My goals for the open-source license is credit for contributions like I get credit for the code I write and I would like if a person shows me a concept of how to do something and I implement it I want him to get credit for showing me how I could do something, but he never showed any code, so the code I wrote for it is mine, but the idea/concept was his.

I would also like something where "I give you source code you give me your changes back." (quote from Linus Torvalds https://youtu.be/PaKIZ7gJlRU?t=24 24-45) I was thinking GNU General Public License v2.0 would satisfy these needs but would like more opinions on if this is the right choice.

The code will be written in a game called Garry's mod using the steam workshop add-on called wire mod. Within the add-on is an Expression 2 toll which is where the code is run and can be saved within the game to a txt file which later can be opened or copied from to rerun/run the code. I believe the add-on source code is available on GitHub under Apache 2.0.

  • what I meant about a person showing me an idea. I kinda wanted to know if I can in some form give credit for the person that showed me a working design in-game and I then transformed their none code design into that same design but I wrote it as much as I could using code written by me. also, I believe GPL 3 is more restrictive than 2 which is why I was thinking about using GPL 2
    – Matthew
    Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 18:04
  • 1
    It's your code, so you can give credit to anyone you like, however you like. I'm sorry if I haven't made that clear up until now.
    – MadHatter
    Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 5:49

1 Answer 1


I think the GPL will do most of what you ask, though see the two exceptions below. The latest version is GPLv3, so unless you have a specific reason for wanting to use GPLv2, it may be better to stay current.

You desire that someone who shows you an idea, let's call her Alice, should be entitled to a credit. There are problems with embedding that requirement in a copyright licence. Firstly, if the rest of the code is yours, the licence doesn't bind you, so even if you were to write such a licence it wouldn't force you to credit Alice. Secondly, ideas aren't copyrightable, only the expression of them, which you have stipulated that Alice didn't provide. However, it's your code base, so nothing stops you from giving Alice a copyright interest in it. If Alice had given or shown you her ideas in code, and you had then used them in the same or a derivative form, that would give her a copyright interest in the resulting work as a matter of right, and you would need do nothing to further that as long as you and she live in Berne convention signatory countries (which is nearly all of them).

Also, you desire that anyone who makes changes should be required to give them back to you. That is not what the GPL requires; it says that anyone distributing a modified version in binary form must also give the full source code, under GPL, to the recipient(s) of the binary. It is assumed that from there, those contributions will make their way back to the community, and in practice it's generally so; but that's not exactly what you ask for. We discuss elsewhere the idea of forcing modifications to be contributed back to the original author, and it is generally thought of as being a non-free requirement. So you can do this, if you want, but your software will not be usable by substantial sections of the free-software community.

  • Thanks for helping I have decided to go with gpl 2 cause gpl 3 seems more restrictive. (Can't make this a comment cause of reputation)
    – Matthew
    Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 17:55
  • @Matthew you're welcome. If that means you're happy with this answer, please accept it.
    – MadHatter
    Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 19:54
  • I just accepted it I had to merge accounts from my guest to actual which is why I did not accept it sooner.
    – Matthew
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 0:44
  • Thanks. That will also have been the problem with your ability to comment - you should always be able to comment on your own question, for exactly this reason.
    – MadHatter
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 5:22

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