I have a software I would like to release for free.

It will be published on the AppStore at first and at the same time, the source code will be released on GitHub for those who would like to build the software by themselves, or have concern about privacy issues.

But, I don't want to allow these people using the code to distribute/sell their own build with their own name somewhere else. It should be for a personal purpose.

As far as I know, MIT is the most suitable licence for that. But I'm a bit lost... What do you think?


Firstly, MIT is definitely the wrong licence, as it doesn't prevent people from making and selling their own closed build.

The stronger "copyleft" licences won't prevent people from making their own build either, but at least they can't close their version; they would need to redistribute under a comparably-open licence.

The problem with your question is that the right to distribute modified versions of the code is one of the four freedoms of free software, and that includes the right to sell a modified build. If you don't want to permit that, then whether or not it is zero-cost software, what you're making is not free software, and so this may not be the best place to ask for guidance.

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  • Thank you for your answer. Distributing is ok, but what if I want them to always keep my name on the software, even if it has been improved? – ZouBi Apr 7 '16 at 7:48
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    You will always be the copyright holder of the code you write (modulo issues with works-for-hire). Even with a weak copyleft licence like MIT, your copyright notices must be maintained; but since source doesn't have to stay free, it can be difficult for people to know this. With a strong copyleft licence such as GNU GPL, your copyright notices must stay in the source, and the source must stay open. Is that enough for you? – MadHatter Apr 7 '16 at 8:02
  • Perfect. I guess GNU GPL is the best choice for me. I will keep thinking about it. Thank you a lot. – ZouBi Apr 7 '16 at 8:16

Use GPLv2. it forces people to share code.

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  • This doesn't satisfy the non-commercial requirement in the question. – ArtOfCode May 23 '16 at 8:23

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