Questions tagged [license]

This tag is used for concerns about licenses to software and what rights one grants.

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180
votes
3answers
93k views

What are the essential differences between the BSD and MIT licences?

There are many articles out there which cover the topic in length and breadth, but so far I haven't found a nice, concise answer to the question. What are the most important differences between the ...
33
votes
2answers
7k views

Is the term 'open source' a trademark?

A few months ago, MongoDB introduced a new license called SSPL following some conflicts with AWS. Later they presented this license to the Open Source Initiative (OSI) for approval for it to be called ...
26
votes
4answers
5k views

Can an NDA block GPL freedom number 4?

Let's say a company modifies a GPLv3 software. All it's employees can use the modified software and have access to the modified source code. The company's employees don't have the right to distribute ...
24
votes
2answers
4k views

Is the TeX typesetting system free and open source?

I recently opened the source code for the widely-used TeX typesetting system, and was surprised by the restrictive license I found: This program is copyright (C) 1982 by D. E. Knuth; all rights are ...
23
votes
3answers
8k views

Can I ignore an open source license if I checkout a version that was released prior to the code having any license?

There's a package on Github that was released fully without any license and it stayed this way for close to a year. Then just recently after no updates since the initial commit, a License was added. ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it possible that a future GPL version removes copyleft? [duplicate]

Let's imagine that for a reason the FSF publishes a new version of the GPL (v4) that would basically be a BSD license. What would that entail for the code licensed under GPL v2 or v3 ? I refer to the ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

Which licenses give me a guarantee that a software I'm installing is completely open-source, free of closed-source dependencies or components?

I have a question about free vs open source software that's more about practical implications from the user's perspective. I'll explain the mindset first before the actual question, so you can ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Trying to understand an old custom license

I found this code that I want to use: https://github.com/ObjectivitySRC/PVGPlugins/blob/master/NonBSDPlugins/DataMineReader/dmfile.h The license is on top and states: If you do use this code please ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Does a copyright notice in a file header affect the licensing?

I'm a little confused about the licensing. In the LICENSE file it says that the repository is under MIT license. But in the header of some js files there is a copyright notice with apache-2.0. Does ...
10
votes
7answers
7k views

Is my software still "free" if I charge for its commercial use and not for non-commercial use?

"If you plan to use [some software] on a commercial basis, you must separately purchase a commercial-use license" [1] Assuming the commercial-use and non-commercial use licenses for my software both ...
10
votes
3answers
5k views

Can I disregard GPL just because I use autoconf?

I found the following text in licenses to some software I am considering to use: As a special exception to the GNU General Public License, if you # distribute this file as part of a program that ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Should I use my own license in a fork of another GitHub repository, which I've revamped completely?

Background I am the owner of an open-source theme for Hugo named hugo-dream-plus which, as the name implies, is an upgraded version of hugo-theme-dream. Note that hugo-theme-dream is licensed ...
7
votes
4answers
483 views

LGPL obligations implementation in beta versions

As far as I know, LGPL mandates that the respective licenses are featured in file and in app visual representation. The former is a simple distribution matter, but the latter is a gui feature. Assume ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Which licence(s) is Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) using?

I found Automotive Grade Linux , which is an open-source project based on Linux for automotive applications. This (German) news article says that you have to pay money to be a member of AGL. However, ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Is ONLYOFFICE restricting our freedom with their FAQ? (AGPL v3)

or am I seeing this wrong? After some digging (It's NOT easy to find on their site), I found the community version ("Open Source" version) of ONLYOFFICE. However, after reading their FAQ, it seems ...
6
votes
1answer
68 views

What is the OpenChain project?

Many MNCs like Facebook, Uber, Google and now Microsoft have joined the OpenChain Project, but what's it all about? I think it has something to do with FOSS licenses, but based on the material on ...
5
votes
3answers
450 views

How to license scientific software to be open while protecting against misuse?

