Sorry if anything I say is a bit stupid or out of context, I'm really new to Open Source licensing, so please don't be too mean ;)

I have wrote a software framework which I want to distribute as open source but restricting it's commercial use a bit.

First restriction is, if you're an individual developer or the usage is for an open source project use is completely free, but if usage is by a company with more than one programer then it must be licensed.

Second, anyone can modify the source code, but the modified code cannot be redistributed unless it will be upstreamed to the main project or used in an open source project.

Third, derived software cannot be another framework for the same usage (basically, you can't create a framework for the same usage, not sure if this really makes any sense, what I don't want is someone to grab our code, modify it and then redistribute it as another product).

And now, the real question, is there any license which will fit these restrictions?

I have read some licenses (MIT, Apache, GLP, LGPL and so on), but on some parts I just got lost so I'm not really sure if there's any existing license which matches these requirements.

If there is no license which matches these requirements, how should I write a license like this? or is there any place which helps to create a custom license?

1 Answer 1


Your restrictions are incompatible with open source licenses according to the open source definition, so you won't find an OSI-approved license which meets your requirements.


  • your first restriction discriminates users and/or usages, which goes against terms 5 and 6 of the definition:

    5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

    The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

    6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

    The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

  • your third restriction discriminates usages, which goes against term 6 above.

The second part of your second restriction matches strong copyleft requirements, so if we ignore the first part you're OK.

You might find it useful to look at the way iText is licensed; it has a dual license, either AGPL or commercial, so end-users can use it for free as long as they satisfy the AGPL's requirements (which are quite demanding), or purchase a license.

Whatever you do, please don't write a new license...

  • 1
    Thakns a lot! never thought it would be possible to do dual-licensing. iText license has put me on the right track, again, thankyou vey much.
    – Gusman
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 15:27
  • I would like to restate again : "Whatever you do, please don't write a new license... " Commented May 7, 2016 at 19:06

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