I'm creating set of open-source boilerplates and, possibly, other instances of code. What kind of license should i use if I need these conditions to be applied:

  • code can be used at no cost for open source only
  • if anyone want to use it for commercial needs, he must contact owner and buy license or some kind of permission from my company.

This repos will be modified by multiple people, mostly my employees. So, wast majority of the code will be written using money that I'm paying to developers. The rest will be modified by people who I yet intend to hire (as a test task).

  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because non-commercial-use-only licences are well-understood to be non-free.
    – MadHatter
    Oct 8 '17 at 5:30
  • 4
    I fail to understand why this question is being poorly received. It's not a bad question when measuring it in terms of post quality: it is readable and understandable. Just because the question is based on a misunderstanding or false premise doesn't make it a bad question; I view it as an opportunity to learn, which is the precise purpose of Q&A. As for the close votes, we've already established that questions that seek an open source license are on-topic so long as they demonstrate good faith in open source, even if their criteria render it impossible.
    – Zizouz212
    Oct 8 '17 at 19:26
  • 2
    @Ziz I would say the opposite, that we have actually closed many questions for exactly this reason. I see no reason to change that now. If you disagree, where do you see an attempt by this OP to demonstrate a good faith attempt at understanding open source? Oct 9 '17 at 5:20
  • 2
    In this context, "open source" appears to mean that you want to distribute software in source code form, but to place license restrictions on its use. To avoid confusion, don't use the term "open source" for this; just say "I want to distribute my software in source code form, and allow it to be used free-of-charge for non-commercial use only."
    – Brandin
    Oct 11 '17 at 7:06
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because non-commercial-use-only licenses are well-understood to be non-free.
    – Mureinik
    Dec 16 '17 at 4:02

Disallowing commercial use is a restriction that open-source licenses are not allowed to have. Any license that doesn't allow you to use the software for commercial purposes is not considered to be an open-source license by both the FSF and OSI, which are the two organizations that essentially define what the term "open source" means.

The common route in such cases is to provide a "community edition" under a (strong) copyleft license, like GPL, and the "commercial edition" under a non-free paid license.
The idea here is that companies that want to make money from using your boilerplates don't want to distribute their own code under an open-source license (because that would allow a competitor to buy a copy and re-distribute that for free), and copyleft licenses do have that condition in them.

  • 1
    "Disallowing commercial use [is not allowed]" - says who?
    – Brandin
    Oct 11 '17 at 7:14
  • 1
    In the determination if a license is an open-source license, both FSF and OSI state that if a license restricts who can use the software or for what purposes the software can be used, then the license is not an open-source license. Oct 11 '17 at 7:24
  • 4
    OK, then include that in the answer. It's not obvious for someone coming here to learn. "Open source" may just be assumed to mean "you can read the source code."
    – Brandin
    Oct 11 '17 at 7:27
  • @Brandin that whole "fields of endeavor" thing - See the Open Source Definition at opensource.org/osd
    – ivanivan
    Dec 19 '17 at 19:45

Your Answer

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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.