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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Open source license choice (Read 6917 times)
Michael
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Open source license choice
May 26th, 2002 at 7:52pm
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Okay, as I've mentioned, I'd like this "mod testing script" to ultimately be a distinctive project in its own right, with the tentative name of "phpMyDownloads." The primary focus right now is that of a mod storage/review system for the two YaBB communities. After that is accomplished, I'd like to expand it and make it more full-featured and oriented towards a larger audience.

To that end, I'd like to use the SourceForge facilities and community to improve the project coordination, etc. In order to use the SourceForge facilities, I must choose an Open Source Initiative-approved license. I'd appreciate any feedback anyone has on the licenses, listed here.

When I get a chance, I'll post a summary of the main few licenses I'm looking at (GPL, LGPL, BSD/MIT-style, or Mozilla, pretty much). I'd appreciate any feedback anyone has on which license should be chosen.
  

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Michael
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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #1 - May 27th, 2002 at 1:47am
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A bit dated, but still pretty applicable, here's a decent summary/overview of the popular ones: http://www.web3d.org/TaskGroups/vrml-ipr/open_source_overview.html
  

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Christer Alexander
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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #2 - May 27th, 2002 at 3:04pm
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I think the GNU GPL fits best....
  

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Michael
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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #3 - May 27th, 2002 at 5:06pm
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Could you tell me why you think that? Need to make an informed decision, you know. Wink

I'm actually leaning towards the LGPL (Lesser GNU Public License) or the MPL (Mozilla Public License), because they're less restrictive in terms of re-using the code in other programs. The GPL is viral, which means that if a program uses any GPL'ed code, it must be GPL'ed itself.
  

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Christer Alexander
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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #4 - May 28th, 2002 at 1:02pm
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Sorry, I meant the Lesser GPL....just didn't get about to read what "viral" meant Wink
  

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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #5 - May 29th, 2002 at 1:28pm
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I suggest GPL because of the upcomming possibility of software patents Undecided
  

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Michael
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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #6 - May 29th, 2002 at 5:00pm
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Well, I'm sure you can already get software patents, in the U.S. at least. I think. Can you give me a link to some information on what you're talking about?

The reason I'd want to choose a license that would allow the code to be integrated freely with other programs is that I just don't see any reason to restrict usage, so long as copyrights and ownership is kept intact. If someone wants to use parts of the code in a commercial program, or use a different license, why stop them?
  

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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #7 - May 29th, 2002 at 8:06pm
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Michael wrote on May 29th, 2002 at 5:00pm:
Well, I'm sure you can already get software patents, in the U.S. at least. I think. Can you give me a link to some information on what you're talking about?

The reason I'd want to choose a license that would allow the code to be integrated freely with other programs is that I just don't see any reason to restrict usage, so long as copyrights and ownership is kept intact. If someone wants to use parts of the code in a commercial program, or use a different license, why stop them?

I don't have any link, I read about it in some german computer magazine.

Allowing others to use your code is ok but what if someone takes you the right to use your own code (e.g. by patents)?
  

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Michael
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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #8 - May 29th, 2002 at 8:10pm
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They can't, because by using the code they would have to accept the terms of the license - that's the point of having a license.
  

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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #9 - Jun 2nd, 2002 at 1:19pm
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Michael wrote on May 29th, 2002 at 8:10pm:
They can't, because by using the code they would have to accept the terms of the license - that's the point of having a license.

Yeah but that's the point why I suggest GPL, you should not allow everything Wink
  

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Michael
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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #10 - Jun 2nd, 2002 at 5:25pm
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Well, the big thing the GPL does is say that any code that uses GPL'ed code MUST use the GPL also. I think that's an unnecessary limitation and I think anyone should be able to use the code any way that they like as long as they give credit where credit is due, and most of the licenses do that, I believe: require that the copyright be retained.
  

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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #11 - Jun 2nd, 2002 at 11:42pm
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Why don't you just write up your own license?
  

I'm not sure if it's ignorance or apathy, but I don't know and I don't care.
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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #12 - Jun 3rd, 2002 at 12:03am
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Don't use the exuse "It takes too long" because you have the handy copy and paste functions Grin
  

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Michael
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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #13 - Jun 3rd, 2002 at 12:36am
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Quote:
Why don't you just write up your own license?

Because I'm not a lawyer? Undecided Rather use one that's tried and true, you know? I could write one, I suppose, if I had a general idea of what was "right," but after seeing all these licenses, each written in a different way (compare the GPL vs. the MPL or the NCSA).

Actually, though, maybe something simple would work out, if it's really clear. The NCSA license looks like a good one to that effect. It's about a tenth the size of the rest. Wink Basically says the copyright must be retained and there's no warranty. I just wonder if the "without restriction" part is giving away anything important that I've overlooked?
  

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Dave Baughman
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Re: Open source license choice
Reply #14 - Jun 3rd, 2002 at 2:30am
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If you are wanting anyone to use your code freely, you don't need a bunch of stipulations. You basically need something that says "Hey, don't remove our copyright. If you incorporate parts of our code into your program, give us due credit. No, you cannot copyright this yourself. We invented it, so it's still ours."

Most of the stuff I've ever worked on never had a pre-made license. I believe YaBB has it's own, too. Easiest way to get screwed is to agree to rules you didn't make up, IMHO.
  

I'm not sure if it's ignorance or apathy, but I don't know and I don't care.
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