Questions about the implementation of software licenses on software, including questions about open-source licenses.

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84
votes
14answers
8k views

Is it illegal to rewrite every line of an open source project in a slightly different way, and use it in a closed source project?

There is some code which is GPL or LGPL that I am considering using for an iPhone project. If I took that code (JavaScript) and rewrote it in a different language for use on the iPhone would that be ...
40
votes
1answer
7k views

MIT vs. BSD vs. Dual License

My understanding is that: MIT-licensed projects can be used/redistributed in BSD-licensed projects. BSD-licensed projects can be used/redistributed in MIT-licensed projects. The MIT and the BSD ...
36
votes
15answers
3k views

What do I need to do to NOT steal “Hello World” code with a GPL license?

In the project, I found a file, math.c, with a big GPL header and ... //------------------------------------------------------------------------------ /// Returns the minimum value between two ...
32
votes
2answers
857 views

Unicode license

The Unicode Terms of use state that any software that uses their data files (or a modification of it) should carry the Unicode license references. It seems to me that most Unicode libraries have ...
30
votes
3answers
5k views

Is there a chart for helping me decide between open-source licenses?

The Open Source Initiative lists 9 different licenses in their list of "License that are popular and widely used or with strong communities". I want to license my project as open-source. ...
29
votes
6answers
14k views

Can a developer get a discount for Microsoft products? [closed]

If I would start to focus on the .NET platform and be self-employed, then I probably would like to have some Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2010 licenses just for the development ...
29
votes
6answers
2k views

What are the Pros and Cons of the GPL? [closed]

I'm looking at licensing some open source software and am looking at the GPL. What are the pros and cons of using this license?
28
votes
7answers
1k views

Choosing a licence for open source projects

I've done some open source projects, and I plan to do more in the future. So far, I've released all my code under GPL, but I've read a few articles which claim GPL is too restrictive for any code to ...
26
votes
11answers
2k views

Is it wrong to take code you have produced at work and re-use it for personal projects?

Throughout my various workplaces and through my university life I always wrote code which I thought "this would be really useful in generic situations". Indeed, I intentionally write code, even if it ...
26
votes
6answers
1k views

Reasons NOT to open source not-for-profit code?

I am a big fan of open source code. I think I understand most of the advantages of going open source. I'm a science student researcher, and I have to work with quite a surprising amount of software ...
26
votes
8answers
3k views

What is the “default” software license?

If I release some code and binaries, but I don't include any license at all with it, what are the legal terms that apply by default (in the US, where I am). I know that I automatically have copyright ...
26
votes
1answer
942 views

If I release a program under GPL, do I have to continue to do so?

Consider this scenario: I am developing a program FooSuite that uses a GPL-licenced library QuuxTools I release the program FooSuite 1.0 under GPL Later on I discover that, for some reason, I need ...
26
votes
3answers
1k views

What to do when a company request permission to use open source code without attribution?

I have an opensource project currently under MIT license. I have received a request from a company to use my code for their commercial project without having to give any attribution or credit. To be ...
26
votes
3answers
2k views

Best Mechanism for Generating License Keys

What methods / libraries / tools would people suggest for generating license keys (those lovely AAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAA things you put in when you register software)? Any gotchas to look out ...
25
votes
5answers
977 views

Maintain a web application once the only developer is gone

I have a terminal disease and there is a very high chance that I will no longer be in this world by the end of the year. I have developed a web application that it is extensively used in my family’s ...
24
votes
8answers
15k views

Can we use Java for commercial use?

The Java is GPL license (reference from wikipedia). I am not sure I can use it in in commercial projects. I already have a website written in Java and I plan to use this for commercial use. Is that ...
24
votes
4answers
4k views

Is it okay to use a short EULA?

I need to add an EULA to my (commercial) software but I cannot afford a lawyer. Also I had a look at various EULA examples on the internet but they are all for specific software or countries, and are ...
24
votes
4answers
6k views

Are there pre-made commercial software licenses to choose from?

I currently have an open source project that is licensed under GPLv3. I'd like to dual license it, so I can offer it for commercial use. Are there any resources for choosing or creating a commercial ...
23
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there an idiot's guide to software licensing somewhere?

Basically, my knowledge on the issue is zilch other than the fact that open-source and closed-source exists. I'm a web developer (not a designer in the slightest), so I look online for things like ...
22
votes
7answers
949 views

How can I make sure my evening project code is mine?

I'm a physicist with a CS degree and just started my PhD at a tech company (wanted to do applied research). It deals with large scale finite element simulations. After reviewing their current ...
22
votes
5answers
1k views

Can someone else patent my open-sourced algorithm?

I've written a recursive search algorithm to find the boundaries of a voxel data structure in order to render it more efficiently. I've looked around, and either it's such a simple and obvious ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

How is client-side javascript covered by the GPL?

If I used a GPL-licensed Javascript libarary in a web application, would I then have to offer source code of the whole site to anyone who downloaded and executed the Javascript lib?
19
votes
8answers
1k views

Why freeware (closed-source) instead of open-source?

I'm wondering why some people release software as freeware, yet they don't release the source code. Why is that? I can think of some reasons, yet most of them don't make very much sense. Why would you ...
19
votes
7answers
1k views

Can I legally and ethically take an open-source project with community contributions to closed-source?

Let's say I start and develop some project under open-source license, and accept some community contributions. How shaky is the ground I stand on if I decide to take the project commercial and ...
18
votes
1answer
538 views

Why is the warranty disclaimer section of a licence usually (always?) shouted?

For example, the templates provided on the Open Source Initiative website for the 3-clause BSD License, and the MIT License both include an all-caps warranty disclaimer, though the rest of the license ...
18
votes
7answers
694 views

Does making source code available affect your ability to generate revenue?

