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Open-source split of Mambo software begins

Disgruntled developers behind Mambo have launched their own version of the project that includes some security and bug fixes.

The disgruntled developers behind Mambo, an open-source software for publishing Web sites, have launched their own version of the project, called Joomla.

Version 1.0 of Joomla is based on version of Mambo plus some security and bug fixes. Like Mambo, it's governed by the General Public License, or GPL, which lets anyone see, modify and redistribute the code. The developers announced Joomla Thursday and said the code itself would be available "very soon."

In August, Mambo developers split with Miro International, the company that founded and commercialized the project, over disagreements about how to govern the software and control its intellectual property. Miro established the Mambo Foundation for the task, but the developers argued that Miro still held the real control.

For its part, Miro said the developers were the ones making the power grab and vowed to build a new development team from scratch.

The Joomla developers released a schedule of planned improvements to the software. Version 1.1, scheduled for release by the end of the year, will have user interface improvements; versions 1.2 and 1.3 will get new features for governing who has permission to see and modify Joomla-published content; and version 2.0, scheduled for release in 2006, will be overhauled to use version 5 of the PHP software for computer-generated Web sites.

One complication of the divided--or "forked"--development efforts between Mambo and Joomla is the large number of plug-ins that extend the publishing software's abilities. Plug-ins that work with Mambo 4.5.2 work with Joomla 1.0, but the Joomla developers said on their Web site that "we cannot guarantee that add-ons designed specifically for Mambo 4.5.3 will be compatible with Jooma! 1.1 or future versions."

When the developers split from Mambo, they set up a site called Open Source Matters. That is now the name of the entity that holds the Joomla copyright.

Eben Moglen, a Columbia University law professor and head of the Software Freedom Law Center, served as adviser to the Joomla team.

The GPL is the license developed by Richard Stallman to underpin his free software movement, which was established to create a software realm that guarantees freedoms not offered with typical proprietary software.