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Freepbx owned by Schmooze com?


#1

Not sure where to post this?

I’ve been using freepbx for about 5 years now…I see on this forum though that FreePBX is rapidly becoming (or has already become) a product of Schmoozecom…Is that the case?

I see FreePBX Certification is offered (By Schmoozecom)
I see that the FreePBX logo is a registered trademark of Schmoozecom.
In general I’m seeing that (with much props, respect, and Hat’s off to all the developers of Schmooze, Inc for their contributions) instead of being a Free and Open product, includes a ton of advertising and what not of Schmooze’s into the FreePBX product itself.

For the record, I have no issue with what they are doing, but I’m trying to understand if FreePBX is truly “Free” and “open” or if the licensing is all to Schmooze? If I want my customers to talk to us for support, but there are huge SCHMOOZE banners all over the place, it has significant potential to remove revenue from us.

I guess the question is, can we submit a large amount of money and resources as well to “The Community” to get our name on the product? Who makes the decisions? If its truly free and open - can I submit my name and logo into the product as well and remove all the Schmooze advertising?

Can some one clarify?


#2

1 - FreePBX certification has always been offered by Schmooze
2 - Yep, did you see the announcement that Schmooze purchased all rights to the name FreePBX, freepbx.com and the SIPstation VoIP ITSP business?
3 - I think you are confusing FreePBX with the FreePBX distro. Schmooze started the distro project from day 1. FreePBX is still available as a stand alone tarball. I am not intimately familiar with the license agreement, I suggest you take a look before removing trademarks. The terms of FreePBX branding have not changed.
4 - FreePBX is still licensed under the GPL, nothing has changed in that regard. When you say “name on the product” I am not sure what you mean. If you want a branded distro talk to Tony at Schmooze, if it’s commercially reasonable I am sure they will consider it. They have always been fair to my company.

Now if you are talking about the ISO, that is a different story. It contains non GPL code. Licensing of that code (not required to use FreePBX) is completely up to Schmooze. You need to consider that you are denying you customers access to the new app store and all the wonderful commercial add ons.

Consider this, my company has been integrating FreePBX for years, also hosts and sells the Schmooze commercial PBX’s. I have never had an issue explaining the ecosystem to my customers and where are value is. Creating artificial value thorough branding or other exclusionary tactics has never made sense for us.

By identifying ourselves and our relationship with Schmooze our customers know that we have resources outside of our firm. It increases our viability and comfort level with the investment.

Have you seen the announcement about the new reseller/certified integrator program? This is also a great opportunity attach yourself to the ecosystem and identify your company as truly possessing the intellectual and monetary capital to support Open Source Telephony.

Digium and FreePBX in a Flash are both including the Schmooze app store in their respective distro’s. I guess you need to decide, do you want to swim alone or identify yourself with the team?


#3

I appreciate the information - I must have missed the notice on Schmooze purchasing the rights to FreePBX logo and trademark.

I think you are correct in that I was confusing the distro and the tarball…so I stand corrected on that matter.

I truly appreciate your well phrased response and will take your advice. I will definately be looking into beginning relationships with Schmooze for the benefit of our customers (both current and future)

Thanks again!!


(Preston McNair) #4

For your situation you may want to consider the OEM Branding program for the FreePBX Distro: http://www.freepbx.org/custom-oem-program


(Tony Lewis) #5

I am a little late here but I want to clarify something.

FreePBX the GUI ontop of asterisk is GPL and has been GPL from day one. Nobody can change that nor would we. Secondly just because something is GPL does not mean their is not copyright and trademark. FreePBX is a US Registered Trademark registration number 3365377 and has been for 6 or so years. Schmooze Com has been a sponsor and active in FreePBX for the past 4 plus years. Earlier this year we purchased the Trademark of FreePBX from Bandwidth.com and also the domains of freepbx.org and freepbx.com so yes that does entitle us have the Schmooze Name on the FreePBX website and product versus some random ABC Company.

Now we also have bills to pay and mouths to feed so we offer paid offerings from Support, Training and Certification to Commercial Modules. I do take a little offense to the statement we are plastering banners everywhere pushing our services. Please tell me where we do this? We do very little pushing of these things you will notice on the FreePBX website and most indepth Commercial offerings and information are directed into the Schmooze Com website to clearly draw a line between FreePBX OpenSource and the Paid Offerings.

Please help me understand what we are doing that concerns you. Most people we talk with are glad a company is finally behind FreePBX and that it helps make their customers feel more comfortable that their is a real company backing up their systems. Hence why we rolled out a Reseller/Certification Program.


#6

I’m sorry if it came off wrong in some way- I don’t believe i said you were “Pushing” any of your products and services - I was just asking for clarification because I wanted to know exactly where all of the Schmooze items came from and how it came to be, that’s all. Plus, I admitted, I made a mistake confusing distro with tarball…So, I sincerely apologize for any offence I may have caused. It was definately unintentional.

