70

You've noticed that if a piece of software is "free as in speech," it will probably become "free as in beer" too. That's completely true. The important thing, however, is that the converse is not true. If a piece of software is "free as in beer," it will not automatically become "free as in speech." There are a lot of ...


58

The GPL, and software licensing in general, must be understood in the wider context of copyright. Only the copyright holder of a software can issue a license. You have no rights to the software, except through the license (and except for copyright exceptions in your jurisdiction). The GPL does not give you the right to re-publish the software under any ...


54

No free/open-source license may disallow commercial use. The whole purpose of the Free and Open movements is an altruistic one: if you're making your project free and open, you're gifting it to the public at large, under certain terms (which often boil down to "attribute it back to me"). See the Open Source Definition for some explanation of what these ...


39

Software licensed with any GNU license can be used and even modified everywhere, including in a corporate environment, without any restrictions. However be aware that if you (or the company) ever make changes to the software and want to distribute it, it must be distributed with full source code, on the same license terms as the original software. Also if ...


34

Some years ago, before ubiquitous access to the Internet, you could sometimes make money on free software by selling it on a professionally produced CD-ROM. People would pay for having a verified version of the software delivered to them directly from by the primary source, (the company that authored the software), instead of shopping around for a cheaper ...


26

Nothing prevents charging for open source software. In fact, if a license forbids charging for the software, it is not free/open-source, because it violates the freedom to distribute. Charging for open source software may seem pointless, because once the author has sold it to someone, they can't prevent the buyer from making as many copies as they like and ...


25

Of course free software can be used and even modified without restrictions in a corporate or for-profit environment! (Edit: Re-distribution of modified free software requires that you make the source of your modifications available - which some insists is a "restriction". Without going into that debate, please see the GNU GPL FAQ on internal distribution. ...


21

Commercial support is support offered on a business basis, to meet business needs. Commercial support is not compulsory, and indeed many (I'd say most) open source projects do not advertise this. On the other hand, if the writer of the software (or skilled contributors) would like to make money doing what they are great at, and people want to pay them, ...


18

The Open Source Initiative considers the GNU GPL and LGPL to be approved licenses, which means that they meet their Open Source Definition. Criteria for qualifying as Open Source licenses include "No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups" and "No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor". From a legal point of view, software covered by any of the many ...


14

The Creative Commons organization has a page on Legal Music For Videos which states (emphasis mine): Under CC licenses, synching the music to images amounts to transforming the music, so you can’t legally use a song under a CC No Derivative Works license in your video. This corresponds to the "synchronization" provision in section 1(a) of CC-BY-SA 3.0 (...


14

What you are looking for is, I think, the common practice of selling exceptions. When an organization or a company is the sole copyright owner of a software, or have a permission to do so from all copyright owners, they may offer simultaneously the software under a free copyleft license (such as GNU GPL) and under a more permissive proprietary license. In ...


14

The natural interpretation of such a license declaration is that they are dual licensing their work: You can use and distribute it under the terms of the GPL3, which because it is a copyleft license means that your derivative work must also be licensed under the GPL3, so you must make your source code available etc. Or, you can buy a commercial license ...


14

There are no open-source licenses that forbid selling copies of the software, because that kind of restriction is not allowed in a license that is recognized as an open-source license by the community/FSF/OSI. However, there are open-source licenses that make the business model of selling copies of the software very unattractive. These licenses are strong ...


14

Copyright does not allow for that. You need to wait 70 years after the copyright holders' deaths to do this. In that respect it is no different from a closed source license: If you want to change the license, you need permission. Back around 2000 Larry Lessig had a lecture where he explained there are may works, where we cannot contact the author (https://en....


14

This is why most Open Source vendors sell service plans rather than software. Yes, the nature of Open Source licenses would allow anyone to download and install the software for free, and to in turn give free copies of the software to other people. As a result, most Open Source vendors don't sell the software itself - they sell service plans. You can install ...


