I'm new to Open Source, and would like to create an open source project hosted on GitHub.

The project is a library of functions written in a specific language which will be used for this language. It is like NumPy for Python, Scilab for JavaScript.

I'm choosing a license. The basic ideas are

  1. It is free to use, end-users don't need to worry about commercializing software built with my library.
  2. What I don't want to see is that developers copy parts of my code and publish their own library; at least they should mention where the code comes from.

Could anyone recommend a license (I'm especially hesitating between MIT and BSD)?

  • 2
    When you say "they should mention where the code comes from", will it suffice if they preserve your copyright notices, or do you require some more formal form of acknowledgment?
    – MadHatter
    May 7 at 13:25
  • 1
    Probably not, no, because that's not the usual form of a copyright notice. Are you saying that you specifically require them to credit the name of the original work from which they have taken your code? If so, that's unlikely to be satisfied by a free licence.
    – MadHatter
    May 7 at 13:30
  • 1
    NumPy Developers in github.com/numpy/numpy/blob/main/LICENSE.txt is part of the copyright notice; AQR Capital Management in github.com/pandas-dev/pandas/blob/main/LICENSE is part of the copyright notice, right?
    – SoftTimur
    May 7 at 13:38
  • 1
    Yes, because there the rightsholder (or at least one of them) is a legal person (a corporation). If you have such an organisation to whom you may assign your rights, you can do the same thing. It's somewhat less clear if you just use a project name when the project has no legal personhood.
    – MadHatter
    May 7 at 13:47
  • 2
    For what it's worth, the practical difference between the MIT License and (2/3) Clause BSD License is minimal; both require you to maintain the copyright notice and reproduce the license, while the 3rd clause in the 3 Clause BSD is generally held to be implicitly true anyway. If you're deciding between the two, just pick one and move on, it won't make any difference. May 7 at 15:15


Your Answer

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

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.