I don't know the definition of "commercial use" very much.

Is this commercial use when using OSS library only in develop environment? I don't use the OSS library in production environment.

  • Why do you need to know the definition of "commercial use"? – Zimm i48 Jun 26 '17 at 13:30
  • As background, I want to use the OSS library whose license is Super Source. But I have no idea whether I could use it for only develop environment. – shigemk2 Jun 26 '17 at 13:35
  • Super Source is not a license. It's the name of the library. If I believe this page npmjs.com/package/super-source it is distributed under the MIT license. Have you considered reading the license spdx.org/licenses/MIT? It's very short and straightforward. – Zimm i48 Jun 26 '17 at 13:38
  • Sorry for bothering you, but I meant super source supso.org. But thank you for your information spdx.org/licenses – shigemk2 Jun 26 '17 at 13:41
  • 3
    Oh well OK but if the library is only distributed under the Super Source license (whose text is there supso.org/licenses/super-source/license), then this is not OSS (because this license does not follow the OSD as described in @amon's answer). PS: I think you should edit your question to give way more information. – Zimm i48 Jun 26 '17 at 13:47

The Open Source Definition describes the fundamental values of open source software. One of these values is that Open Source software may be used for any purpose, including commercial usage. So it is not important for an open-source license whether you are using a library in development or in production. This is in contrast to some proprietary licenses which often do make such a distinction.

However, the details depend entirely on the exact license of the library, so please do read the license terms. If the project doesn't have a license, you have no right to use. But you may freely use code under one of the MIT, Apache, or GPL licenses for any purpose, including a production or development environment. The terms of these licenses only start kicking in if you copy the software outside of your organization.

A handful of Open Source licenses also have terms that apply during the use of the software, without making copies:

  • The BSD 3-clause license has a minor restriction regarding advertisements.
  • The Apache 2 and GPLv3 licenses prevent you from suing for patent infringement under certain circumstances.
  • The AGPL triggers not only when passing on copies of the software, but also when providing access to the running software over a network. This makes webapps more like ordinary applications from a user perspective.
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