On the postitive note - we definately would like to throw our hats into the ring, so to speak, to show there is in fact more than one “Real” company behind FreePBX to make it an even better product and contribute in whatever way we can!!

I want this to come off as positive and contributive as we have been supporting FreePBX and Asterisk systems for many years and its time to give back!

David


(Tony Lewis) #7

Not sure what you mean throw your hat in to show there is more then one company behind FreePBX. The best way to help FreePBX is to start helping code, fix bugs and add new features.

Anyone can do this and we always are looking for more people to get involved.


#8

Surely you can appreciate the skepticism after what Fonality did to Trixbox and what Elastix now appears to be doing.

Let me give you just a couple examples of what I see as the slippery slope forming. When the advanced settings module came out there was no easy way to remove Schmooze/FreePBX branding. The GUI would not allow anything other than “tango.png” as the upper left logo and there was no way to remove schmooze branding in the footer even though the GUI acted as if it was possible with editable form fields. The result is I had to rename my logo tango.png and I had to hack the theme css to remove the schmooze logo at the bottom. This had to be re-done every time there was a framework update. The latest released version of FreePBX doesn’t seem to have those problems (so far) but it took over a year for that to be ‘fixed’.

Another example. Commercial modules added to module admin. Some free (so far) modules being zenguarded. Not sure if any free modules have been changed to commercial with no free alternative still in module admin but what would stop you from doing that?

I think there is ample evidence that some skepticism is warranted and I hope you prove me wrong repeatedly.


(Preston McNair) #9

mustardman,

As for removing the FreePBX & Schmooze trademarks to promote your own brand, I assume you are not removing the trademarks and GPL license information to promote this as your own creation correct?

As for the commercial modules, don’t enable those repositories and you will not have to worry about seeing them in module admin.


#10

Thanks for proving my point that instead of responding to some of my concerns you responded as the trademark/GPL police. Similar to Tony’s post above. Just more bad signs imho.

I would hope you are familiar enough with your own product to know what is and what is not editable (in theory) in advanced settings or did you even bother to read my whole post?


(Tony Lewis) #11

Preston is Sales and Marketing not development. I just tested changing the footer images and top left logo on 2 different 2.10 systems and a 2.11 and they all work. Also quick scan in trac shows no ticket on what you claim does not work in 2.10 but I might of missed it.

Regardless I think you are wrong on that statement and like I said it works fine in 2.10 on both my systems I tested on. Sounds like its something on your side, maybe permission issue with you setup not sure but I can not reproduce it.

Now if you are referring to the text in the footer that has never been able to be changed in the GUI. Its the required trademark, GPL and Copyright notices.


#12

I think the problem has existed since v2.9. I filed a bug report probably at least a year or two ago.

As I said in my post, the problem appears to have been fixed now which is what you have also confirmed. It just started working a few weeks ago. I think around the time you said you fixed some long standing bug with the new GUI but I could be wrong.


(Tony Lewis) #13

Well now you have me intrigued as nothing in 2.10 has been changed in 6-9 months with advanced settings. So I glanced at change logs you are dead wrong. Looks like their was a bug in 2.10 Beta but it was fixed well over 14 months ago and it was only in 2.10 from the GUI layout change in 2.10 from 2.9. 2.9 never had that issue. But bringing up a bug in a Beta release that was fixed 14 months ago is not something I would want to hang my hat on not to mention guess who fixed the bug. Moshe from Schmooze Com.

And a little history lesson prior to 2.9 you could not change any branding inside FreePBX. If you changed things in the actual code or CSS anytime you updated FreePBX your changes were removed. It was made possible because of bootstrap and advanced settings with the move away from amportal.conf to being database driven and a JQuery GUI and guess what both those features came from our Commercial PBXact systems back to the project as Open Source and allowed you to re-brand things. So I think that should be enough for now to show our history and the things we have done to help move FreePBX forward and our commitment to open source and the community.


(Preston McNair) #14

mustardman, what’s your motivation here? I’m not here to argue with you, that would be a waste of my time. We are really too busy to be distracted by your constant criticism, and you will notice most people have grown to ignore your rants, but seeing as I haven’t addressed them publicly before I thought now as good as time as any.

First of all I never hide behind the anonymity of a user name, my full name and the company I represent are listed in my signature, and I make it clear of what I am here to do. What’s your motivation for being here on the support forums? As mostly what I see is you taking jabs at those actually doing the work of the project, or the project itself, I don’t get that?

Secondly like Tony stated, I’m not a developer, and I’ve seen a bug report or two from you stating that you are not a developer either so I guess we are even there. I play around with writing code from time to time, but nothing outside of tinkering for my own understanding and enjoyment. So just to be clear, yes I was asking if while re-branding FreePBX if you honored the GPL license and trademarks, or did you rebrand that as well? This, was so I could better understand the motives behind this post and one you made a couple of weeks ago. Back in March if your remember you suggested that the project be renamed “OpenPBX” so what would the point be if you are just slapping the “mustardman” logo all over it? What’s your motivation?

