0

If I (or a company where I work) use a source code part from an open source project licensed under a permissive license like MIT or Apache 2.0 it is clear I can modify, edit etc it.

  • What is not clear for me, is it mandatory to have the resulting product also under a permissive open source license?

  • If it is not mandatory, how it differs from "do whatever you want", I mean except, the expectation to show the original license when distributing?

  • Say the company does not distribute it at all, just uses it in modified form as a part internal commercial production process, say banking industry?

3
  • By "do whatever you want" do you mean the WTFPL, or do you mean general communications via e-mail, telephone, forums, etc. such as "hey, here's some code, do whatever you want with it, man"?
    – Brandin
    Aug 24 at 13:02
  • Do not clearly see the difference Do whatever you want in human terms Aug 25 at 7:23
  • Well it is not clear to me what you mean by "do whatever you want." Suppose what I want is to use your code to make a product and sell it, but as the author of the code, suppose that's not what you had in mind when you said 'do what you want.' That's the whole point of the license; to clarify such a question.
    – Brandin
    Aug 25 at 13:47
5

What is not clear for me, is it mandatory to have the resulting product also under a permissive open source license?

No, this resembles a copyleft license (in contrast to a permissive license) which allows redistribution of derivatives only under the same license.

If it is not mandatory, how it differs from "do whatever you want", I mean except, the expectation to show the original license when distributing?

It largely does not differ (except in the ways you've identified). That's why it's called a permissive license: it broadly permits things. A permissive license that does not even require attribution or preservation of the license text is sometimes informally called an "ultra-permissive" license (e.g., the WTFPL).

Say the company does not distribute it at all, just uses it in modified form as a part internal commercial production process, say banking industry?

Yes, virtually all free and open source (FLOSS) licenses allow this with no obligations; permissive licenses allow this.

This is outside the scope of your question about permissive licenses, but two notable exceptions to the above rule are the Affero GPL (AGPL) and the Cryptographic Autonomy License (CAL) which place certain obligations to network users. (The AGPL, for example, requires that if you modify the work, you must make the modified source available to each person who interacts with the software over a network.) The AGPL and CAL do not belong to the category of permissive license, and could probably be called the FLOSS licenses with the most substantial requirements.

3

What is not clear for me, is it mandatory to have the resulting product also under a permissive open source license?

Generally, no. You are required to distribute the licence text, but there is no requirement comparable to eg GPLv3's s5c, "You must license the entire work, as a whole, under this License to anyone who comes into possession of a copy". However, you may not free your downstream recipients from the permissive licence's obligations, and the easiest way to do this is to redistribute under the same licence, or a less-permissive one.

If it is not mandatory, how it differs from "do whatever you want", I mean except, the expectation to show the original license when distributing?

You must also generally preserve copyright notices, and Apache2 has some additional text about not enforcing your patents against licensees. But apart from that, you pretty much can do what you want: hence permissive licences.

Say the company do not distribute it at all, just uses it in modified form as a part internal commercial production process, say banking industry?

Most permissive licences don't distinguish between your obligations on modification, and your obligations on redistribution, so not distributing makes little difference.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.