The applications that I develop on my free time are getting bigger and I'm planning to launch some other projects that I'm currently developing, so I want to know how to choose the correct license for freeware and open source projects for this and some of my future projects.
- Anybody can ask a question
- Anybody can answer
- The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
You don't explain what you want to do with your software.
Typically, you could go to Open Source Institute and browse their approved licenses, but it's simpler to pick a few.
My general recommendation, unless you have specific requirements (such as software you're incorporating into yours, restrictions on license for intended use, or source repository restrictions): Ask yourself if it would bother you to have people take your software, incorporate it into their proprietary/closed-source programs, and profit from it.
If your answer is "no, not particularly", go with the BSD license.
If your answer is "yes, I don't want that to happen", go with the GPLv2, and its recommendation to allow people to use any later version of the GPL.
If you want to give something back to the community, use MIT or BSD.
Otherwise, don't publish the project at all.
See producingoss.org for Karl Fogel's thoughts on this.
Picking the right license is especially important if you intend on making $$ from your project or if you intend on stopping others from easily making $$ off your project :). The Apache license for example is seen as being corporate/business friendly
If in doubt, make sure you see a lawyer that's well versed in this area. They're rare, but there's not a lot of proven case law around open source licenses and so it pays to check out the current state of play
Oh and whatever you do, please don't create your own license, you're only going to create yourself a legal nightmare.