it and that's how I have seen it with some of the other sites who do provided their code. Some however just provided the files they made changes to only.

    To be fair on all counts, most sites out there that have made obvious changes offer no download at all.
  • rlsrls
    edited May 2011
    Hey @purge, thanks for the response. Here's an exerpt from the AGPL doc @jordanc posted:
    To "modify" a work means to copy from or adapt all or part of the work in a fashion requiring copyright permission, other than the making of an exact copy. The resulting work is called a "modified version" of the earlier work or a work "based on" the earlier work.
    Based on this definition, it seems the addition ( @Jaime -> since it doesn't exist in the source code) of a config.php file to a instance would not be "making of an exact copy" of the work and would be a way to "adapt...part of the work", creating a "modified version".

    So, this all seems to say "config.php" is part of that License, because it is a adaption of the original source code, assuming additions are adaptions.

    I agree with you, it is "simply ridiculous" to take this approach. Based on the verbiage in the AGPL, I can't think of a program that can be used as-is, without any specific configuration and still satisfy the License. How do other AGPL's handle it?

    Maybe that's the point - AGPL is open to everyone, everywhere, forever.
  • Also @purge and @jordanc, I searched for the word "core" in the AGPL doc and on the wikipedia page for AGLP and didn't find it anywhere - it might be a good idea to either
    • Define how the term "core" relates specifically to verbiage in the AGPL doc, preferably with a link/copy+paste, or
    • Discontinue using that term (as it seems confusing - to me anyway) in AGPL license forums.
    Sorry for being so questioning - just want to be confident in/ supportive of what's going on here.
  • So are you suggesting the licence says that we would have to hand over our config file with all our information included? As in database name and password?? I really dont believe that to be the case.

    Handing a config over with what I have selected as plugins etc however is irrelevant as they would only be statusnet plugins which anyone can add at any time on any site as they are all identical.
  • Hey @purge, regarding whether "the licence says that we would have to hand over our config file with all our information included" - that is a good question, isn't it?

    I would like to say it's not logical to hand over a file as important as the config.php, which must mean that the config.php is exempt from this license, but that - from what I've seen - is not the case with this license. I haven't been able to get any clarity regard this one file, despite how obviously nonsensical it sounds. How far does AGPL reach? And if it doesn't reach somewhere in "modified" code, where is that documented?

    And since you mention plugins: If someone does add a plugin that they themselves developed and create (as per the plugin documentation) /local/plugins/MyCustom/MyCustomPlugin.php, who owns that code and how should it be licensed? According to @jordanc, "Any plugin that interacts with the software has to be AGPL licensed also."

    It's irrelevant if the plugins are identical or not, since the config.php must be custom to even run an instance of, which means the source is custom, which means all source must be published - that's the thought right now.

    So, something that is completely custom that only interacts with a instance must be bundled with the source that is being published ... or is there some other interpretation? If that's true, I believe the config.php would - again - fall firmly into the "modify" definition provided in the AGPL doc.

    I'm not looking to (just) vent - any other perspective/interpretation would is welcome!
  • edited May 2011
    @rls Configuration is not copyrightable.
  • jordac says "Only changes to core code files, not databases etc. "

    I would consider any config file very similar to a database, no?
    And actually, the contents of the config.php file could very well have
    been saved in a MySQL database!

    But what do I know. I'm not a programmer...per se...
  • I wonder, can someone force someone else to share their code? For example if I find a website which has a neat feature and they use status, can I force them to give me their source code?
  • @jocuri Theoretically, yes. Realistically, you might need a lawyer. Assuming that the neat feature is something they built into/with StatusNet as opposed to a wrapper they put around it or a different front page that uses the api or widgets to display parts of StatusNet.
  • A short note (hopefully right!) to all users who might want to edit or customise the footer of installation:

    The default notice in the footer:

    "YourSite is a microblogging service. It runs the StatusNet microblogging software, version 1.0.0alpha5, available under the GNU Affero General Public License."

    might be modified under one condition:

    You have to make the source code avaliable to the public. For example by making it downloadable from your site or any other source. If you, for any reason, do not want to directly link to (however it supports in many ways the developement of you can do something like:

    "YourSite is a microblogging service. It runs the microblogging software available under the GNU Affero General Public License and might be downloaded here: http://your-or-any-other-download-site/sourcecode.tar"

    Everyone interested in the source code can download, use, modify, redistribute it.
  • wthem , can you confirm if we can do the way you told us ?
  • Okay so here's my thoughts. You should be able to remove the footer text

    "YourSite is a microblogging service. It runs the StatusNet microblogging software, version #, available under the GNU Affero General Public License."

    Because by default the bottom menu item labeled "source" gives the links to download the source code and is basically the same info as the footer text minus the version number which in my opinion shouldn't be broadcast because of hackers.

    So as long as you're providing the links in a easy to view area of the site then why should this be such a big deal to remove the footer text?
  • Hmm... can I develop proprietary Plugins or Themes or Libraries? If that would be considered as derivatives of the original work, how about if I develop a web service which serves some certain services which any allowed third parties can use? And my open sourced modified version of StatusNet makes calls to web services, do I have to open source my proprietary web services?
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