Note: This question is a revision of an earlier question, which MadHatter suggested should be revised into a new more specific question. Note that there is a lot of similarity between the questions; ...
5
votes
1answer
183 views

Do I need a longer license than this for a small program?

I have 2 small C programs (each is the inverse of the other) and a common header, <500 lines of code total, and it seems a waste to include a whole license file, so I've just written this comment ...
5
votes
2answers
282 views

Are there any hybrid open-source/proprietary software licenses and business models?

Does licensing and ownership of software and intellectual property work on a spectrum of extremes and in-between nuances, or is it an "either this or that" decision? Let me give concrete examples ...
5
votes
1answer
187 views

Can someone else patent an invention that I have introduced in my open source project?

Is open source protected in any way if I haven't filed for a patent myself? Maybe a specific license? Any examples of open source projects that introduced 'inventions' that could be patented (but they ...
5
votes
1answer
223 views

Java SDK 8 vs. OpenJDK 8 licenses for freelance development

So I'm new to both freelance development and software licensing. However, I still managed to convince a company to let me develop a small piece of software for them (woohoo!). The company runs JRE 8 ...
4
votes
1answer
99 views

Can I use an alternative license on GitHub that is not listed there?

Can I use an alternative license on GitHub that isn't listed? Specifically I want to use License Zero.
4
votes
1answer
451 views

If I use a lot of libraries with the exact same license, can I condense the required attributions and notices?

I'm developing a project that happens to use a lot of open-source third-party libraries by different authors. Most of these libraries use the same license (mostly MIT, with the occasional Apache or ...
4
votes
1answer
73 views

Are downloaded data automatically licensed?

If a purely Apache v2 licensed software automatically downloads data files from its copyright holder's website without asking the user, does that automatically grant Apache v2 license to the ...
4
votes
1answer
369 views

3-clause BSD or MIT license for software that imports numpy and matplotlib?

I wrote a Python script (a .py file) that I'd like to publish and license correctly. My script imports numpy (3-clause BSD) matplotlib.pyplot (Matplotlib license [BSD-compatible]) os and argparse (...
4
votes
1answer
124 views

How to sub-license a modified MIT licensed project as a copyright?

I searched for this question over the internet but with no success. I got a MIT licensed python library and did my modifications to fit my necessities. I want this new version to be a copyright with ...
4
votes
1answer
502 views

How to label and license Derivative Works made under Apache License, Version 2.0?

I duplicated a source-code file released under the Apache License, Version 2.0, made very few changes to adapt the code to slightly different situation. So this would seem to be a Derivative Works as ...
4
votes
1answer
624 views

Licenses for scientific software

Edit: This question has been revised into a more specific question here that does not muddy the waters by bringing up the difficulties of supporting scientific software financially. Please see the ...
4
votes
2answers
155 views

The specifics of licensing public domain code within project under GNU GPLv3+

I'm developing a project which I'm about to release under the GNU GPL 3+ license. It does, however, contain a number of public domain subroutines. Question: How do I go about placing a GPL license ...
4
votes
1answer
214 views

In Dojo Toolkit before 1.14, there is unescaped string injection in dojox/Grid/DataGrid.: CVE-2018-15494

We use an older verion of dojo in our product and our upgrade to newer version needs lot of overhauling of the product code - which is not possible at this wee hour. But we need to get rid of this ...
4
votes
2answers
882 views

Can I use a GPLv3 JavaScript library on a website I'm developing for a client?

I was intending on using a GPLv3 licensed JavaScript library on a website I'm developing for a client. This library would be part of the theme. Will this necessarily make the entire them GPLv3 so my ...
4
votes
2answers
90 views

How does GNU GPL work in a fullstack Android project?

What is the compatibility in terms of license with an API? For example: GPL license from the client side and PHP license from the server side, is it possible? Can the Android application contain ...
3
votes
1answer
388 views

Can we use excel4node for commercial

Now I am using excel4node in my product. excel4node is using jszip which using openent. excel4node is under MIT license, jszip under both MIT and GPl license, but openent is GPL licence. So can I use ...
3
votes
1answer
624 views

License to disallow distribution in closed source software, but allow exceptions made by owner?

