Open Source Licenses
By Pete Freitag
I've been working on a small piece of software that I plan on releasing with an open source license. There are so many licenses out there that I often forget what differentiates them. So I put together a small chart outlining some of the differences.
The recent debacle with Ray Camden's blog software is a good example of what can happen when you don't have a clear license. Some open source licenses require derivatives to be open source. Other licenses allow derivatives to be sold commercially, or sub-licensed (this is what Apple does with Darwin - which is based on BSD).
I picked out the some of the most popular licenses to compare. A full text copy of each license may be found at the Open Source Institute.
|Disclaimer of liability||x||x||x||x||x|
|Preserve Copyright Notice||x||x||x||x||x|
|Can be used in commercial closed source software||x||-||*||x||x|
|Can be sublicensed||*||-||-||*||x|
|Prevents the authors name from being used to promote derived works.||x||x||x||x||-|
x = yes
- = no
* = under certain circumstances, yes
Are there any other points to compare?
I am not an attorney, and this article is based upon my interpretations of the licenses, which may be incorrect. This information has been posted for my own use. It in no way constitutes legal advice. You should hire an attorney and read the licenses yourself before making any decisions.
Additionally any comments posted by third parties should not be taken as legal advice.
Open Source Licenses was first published on January 19, 2006.