I am writing some software for a particular operating system, OS1. Imagine this is the most awesome software ever! I want the users of OS1 to use the software as open source and restrict all others from using the software at all; so that all users migrate to OS1.

Can I frame such a license?

  • 2
    No, this is about violating the freedom 0 of free software!
    – Pandya
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 14:10
  • 2
    You can use such a license, but it won't be open source (per OSI definition) or free software (per FSF definition). Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 16:51
  • This is a very confusing problem statement. Please replace some pronouns with clearer language so that I don't have to do a logic puzzle to determine which "it" it is that "that" refers to, and vice versa.
    – Air
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 22:26
  • What do you mean by 'open source'? If you mean something that isn't in contradiction with only allowing use on OS1 then you can probably do it.
    – bdsl
    Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 21:01

2 Answers 2


Your reasoning for that would actually violate what Open Source is about. Look at this:

... The Open Source Definition specifies that Open Source licenses may not discriminate against persons or groups...

Therefore, you are not allowed to restrict access from other groups of people. If you were to use such a license, it would not be considered open source. However, you can make it solely available for OS1, you're not required to make it available on other operating systems.


Not if you want to meet any accepted definitions of open source.

In the OSI definition, clause 8 addresses this specifically:

  1. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product
    The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.

The FSF defines a set of rights that have to be met for them to consider the software free. Right 0 reads:

The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose

Restricting the use to a specific operating system violates this right.

You could frame a license with this restriction in it, but it wouldn't be open source.

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