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I'm working on an engine (I haven't started coding it yet but I like to have everything done as soon as I can, and since I'm unable to start coding it now, I'm working on these small things) and I want to license the code. For now, I'm thinking of leaving the project open-source, but later I might turn it proprietary so I was wondering what would be the best license for an open-source project (it's an offline project, I mean, it's C++/Lua based, not a web project) and also a proprietary license for later, in case I really turn it proprietary (I did search about both types of licenses, but from what I understood I have to make the proprietary license by myself, which would include registering copyright, contracting a laywer, etc. and don't want to waste money on this project, at least not for now).

I would like users to have the possibility to modify, use parts of my code and use my whole engine in their projects (for the open-source license, of course the proprietary license will have other rights, but paid) BUT EVER HAVING STATED THE CODE IS COPIED/MODIFIED FROM MY ENGINE, AND IS NOT THEIRS CODE.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Snowman, MichaelT, Jimmy Hoffa, durron597, gnat Oct 30 at 21:59

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Have a look into "needs attribution" for the CAPITAL part of your question. – Marcel Mar 5 '13 at 20:30
This type of question is not a good fit for StackExchange sites, please see the FAQ. – M. Dudley Mar 5 '13 at 20:31
Will you use 3rd party libs/code? – Marcel Mar 5 '13 at 20:31
And why is not it, Michael? It says "Software licensing", I don't see what my topic has of wrong in "what it is not for...", I'm sorry if this is in the wrong section and I could not see it, I really don't see what's wrong. @Marcel, yes, I'll use one lib that uses Zlib license. – Anderl Mar 5 '13 at 20:34
@Anderl: Your question is an open-ended "survey" question and does not have a definitive answer. If you had asked "I need X, would license Y fit my needs?" I think that it would be more appropriate. Honestly it sounds like you've done no research on the topic. – M. Dudley Mar 5 '13 at 20:47

1 Answer 1

Releasing your code under an OSS license does absolutely nothing to stop you from releasing your code under a commercial license later. The copyright is still yours and you're free to licence it as many times and as many ways as you want. There's a slight hitch if you ever accept patches from somebody else but there's ways to manage that.

The biggest issue is that, once you release your code under an OSS license, you can't un-release it. Everyone you've given a copy of your code to can keep giving it out. To make your commercial license viable you will need to bring something new to the table - either new features or new rights - just offering support can be done without a license change.

Saying "This software based on Anderl's engine" is a pretty minor detail. Very few people would be willing to pay to remove this, as long as they're not being required to release their project under an OSS license (as it would with the GPL). If you can have some 'premium' features sitting in the wings, you might be able to sell those but, if the features are worth buying, would the engine still be useful enough for anyone to bother using under the OSS license if you left them out?

All that said, write the code first. Figuring out how you're going to license it before you've written any code is wasted effort if you never finish the project or come up with something anyone will use (paid or free).

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Yeah, I guess you said everything :p Thanks to anybody else for answering anyway. – Anderl Mar 5 '13 at 21:48

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