What open source license should I use on a project that I wanted to limit to personal and home use but if it is being distributed as a commercial product you have to pay to get permission and license from the author?

  • 8
    That would not be an Open Source license. Open Source software must not discriminate against fields of endeavour. Similarly: “Free software” does not mean “noncommercial”. – amon May 10 at 16:57
  • How about doing something like a community edition then another for a paid enterprise edition. What licenses should I use for those two mentioned? – sudo May 10 at 17:02
  • Questions about choosing a non-open source license are off topic for this site. – Philip Kendall May 10 at 17:32
  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because it is not about open source – planetmaker May 10 at 17:51
  • 1
    @Akangka indeed, but the correct way to say that it to close it as off-topic, not write an answer explaining that it is off-topic. – MadHatter May 11 at 6:15

There are no open-source licenses that have such a "no commercial use" restriction, as such restrictions are limitations on the freedoms that open-source wants to give.

A fairly common business model is to dual-license your project with a copyleft license (like the GPL or AGPL) and a closed-source proprietary license. Someone producing a commercial product is allowed to use the open-source version, but the copyleft provisions of the license would require them to publish the commercial product under the same license terms (including the right for competitors to resell copies of the software for a lower price) and many producers of commercial products are happy to pay for a license without that requirement.

| improve this answer | |
  • The first sentence is not exactly true. You mix open source and free software. "Open source" means just that - the user gets the source. It is the free software that doesn't restrict a broad field of uses. One can have a pretty much restrictive commercial license that still transfers the source to the user. – fraxinus May 11 at 6:23
  • @fraxinus, the term Open Source is defined by the OSI (opensource.org/osd) and is nearly equivalent to the definition of Free Software from FSF. If the user just gets access to the source code without the required freedoms, that is commonly referred to as "source available". – Bart van Ingen Schenau May 11 at 6:33
  • Mea culpa. Sorry. – fraxinus May 11 at 6:44

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