13

As has been said by everyone, there is no issue with a business using GPL licensed software within its organization. It happens all the time. I have noticed that many of the answers and comments have raised a concern over distributing the software within the corporation, and its subsidiaries, etc. For example, in this answer, Tomasz states: However be ...


13

Yes, to people to whom you have distributed the binary. No, they can also get it from someone else who has a (presumably paid-for) binary, and lawfully use that copy. Because GPLv2 s3 says "You may copy and distribute the Program ... in object code or executable form" someone who gets the software from you has the right to copy it for their friends, and ...


13

Yes you can (but with big caveats) There are several licences that disallow commercial use of the software (or other intellectual property). Most notably CC BY-NC 3.0 but please keep in mind that it's generally not recommended to use CC BY-NC 3.0 licence for software (you still can!). There are several problems associated with this kind of licensing though ...


12

This interpretation is correct. The share-alike clause in other licenses is only relevant to contributions made by others than the original licensor. In fact, the CC-BY-NC 4.0 license does not grant you the right to sub-license the original work at all, as shown in section 2(a)(1) (emphasis mine): Subject to the terms and conditions of this Public ...


12

To specifically answer the question of what the point of making allowances for people selling free software is, as why anyone would ever want to sell free software; consider, say, a TV. The manufacturers want a whole load of shiny features that connect to the internet, etc., so they decide to base the software on a fully-featured free operating system, along ...


12

First of all, by acquiring Ansible they not only get the copyright for the software, but most importantly the workforce - the developers who developed the tool. That is much more important than the software in question. So they can in future control the direction the software takes and also use these developers in other projects if needed or useful. Also as ...


12

What freedoms you provide to a recipient of a piece of software is orthogonal to what price you charge to transfer a copy of that software to someone. The FSF's position on selling free software is: Actually, we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. If a license does not permit users to make copies and ...


12

MongoDB requires contributors to sign a contributor agreement where they have to waive all rights so that MongoDB can license the code subsequently under whatever license they see fit. That includes non-free licenses which allows them to sell proprietary extensions which would otherwise be in violation of the GPL, if they had to abide by it.


11

BSD-3 clause is a very permissive license that does not require you disclosing your source code or the source code of the open source libraries. You are not required to allow your users to re-distribute the binaries either. You are required to display any copyright statements from the BSD licensed libraries, and you are required to display the BSD license ...


11

There is uncertainty about whether or not dynamic linking makes a derivative work and thus engages the GPL (pro, con). But reading the python module's README, it seems to me that the developers have already thought carefully about this. Although pdf2image does use poppler, it only uses two commands, which it invokes through userspace ("A python module ...


10

You are correct, selling FOSS packages for money is generally a bad idea: someone else will come along, promoting their free distribution, and take all your customers away. This is not a very viable business strategy. However, what you can do is sell peripherals: little extra bits that nobody else has, that people will think are worthwhile paying for. This ...


10

The CC NC clause is really hard to get a grasp on, and Creative Commons do not provide much guidance about it. There certainly exists a lot of examples where it is not possible to give a straightforward about exactly what is commercial use. For an example of such a situation, see my answer to this question: Using CC-NC material inside a freemium app. That ...


10

These licenses are very suitable for use in a corporate environment. The licenses used by GNU are the Free Software Foundation family of licenses: GPL, LGPL and AGPL. These licenses have the restriction that you are obliged to include the source code and release your software under the same license if you distribute the softeware. If you don't distribute ...


10

To my understanding, if I modify the library, I need to give the source of the library with the changes highlighted. No, you have no such obligation. The Apache 2.0 license does not contain any copyleft requirements that would require you to share your modified source code. From the Apache License FAQ: I HAVE MADE CHANGES TO AN APACHE PACKAGE AND I WANT TO ...


10

They are also planning to change the licensing of the project, or make it dual-license. Unless you have signed a CLA or assigned the copyright of your contributions in some way, they cannot legally do either of these options. You are the copyright holder of your contributions, and therefore you, and only you, get to say which license or licenses they are ...


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