You also seem to be against commercial modules, that’s another thing I don’t understand, One of the current ways the development is funded is via commercial modules, yes those are there to fund the project and feed the developers, and I’m here to promote them as well, as they all provide great enhancements to the already feature rich FreePBX. In 2011 when the FreePBX Marketplace opened you were one of the first asking how to get a login, yet now for some reason you seem to think that any attempt for developers to receive compensation for their work is somehow evil? Can I assume that your receive no such compensation for installation of or sales and support of your re-branded version of FreePBX?

No I suspect that it’s the exact opposite, you make your living on the backs of the developers both at Schmooze and outside of Schmooze that have a passion for FreePBX, so once again what is your motivation for slinging the mud at them? I’m excited to see a lot of new developers contributing to the project in the past couple of months, and having spoken with several of them (outside of Schmooze) they are here because they have a passion for the project, as do I, I try to be helpful in all of my post in this support forum, offering fixes for people where I have the ability and the knowledge, and suggesting commercial modules that may fit a particular need when appropriate, yes with the motivation of creating not only a great online community, but building good will and furthering the project, and yes hopefully generating some sales to keep the developers fed. I know why I’m here… maybe you need to figure out what’s your motivation for being here.


#15

If you’re not happy with the Schmooze branding when connecting to your FreePBX gui, then you should make adjustments to suit your personal style.
Its just php.
Personally, I think the Schmooze branding possibly adds some credibility.
But its a phone system, and users never see this when using their phones !
YMMV


#16

Say again…everything after “la la la I can’t hear you (with fingers in ears)”


#17

Here ya go. It was 10months ago.

http://www.freepbx.org/trac/ticket/5892

I installed many times to reproduce. It wasn’t a one off thing. Also saw it with AsteriskNOW and PiAF so it wasn’t because of how I was installing and really…why would it be when everything is working except a few form fields in the GUI.

Also, I think hover or alt text still is not working for upper left logo. It always says FreePBX when you hover and you should be able to edit that according to advanced settings form field.


(Preston McNair) #18

I looked back over your last month of post and you are correct in what you had originally posted you are contributing to the forum I saw about a dozen threads where you provided good information and were helpful, and for that I personally thank you.

I purposely didn’t respond when I saw your first post in February on our announcement about the Trademark purchase, associating Schmooze and FreePBX with what happened to trixbox and Fonality, I really don’t see the benefit of a response to that type of post in most cases, and these forums have had a bad rap in the past from people being less than helpful and basically responding to questions with RTFM, I’m sure you’ve seen this having been around for the past five years. But you felt the need to bring up your conspiracy theory again, and mention your “bad signs” and “slippery slope” you think we are sliding down, and that does require a response, so I gave one, you then mention that I didn’t answer your questions and only berated you, the only question in your original post in this thread was:

“Not sure if any free modules have been changed to commercial with no free alternative still in module admin but what would stop you from doing that?”

And that one seemed a bit rhetorical, but Tony has already responded.

Like I said I’m not here to get into a long drawn out fight with you on this, but if you question our motivations, then I have absolutely no problem responding to you with the same questions.

Yes Schmooze is a for profit company, yes we would hope to make a profit on our hard work, and we do that by adding value to FreePBX by managing the FreePBX project and roadmap, as well as adding value added additions to the base PBX with the commercial modules, training opportunities, lots of documentation lately in the form of the upgraded site, wiki and module user guides and active support both paid and unpaid, and the creation of a FreePBX certified reseller program.

Being about the only person on staff at Schmooze that doesn’t carry the “developer” title I think I know a little bit about working with developers. Even if you disagree with the philosophy of funding the development by commercial “non-free” modules, that’s one of the primary sources of income for the folks designing your PBX… so If you can imagine their dismay when someone that is vocal on the support forums seems to try to sabotage their efforts at compensation, with a if it ain’t free it ain’t for me attitude.

You have been around FreePBX and these forums for over five years, if you can think of better ways to pay the salaries of the developers building the MustardmanPBX for you by all means send me or Tony a PM with your ideas.
If I could get everyone that’s using FreePBX or has downloaded it to just to send in a dollar to the project we probably wouldn’t need commercial modules at all to support the development, but I welcome any ideas you may have.

Thanks again for your active responses and helpful support in the forums.


(Tony Lewis) #19

That is the most childish thing I have ever heard someone here say. If you act like a child maybe you need to be put in a timeout like I do with my children.


(Tony Lewis) #20

You are correct but that ticket was closed as it you had opened up the same thing twice. http://www.freepbx.org/trac/ticket/5891 And in this ticket we stated right away that the bug had been fixed already and you never responded that it was not fixed and this was 10 months ago which goes back to my we fixed it over a year ago when 2.10 was still BETA. It was a mistake and a bug and was fixed so quit with the conspiracy theories it was a BETA release damn.

Maybe its time you just state the real truth. You dont want it to say FreePBX or Schmooze or anything else. You want your customers to think you built all this and its the MusterdmanPBX. We can all see through this.