Is there a license (similar to the GNU v3 software license) that forbids the usage of an open-source software in closed-source software, but except parties that receive approval by the original owner (...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

What does the ICU License state about third party rights?

The license link. Can someone elaborate "NONINFRINGEMENT OF THIRD PARTY RIGHTS"? What is being implied here? It's confusing to me. I will choose the answer with most votes.
3
votes
1answer
130 views

Distribute binaries of GNU GPL licensed project without source as copyright holder

I don't quite understand what I, the copyright holder of a project, am permitted to do according to the license I have given my project. I want the source code for most versions of the project to be ...
3
votes
2answers
410 views

Is GPL copyleft triggered by distribution alone?

Would distributing a commercial closed source application along with a GPLd standalone binary, which the closed source application calls trigger the requirement to license whole app under GPL? (For ...
3
votes
1answer
42 views

Am I licensing this code correctly?

I am using icons from here for my web project. This is the file I used for one of the icons: <!-- This file was licenced under the following license: MIT License Copyright (c) 2020 Paweł Kuna ...
3
votes
3answers
180 views

Releasing the source code of a premium feature for another open program

If I use a compiled program/non compiled source code which is under a license that everyone has the rights do use and sell (Eg: GPL) and no one can deny any person to use or sell it and then I want to ...
3
votes
1answer
109 views

Restrict commercial use to protect users

I have a piece of software that could potentially be modified to provide revenue, but it is not going to be clear where the revenue goes - I want to add a license condition that ensures all users of ...
3
votes
1answer
217 views

Can I remove the Modernizr credit from the top of my .js file?

I am working on a project that uses Modernizr, which uses the MIT license. I have a modernizr-custom.js file containing code downloaded from their website and this at the top: /*! modernizr 3.6.0 (...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

What year to use copyright - current year or library build year?

When attributing open source software, do you always default to the current year or the year that the library you are using was built? For example, I'm using MIT licensed software from a build in ...
3
votes
2answers
77 views

What is the appropriate license that I should pick for my software?

We are making use of the following tools in our software, and not modified any of these tools. Tools 1-3 are used directly in my software. Tool 4 is used for reference, but included as part of our ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

How do I pick the best suited license for my software?

I own a new software development company, and I developed some software that I want to sell in the future, but for now, I want to give it out free but still want my company accredited in some type of ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

Licensing a library under the MPL

The Mozilla Public License 2.0 is a license that specifically allows you to include source code licensed under it, in any program without restrictions, provided users are given a copy of the MPL-...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

MIT license change own name as copyright holder

If I am the copyright holder of a project licensed under the MIT license, can I change the name in the copyright notice? For example after a name change or changing to/from a pseudonym. Note that (...
3
votes
1answer
54 views

Does the use of GCC small macros and linker variables make my work GPL?

when using AVR or ARM toolchains for Atmel microcontrollers, is using GCC macros such as __AVR_...__ or linker variables making my code GPL? I know GCC is covered by "GPL 3.0" + "GCC ...
3
votes
1answer
170 views

Adding GPL classpath exception to program

GCC has a special exception that doesn't force you to use GPL for programs compiled with GCC. If I for example had program foo, how can I apply the classpath/GCC/linking exception to it as well? Do I ...
3
votes
1answer
35 views

New Bioconductor package function redistribution

I am creating a new package that I would like to submit to Bioconductor. It's essentially a C code, which is called by R (using Rcpp). One of the C functions within my package, is the C code of the R ...
3
votes
2answers
78 views

Change of version of Dependency: Does it constitute a Derivative Work?

We are building a product with 100s of OSS dependencies. We want to fully comply with the OSS license terms. Let's assume our product has a direct dependency "DDep_v1" under MPL-2.0 license, ...