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A open software license generally outlines what conditions that a fellow software developer must follow in respect to the original project, be it someone who is plain out of the blue looking at it, and debating whether to do something to it, or whether it is a full-out fork or derivative. Basically, they just dictate what you can do. For example, the WTFPL makes absolutely clear it's single clause:

0. You just DO WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT TO.

However, many projects that are distributed to the general public are normally accompanied with the End User License Agreement, or EULA. According to Avangate: (emphasis mine)

The EULA (End User License Agreement) is, as its name shows it, a contract between the software developer and a potential user. By means of this contract it is established that the developer of the software is its de facto owner, and that a copy of the respective software bought from a vendor (or downloaded from the Internet) only licenses it to a user...

The end user is only allowed to use it as long as certain terms are respected, and is also prohibited from any alterations or uses of the software without the specific consent of its rightful owner, the software company/developer.

Does another developer count as a potential user? To me, it looks like yes: They are using the software, just in a different way from someone within the general public: they are using the code, but not necessarily the intended functionality, but they are still "using" it.

Aside from what a "potential user" is really defined as, it sounds like an End User License Agreement is a license. If the developers behind a fork/derivative are "users" of the original project, could they be subject to the terms and conditions of the End User License Agreement? Is an EULA the same thing as a license? Where is it ever appropriate to use an EULA in a project?

  • Why would a FLOSS project want or need a EULA? What would it say? – curiousdannii Jul 31 '15 at 23:31
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You say that "many projects that are distributed to the general public are normally accompanied with the End User License Agreement, or EULA". However, but AFAIK, none of these are free software projects, so such projects are not on-topic on this site.

But if you did add an EULA to a project that already had a free software license, this would simply be dual-licensing.

Dual-licensing means that users can choose which license they want. If the EULA imposes less freedom than the free software license, users would just choose the free software license and ignore the EULA.

So if the free software license is a real free software license, written by lawyers so make sure that additional notices that project owners may add can not take away from the user the four essential freedoms, dual-licensing with an EULA is both harmless and meaningless. Users can simply choose to ignore the EULA.

Does another developer count as a potential user?

Strike out "potential". A developer is a user.

If the developers behind a fork/derivative are "users" of the original project, could they be subject to the terms and conditions of the End User License Agreement?

No.

Let me qualify that a bit:

  • If the original project came with a real free software license such as GPL (any version), the developers behind a fork could choose GPL, and then delete the "EULA" from their fork and ignore whatever it said.

  • If the original project came with a "crayon" license (such as the WTFL), the legal consequences of also having an EULA in the project would be legal hazard if you created a fork. If somebody decided to sue for violating the EULA, you may lose. Despite claims about being "absolutely clear", it is obvious that this particular license is written by bozos, not lawyers. For instance, it doesn't say how to interpret any additional licenses that comes with the project. And since there is no real guidance about what takes precedence if the terms of the WTFL and the EULA is inconsistent, the legal outcome of a dispute about would uncertain.

Is an EULA the same thing as a license?

It is "End User License Agreement", so the answer is clearly "yes".

Where is it ever appropriate to use an EULA in a project?

If your goal is to to appear as a clueless moron that know nothing about free software licensing, then adding an EULA to a free software project is a good start.

If you also want to make sure your users are confused about what your licensing terms really means, then using WTFL + EULA dual-licensing would be appropriate.

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