Questions tagged [software]

For questions about software in an open-source context; its uses and limitations.

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5 answers
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Is Microsoft VS code really open source?

I have been using MS VS Code since a while now and I am I really loving it. Although the other day I was having a discussion regarding editors with my mentor where he pointed to me this. It's ...
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32 votes
2 answers
16k views

MIT license and "All rights reserved."?

I recently saw something like this: Copyright (c) Some Corporation All rights reserved. MIT License ... And then the MIT license follows. Now, from what I know the MIT license is one of the most ...
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32 votes
4 answers
19k views

What does 'upstream' mean?

In some documents or blogs about development in open source projects, you can read stuff like 'upstream developer' or 'upstream fix'. What does that mean?
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29 votes
4 answers
8k views

Is it legal to have the "// (c) 2019 John Smith" header in all files when there are hundreds of contributors?

Companies use headers like // Copyright 2011 The Go Authors. But countless projects with a single maintainer have // Copyright 2011 John Smith even though they have hundreds of contributors, all ...
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  • 495
19 votes
8 answers
2k views

How to give evidence that an open-source project is reputable?

Other than having someone manually reading all of the code, how can you demonstrate an open-source project's reputability? i.e. it is not a virus/malware/whatever. I'm not concerned with the ...
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  • 191
17 votes
4 answers
847 views

Forking repos to "back up" in case they are removed?

I am wondering if forking a repo of software I use in case the owner ever decides to remove it is a silly thing to do or whether it actually makes sense. It seems like the repo could just disappear ...
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17 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why shouldn't Creative Commons licenses be used for software? [duplicate]

Suppose I was finishing up an open source software. I needed to license it under an open source license. My question: Why would I not want to license my software under a Creative Commons license? ...
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17 votes
2 answers
257 views

How can I get my program into a Linux distribution (Debian)?

Assume I have programmed a cool application and released it as open source. But not many people are using it, as most install their programs through their distribution of choice. Can I somehow add ...
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17 votes
2 answers
372 views

Is there a term that means "Free Software and/*or* Open Source (Software)"?

The term Free Software is typically associated with software licensed under an FSF-approved license (The Free Software Definition), and the term Open Source (Software) is typically associated with ...
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  • 5,310
15 votes
3 answers
44k views

Is Java (JRE) still free for commercial use?

United States here. I have a client that I would like to build a small suite of Java 8+ applications for to be installed on their office desktops and servers. This requires the Java Runtime ...
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15 votes
1 answer
1k views

How to license software that implements a well-documented algorithm, but which does not borrow source from the official library?

I have implemented an RSYNC library based on the technical report by Andrew Tridgell and Paul Mackerras. The library implementation does not borrow code from the official RSYNC library and does not ...
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  • 153
15 votes
3 answers
837 views

Does using Eclipse wizards to generate code make my software a derivative?

I am using Eclipse to code my program. After doing research on the Eclipse website I found that there was no clear answer to my question. My issue is that I need to be able to license my software ...
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14 votes
6 answers
389 views

Software licensing - Pre 1970's

From reference, page 4, The official ubuntu book, Eighth edition, As computer’s became cheaper and more numerous in the late 1970’s, producer’s of software began to see value in the software itself....
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13 votes
5 answers
2k views

Examples of companies undercutting smaller companies using FOSS? [closed]

When speaking to my friends about FOSS, a common concern comes up that if they release their code under a free and open source license, this might encourage companies to 'steal' their hard work ...
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  • 452
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

How can I detect if someone is breaking my license terms?

If this question is about what we are supposed to do if someone is breaking the terms of a software license, I would like to know how I can know if some is doing so. Suppose that I'm writing a ...
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  • 139
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is it possible to include a shorter form of a license if the license would be longer than the content licensed?

For example, Gists on GitHub don't have a field to track the license that they are available under. You can simply choose to create a public Gist or a secret (private) Gist. Many of the open source ...
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  • 1,447
11 votes
4 answers
1k views

What are the advantages of making an open source project free?

