Move NSurvey 1.6 onto the DNN 5.* platform?

Nov 1, 2009 at 9:35 PM
Edited Nov 8, 2009 at 1:30 PM

Would it be worth spending time and energy trying to bring back the former open source Nsurvey project back to live?
What would it take to get it back on it's feet and turn it into a great DNN survey module and webapplication?

Please feel free to contribute to this discussion. Any ideas or suggestions are welcome. Maybe you have some experience on the original project you may want to share. We know of previous restarts.

Would this project get in the way of the exisiting DNN survey module at Personally we think the DNN survey is still a long way off of where the open source Nsurvey versions ended. There should be room for both of them....

In general we are only at the start of what hopefully becomes a succesfull joined effort and cooperation on a usefull shared product. Nevertheless there are plenty of questions to be asked.
Come and join the process! If you want to share your experience and/or expertise you can join the project by registering to and leave us a message.

Dec 29, 2009 at 4:46 PM

While the project looks nice it seems that it has been released by the original developer only under a GPL2 license and as such there would be no way we could ever get out of this viral licence or release any kind of work or code that would be done or related to this project under any other license than GPL2 unless the original copyright holder would agree with it, if he does or did already then its just fine otherwise I believe that such a project is just doomed from the begininng due to all the legal issues that might be arising from it.

Dec 30, 2009 at 2:58 PM
Edited Dec 30, 2009 at 3:02 PM

First of all I'm glad you like the projectidea as such and it's an interesting thought you've submitted. As far as the licensing is concerned you are right about the GPL2 license: the new Survey project is based on the open source webapplication formerly known as NSurvey 1.6. NSurvey was written by Thomas Zumbrunn, copyright (c) 2004 and published under the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE Version 2, June 1991.

This does of course have consequences for the way the project and most of all the software can evolve.

In general the GPL license is quite strict in keeping both the original code and any changes to it under the same licensing conditions. In this sense you are right about it not being easy to do any new work under a different license or to get away from the GPL licence (although GPL does offer options for this as well - see below).

The question however is would the fact that the GPL license applies to both original and new work alike pose a real problem and to whom?

It's a good thing you've raised the issue and to further the discussion please feel free to respond to some of the following considerations which may help to sharpen the ideas behind the project:

a. Praktical consequences:

- they can be handled and taken care of without too much extra effort. E.g. "You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change."

- In general as long as you make reference to (mention) the original or new contributors and enclose the GPL license agreement, you can go ahead making changes or creating new versions of the application.

b. Survey project principles:

- both Nsurvey and the new Survey project are set up as "open source" projects; "open source" meaning all sourcecode original (old) and new of the webapplication being available at all time;

- the idea behind the Survey project is to share knowledge, work cooperatively on and freely contribute to a common (web)solution which will then be freely available to anyone interested in using the webapplication or to further develop another new application on the basis of the Survey programming code (which in its turn was based on the Nsurvey code);

- "(creative) thoughts and idea's are never fully original - they are always based on the work of others - our software ancestors"; the concept of (legal) "ownership" of thoughts or the products of thinking is for schoolyardbullies (read: lawyers, politicians, global corporations etc.) but not a sustainable (web)concept;

- GPL prevents third parties from claiming full ownership and copyright of any "newly build application" that was based on or derived from the original sourcecode. Additions made by third parties are (in most cases) also forced to be published under GPL as open source. This can only contribute to the idea of "fighting" intellectual copyright claims and legal ownership of thoughts and ideas.

- Of course this may be considered a problem by "commercial parties" that want to make money out of the "softwareproduct" instead of making money out of the services delivered surrounding the product. In short under GPL it's difficult to commercialize the "product". Nevertheless you can make a decent earning by delivering special services (e.g. maintenance, hosting, installation, implementation, consulting etc. - even programming).

- Finally GPL does allow in certain cases to create new (survey related) work under it's own license (see red lines below). Distribution would have to be separate from the original application. As an example it would be imaginable to see an additional Survey module/plugin created that is distrituted separately with it's own license and and can be added/ imported into the Survey basic installation (see the DotNetNuke concept).

In short GPL does not have to stand in the way of a succesfull Survey project and webapplication product as long as the purpose and intentions of the project are not forgotten.

From the GNU GPL2 license

2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.

c) If the modified program normally reads commands interactively when run, you must cause it, when started running for such interactive use in the most ordinary way, to print or display an announcement including an appropriate copyright notice and a notice that there is no warranty (or else, saying that you provide a warranty) and that users may redistribute the program under these conditions, and telling the user how to view a copy of this License. (Exception: if the Program itself is interactive but does not normally print such an announcement, your work based on the Program is not required to print an announcement.)

These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.

Thus, it is not the intent of this section to claim rights or contest your rights to work written entirely by you; rather, the intent is to exercise the right to control the distribution of derivative or collective works based on the Program.


10. If you wish to incorporate parts of the Program into other free programs whose distribution conditions are different, write to the author to ask for permission. For software which is copyrighted by the Free Software Foundation, write to the Free Software Foundation; we sometimes make exceptions for this. Our decision will be guided by the two goals of preserving the free status of all derivatives of our free software and of promoting the sharing and reuse of software generally.