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19

In general, the legalities in licensing that can occur as a result of the use of open-source software boil down to two factors: Commercial use, and Distribution. Distribution means "conferring" software to a third party outside the organization. Since you say you only use the software internally, legal mechanisms like "copyleft" (the term used for the ...


6

There are lots and lots of different open source licenses which have lots and lots of different conditions and fine-prints. They all work differently. RapidXML is dual-licensed under the MIT license and Boost License, and you are allowed to choose freely under which license you want to use it. They are both so-called permissive open source license. A ...


6

From my experience diving into large, unfamiliar code bases, I would say the key thing is to understand how the program is split up, and then focus only on the piece you're changing. This is just as true of codebases I work on every day as it is of codebases I've never seen before. If the program is well-designed, the modules/components/pieces/whatever will ...


6

There are some things to be aware off: First, your company lawyers may get a fit if you use third party code without asking them. So you shouldn't use any third party code without telling your boss or manager and getting their consent. As you said, you are not a lawyer. Second, a nasty one: If you find code on the internet, and it has some license, you ...


6

The MIT license doesn't specify attribution beyond maintaining the copyright notice. The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software. Somewhere within the source for the project you are considering forking, there should be a LICENSE file or equivalent. If there isn't, then ...


5

There are several business models for Free Software (which I feel is a more interesting terminology thant Open Source), and you should also look into the FSF site and its what is free software page. Notice also that even proprietary software is often non-profitable thru licensing. It is rumored that the development costs of SAP software is not paid by the ...


5

Quite often, corporate misconduct is revealed by disgruntled employees or ex-employees. When no inside source is available, and the only proof you have is the compiled binary of the product, it might get harder to prove that a copyright violation has happened. But there are a few things you can try: One possible sign is identical behavior. When both ...


4

The Apache License has nothing to say about buying or selling software. It neither endorses nor prohibits the sale of software so licensed.


4

Actually, there are products available with a licensing scheme which fulfills very similar requirements. It typically works by picking a dual license model. You publish your software, for example, under a GPL license (which theoretically allows selling of the software or derivatives, but makes it practically impossible). But you tell people on your website ...


4

After writing the original version of this answer (see remark below), I came to the realization that instead of analyzing the mental gap present in new developers, I should have instead explored what is the single most important thing that new developers need to do to close the mental gap. Here is my assertion. The best thing new developers in this ...


3

Minecraft is actually an invalid example, as it was a proprietary commercial project. If Microsoft purchases the IP rights to the project, and does not keep the Mojang developers on, then it's no different from any other proprietary project: you don't own the rights to what you work on, under "work made for hire" doctrine. Having said that, for an actual ...


3

I am not a lawyer. If you want a lawyer's answer, you should probably ask one. The FSF is particularly helpful in providing guidance in understanding of the aspects of various free licenses, in particular the GPL. The GPL is a license based on copyright. The rights that copyright grant the copyright holder allow them to enforce the license. An API is a ...


3

No. There is no such thing as a flawless program, so don't aim for that. What you should aim for in for a first release is good/thorough documentation, some automated tests, one or more places for people to tell you about any problems they have or features they'd like to see, and a clear/prominent description of what your program library is and is not ...


3

You assume that the recipient wants to give away your software. It's possible that your customer has a vested business interest in not sharing the software. For example, if you sell an open-source industry-specific application to a business, that business might want to keep that application out of the hands of competitors in the same industry. (Of course, ...


3

Modifying open source software. Sometimes people need open source software to do something it doesn't already do and no one is willing to do that for free. So a company might pay someone to do it for them. For instance, a company might want to release some hardware running linux. But their hardware requires new drivers. So they pay someone (or maybe ...


2

When you sell something -- anything -- you are trading something of value (the product, services or experience) for something of value (money). When you sell open source software, what you are typically selling isn't the software, but rather the services and experience that you've bundled with the software. For example, you may have made an installer that ...


2

Exhibit A: BSD license text Exhibit B: MIT license text First off, you really ought to read both of those licenses. Really, go on now, it shouldn't take more than a few minutes to read both. What you should immediately notice is just how similar the two licenses are. Really, they are. Basically, they both state "retain the copyright notice" and "retain ...


2

This depends a lot on context. If you want to use any open source software you are free to. If you want to use any open source software for the basis of internal company projects then you are also free to ( since the more contagious licences like the gpl require you to provide the source code upon request to all who the compiled code is distributed to, ...


1

The other answers have already shown you how to make money off software without making money directly off the sale, however, there is still one reason why someone would straight up buy your software: some people or organizations like to have someone to sue, and it is easier to sue someone you have given money to (and thus have a contract of sale with) than ...


1

This is really a legal question and I am not a lawyer. But from what I understand about contracts and software licenses in general: (1) If you release software under an open-source license, then unless that license says that you have the right to revoke it -- in which case I don't think it would qualify as "open source" by definition -- then you cannot ...



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