We’re working on a .Net framework which ultimately amounts to a single DLL. We intend to charge for commercial use of the framework, but make it free for open source/non-commercial use. The rough ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the right way to fork/re-use code from an open source project?

Let's say I am working on an open source project and want to re-use a trivial utility function from another open source project (for example, a file search/replace function). Is it legal to copy the ...
18
votes
3answers
13k views

What are the real life implications for an Apache 2 license?

I want to use SVG Edit for project. This software is distributed under the Apache 2 license. I've seen that: all copies, modified or unmodified, are accompanied by a copy of the licence all ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Must source code released under GPL be human-readable?

In a response to another question, a poster suggested that under the GPL: ...you need to provide the human readable [code], not a whitespace stripped version... Readability would seem to me to ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Do I need to contact a lawyer to report a GPL violation in software distributed on Apple's App Store?

Some company is selling software through Apple's App Store which uses portions of code that I released publicly under the GPL. The company is violating the licensing terms in two ways, by (1) not ...
16
votes
2answers
517 views

Is there a precedent for the license on a compiler restricting the kind of development you can use it for?

It was recently let slip that the new EULA for Delphi XE3 will prohibit Client Server development with the Professional edition without the additional purchase of a Client Server license pack. This is ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Can you claim that your product is fit for purpose when it uses OSS software which does not guarantee it?

I am working on a product for a client that must be valid and fit for purpose. It's built on a LAMP stack (PHP/Cake), so there's GPL, MIT, PHP, APACHE licenses: "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES ...
15
votes
7answers
599 views

How successful is GPL in reaching its goals?

There are, broadly, two types of FOSS licenses when it relates to commercial usage of the code - let's say the GPL-type and the BSD-type. The first is, broadly, restrictive about commercial usage (by ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

“Do Whatever You Want” License With Attribution

I'm looking for an open source license that lets people do whatever they want - just like the MIT license - just as long as they attribute the original author, i.e. me. Does a common license exist ...
15
votes
4answers
4k views

Can you change code distributed under the MIT license, and re-distribute it under the GPL license?

Is it possible to alter the code of the Chili plugin, which had its latest release on July 2008, and it is licensed under the MIT license, to then license it under GPL? As far I can see, there is no ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Using GPL libraries without modification on a commercial website, do I need to make my source code available? [duplicate]

If I write a public-facing commercial website, and use a GPL javascript library and/or binaries without modifying them (such as plupload), would I be required to make the source for my website ...
15
votes
3answers
376 views

Should I include myself as an author after modifying 3rd-party code?

It's common practice to make some tweaks or fixes in 3rd-party code (be it a simple gist or an entire library). But it's also common that many of these code have they own licensing rules and ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Should I change the name in the WTFPL?

I'm using the WTFPL in my personal projects published on GitHub. Currently I'm using it verbatim, but I have the suspicion I shouldn't be leaving Copyright (C) 2004 Sam Hocevar ...
15
votes
2answers
10k views

AGPL - what you can do and what you can't

AGPL is a fairly new license that was meant to go GPL-over-networks. However, not being a lawyer, and actually not having read the whole license, I can't understand what exactly you can do freely and ...
15
votes
1answer
512 views

Best way to share / “donate” a C# software - and what license? [closed]

Some years back I have developed a little C# class library, which is still frequently downloaded. Since I do not have the time to support the project any more, I would like to donate it. What is the ...
14
votes
8answers
482 views

Do licenses matter if there's nobody around to enforce them?

Suppose that the original creators can't (or won't) enforce a license on their software/code, but that work is still popular. I guess if you want to visualize it, I'll throw out a convoluted ...
13
votes
7answers
4k views

Avoid GPL violation by moving library out of process

Assume there is a library that is licensed under GPL. I want to use it is closed source project. I do following: Create small wrapper application around that GPL library that listens to socket, ...
13
votes
8answers
1k views

Do you tend to write your own name or your company name in your code?

I've been working on various projects at home and at work, and over the years I've developed two main APIs that I use in almost all AJAX based websites. I've compiled both of these into DLLs and ...
13
votes
5answers
830 views

Can I use MIT license to give some of my previous written code to employer so that I protect myself and don't lose my copyright?

My situation: I have written a framework before I started my new job. I own the copyright. It has a bunch of boilerplate logic inside of it, like any piece of software. (duh!) I don't want to use ...
13
votes
8answers
532 views

How do I (quickly) let people know that software I am providing for free is not abandon-ware?

As an independent, individual programmer: How do I let people very quickly know that I have not abandoned the software I've written and given away for free? That I am putting in the effort required ...
13
votes
3answers
12k views

Can I use MIT licence plugins in my commercial web site?

If yes, what precautions should I take?
13
votes
5answers
2k views

How to manage a copyright notice in an open source project?

I'm working on, and adding to, a GitHub-hosted project that includes this LICENCE.md (apparently the MIT licence verbatim): Copyright (c) 2012 [Acme Corp] Permission is hereby granted, free of ...
13
votes
11answers
981 views

Difference between free and open software? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Open Source but not Free Software (or vice versa) I recently was at talk were Stallman was the keynote speaker, and he stated he hated the term open software, because it ...
13
votes
2answers
335 views

Does NASA license the software that it develops?

NASA provides a visualization software called Panoply. There is a Credits and Acknowledgments page that acknowledges and lists the licenses of software dependencies, but provides no information about ...
13
votes
5answers
398 views

How can I best manage making open source code releases from my company's confidential research code?

My company (let's call them Acme Technology) has a library of approximately one thousand source files that originally came from its Acme Labs research group, incubated in a development group for a ...