I was trying to get a program when I found out that you had to pay for it. After some time I noticed that it was also open sourced. This confused me! After a bit more digging I found that I could ...
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11 votes
4 answers
153 views

Are there any other applications of Open Source other than on software/code?

Are there any other applications of Open Source other than on software/code? I guess you could apply the same idea to any other intellectual property (creations of the mind/intellect). But are there ...
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  • 447
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

License to use for smaller GitHub repos

I frequently create programs to process my local files in some fashion. About half of them are Bash shell scripts under 100 lines, others may be longer, include multiple files, or even be in other ...
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9 votes
2 answers
263 views

On what grounds can companies bring open source projects into closed source?

There are applications that are widely used out there (just think of PHP, MySQL, etc...). What would happen if the organisations behind them pull this software back into closed source? On what ...
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  • 447
9 votes
2 answers
776 views

How do Open Source projects manage continuous delivery credentials?

If one has an open source project that is deployed somewhere in the cloud via a continuous delivery pipeline, how can the programmatic credentials needed for the CI/CD to deploy the application ...
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8 votes
4 answers
168 views

Why is open source software often shared via distributions?

Linux comes most often to your computer as a distribution. This distribution contains a lot more than only Linux: Browser, Editor, Games, Terminal, Spreadsheet and so on. But nearly all software in ...
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8 votes
1 answer
511 views

Licensing code on GitHub in a valid way

I'm currently developing something on GitHub. I would like to keep it open source; however I want to make sure in no way am I liable for any issues, and that my code cannot simply be copied and ...
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7 votes
3 answers
262 views

Can a quine be distributed as binary only and be open source?

If the author of a program that outputs its own source code (quine) makes it open source, can others just distribute it as binaries? Does it matter which popular open source license he used, say GPL ...
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7 votes
1 answer
718 views

How do I document licenses of code snippets on a web page with a CC BY 4.0 license?

I have a non-trivial amount of text, image, audio, and video content that I'm licensing as Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). I chose this license because it allows people to ...
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7 votes
2 answers
404 views

Creative Commons ShareAlike, weak or strong copyleft?

I am wondering whether Creative Commons ShareAlike is a weak or strong copyleft license. That is, does it allow linking with code with under a different license?
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  • 173
6 votes
5 answers
167 views

What is the benefit to using open source alternatives?

When downloading software I often see open source alternatives. Many of these look quite similar but never quite the same. I continue to buy the paid version. Recently, I started to wonder if the open ...
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6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Can a company license frontend software developed with open source frameworks?

Can a company license frontend components developed using open source javascript(JS) frameworks(e.g. Vue, React or Next JS) that are downloaded and accessible anytime a user accesses the site that ...
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  • 163
6 votes
1 answer
468 views

AGPL library usage for an internal software

I am working in the healthcare reimbursement ("mutuelle") in belgium and I wrote a network application that use an AGPL package. So, this application will be just used internally to provide ...
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6 votes
1 answer
327 views

How can I use programming documentation without infringing copyright?

I have a really hard time understanding how can I use copyrighted programming documentation, tutorials, articles, blogs, etc. presented as text or video, without infringing copyright? I will explain ...
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  • 183
5 votes
2 answers
360 views

Copyright holder in R packages

I am developing an R package and distribute it under the GPL-2 license by submitting it to CRAN. According to CRAN's Writing R extensions, i am the author and maintainer of the source code. The R ...
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5 votes
4 answers
394 views

What are the good reasons for my company to offer open source code?

I've been thinking for some time now for my company to share code publicly that we use in our projects. Code that is not related to any particular business case, but is useful and often copied from a ...
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5 votes
1 answer
419 views

Is installing an old free version legal, if the new version is not free anymore?

