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What things should be considered in the license etc when you're using some open source projects/ tools in your application(in my case, specifically a web application/website) ?

What are the terms & conditions to look for in the license and in what ways can they impact my future business in technological, financial or any other domains ?

In my case I am using several open source tools like some of the Google open source products, some from Apache and several others like that.

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What do you mean "using"? Are you using tools to create something you use? That's almost always safe. Are you incorporating open source code into your project? That's the case where the details of the license can matter. –  David Thornley Mar 4 '11 at 16:57
    
@David- I am using tools like Google protocol buffers, Apache Cassandra DB, Twitter's snowflake for building my web application, (I am not building any new technology adding to these, but just using them for my own good). –  user01 Mar 5 '11 at 5:44
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 4 '11 at 15:35

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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

This is not a coding problem - you are asking the wrong audience. Licenses are a legal problem, so you should really TALK TO A LAWYER.

That being said, here is my view of it (don't take this as any serious legal advice as IANAL):

  1. What things should be considered in the license etc when you're using some open source projects/ tools in your application(in my case, specifically a web application/website) ?

    You should read the license and try to understand the terms. Than your lawyer should read the license and explain it to you.

  2. What are the terms & conditions to look for in the license and in what ways can they impact my future business in technological, financial or any other domains ?

    License is a legal contract. Every part of it is important. The most important part is derived works and redistribution rights.

  3. Different OSS products have different licenses. You should read and understand every license and it's consequences. You should also note that sometimes licenses contradict themselves so they can not be combined.

The most IMPORTANT message: The matter of licenses is a legal matter. If you are setting up a business you SHOULD talk to a lawyer. Do not rely on free advice form people that are not lawyers.

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+1 The most important part of this is the capitalised talk to a lawyer right at the start. –  Blair McMillan Mar 4 '11 at 9:40
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