Is it legal to install an old version of a software that was free but not anymore? Version 1 was free, I use it for a year. Version 2 is not free anymore. Can I install (into a new environment) the ...
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  • 161
5 votes
1 answer
451 views

Moving project from AGPL to Apache v2 / MIT license

The question in a nutshell Hi! Together with a team of brilliant engineers we've been building a software project (http://luna-lang.org) for the last two years and now we want to release everything ...
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5 votes
1 answer
139 views

How can you guarantee someone that your open sourced code is what's being used in production?

Let's say you have an app that prides itself on open source technologies and the full codebase of your app being open source is what attracts users. How can you guarantee your users that your open ...
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  • 153
5 votes
1 answer
49 views

What are the benefits of having an open sourced software?

The software I am developing has been closed source. Recently my friend suggested that I make it open sourced. This is why I would like to know: What benefits do I have to making my software open ...
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5 votes
3 answers
260 views

Would this scenario be considered "propagation without conveying" according to the GPLv3 terminology?

I have a fancy software "foo" that may be considered the derivative work of a GPLv3 library. "foo" is GPLv3 itself. Example 1: I install the foo binary on my company's laptop, go to a customer's ...
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5 votes
1 answer
83 views

Open sourcing software that I do not own IP to

I have written some software based on publicly available research papers that other people have written. I know that the authors of the research papers have filed for patent for their work. I do not ...
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  • 51
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Distribute virtual machine image with gpl code

I have developed a C++ tool and I am the full copyright owner of the code. However the tool is dynamically linked to a gpl library. The whole source code of the tool is hosted on a virtual machine. In ...
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  • 161
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Open Source projects with encryption keys

I currently have a project which I'm planning in the not too distant future to open source on GitHub. The question I have is regarding how open source projects are released if they have encryption ...
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  • 171
4 votes
2 answers
508 views

Question on license for piece of U.S. Federal Government produced software

The license attached to the script/software reads as follows: “Software code created by U.S. Government employees is not subject to copyright in the United States(17 U.S.C. §105). The United States/...
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4 votes
1 answer
120 views

What does it mean to say two licenses are compatible?

If license A is compatible with license B, does it mean that one can combine code from those two and should be able to release combination under license B? or Is it just symmetric like 'A is ...
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4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Software: If I bundle built (compiled) GPL 2 licensed software with commercial software package how does it affect my software license?

If I bundle a piece of compiled software (in this case, FFMPEG) which is licensed under GPL 2, with my own commercial software (which is not licensed under any form of open source license), does it ...
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4 votes
1 answer
205 views

What is the meaning of "internal use" in the GPL 3?

I want to develop a specific module from a GPL 3 software in a partnership with a third company to share the costs. Can we each use it for our companies (meaning internal use) without having to ...
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  • 43
4 votes
2 answers
182 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 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
214 views

An open file format initially created to tie users to a closed program. Would using it over other open formats help the open source community more?

Take the DOCX vs. ODT format for example. They are both open source and assumably have no clear advantage over each other, but DOCX was created to compete with ODT, which had been existed many years ...
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  • 169
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Are there any open source Software as a Service projects?

According to this page Cloud software is slightly different than conventional software. As a general rule, you don't get access to the source code, even if the hosted software is built entirely on ...
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  • 6,705
4 votes
1 answer
239 views

Apache 2.0 Licence

When a product includes a firmware written by my company, and this firmware makes use of an open source product, licenced under Apache 2.0 license, and this product is finally to be sold on a broad ...
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4 votes
1 answer
44 views

What costs are involved in an open sourced project compared to a non open sourced project? [closed]

Often if employing a team to program a project you would need to pay: the programmers, office space, etc. My question: In open source projects is it common for the programmers to be volunteers? Are ...
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4 votes
1 answer
138 views

Rebranding existing library under MIT

I bit of background: When I was working in my previous company I came up with an idea to extract all some generic functionality from the different projects and create open source library (MIT) from ...
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