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Share Your Experience: Take the 2024 Developer Survey
82 votes
Accepted

Can I license my project with an open-source license but disallow commercial use?

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 ...
ArtOfCode's user avatar
  • 9,436
73 votes
Accepted

Under copyleft, why distinguish between "free as in free speech" and "free as in free beer"?

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 ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
  • 1,165
60 votes
Accepted

Can I relicense an abandoned GPL project if the copyright owners are no longer responsive?

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, ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
42 votes

How can I deal with this (predatory?) scenario?

TL;DR: Open Source is not about fairness, but about Software Freedom. It is irrational to publish Open Source, and to be then surprised that others are exercising their freedoms. Once a company has ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
26 votes
Accepted

MariaDB: How can the license being held by a foundation forbid Oracle from buying MariaDB?

How can the license being held by the foundation forbid Oracle from buying the Whole Entity ? Because it's not for sale. This from the foundation's Certificate of Incorporation: FOURTH: The ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.3k
25 votes

How to fairly distribute a sum of money among the most relevant FLOSS projects to a codebase?

I freely concede that this question has no single definitive answer, but I think there are a few general truths that can usefully be marshalled in response. We can't tell you what "fair" ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.3k
23 votes
Accepted

Can I use a Apache v2 licensed driver for a commercial project without revealing sources of the project?

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 ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
23 votes

Open-source license to prevent commercial use?

There is now a license specifically designed to create source-available software for non-commercial use, namely the Commons Clause License. There have been some very strong characters in the history ...
MikeBeaton's user avatar
23 votes
Accepted

Gimp and Inkscape on Android: licensing (GPL?)

if the original licences for these products was the GPL (GNU General Public Licence), how is it, that, these are sold for a fee (although the fee is minimal)? As we have said elsewhere more clearly, ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.3k
21 votes

What does it mean by "commercial support available" for an open-source platform?

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. ...
davidgo's user avatar
  • 463
19 votes
Accepted

Open-source license to prevent commercial use?

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 ...
Zimm i48's user avatar
  • 5,597
18 votes

Can I license my project with an open-source license but disallow commercial use?

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'...
Marcin Raczkowski's user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

How to fairly distribute a sum of money among the most relevant FLOSS projects to a codebase?

So, I kindly ask from this community: Is my idea of 'fair' really fair? What would be a fair method to share money with FLOSS projects? How can I implement the method proposed above? Code examples ...
awesom3's user avatar
  • 196
15 votes

Is it possible to restrict GNU GPLv3 to non-commercial use only?

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 ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
14 votes

GPLv2 - licensing for commercial use

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 ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.3k
14 votes
Accepted

How do products like MongoDB not violate the GPL licenses?

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 ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
14 votes
Accepted

Open-source license (probably not FLOSS) that allows "use in a commercial context" but disallow "to sell the software or modified versions"?

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/...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
14 votes

Can I relicense an abandoned GPL project if the copyright owners are no longer responsive?

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 ...
Ole Tange's user avatar
  • 241
14 votes

Under copyleft, why distinguish between "free as in free speech" and "free as in free beer"?

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 ...
nick012000's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Does Licensing open-source prevent me from selling the product?

Yes, it is entirely legal to make money with open-source software. You are allowed to sell copies of open-source software, but that is not likely to create a sustainable business, because each ...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Can a free software (as in free speech) be not free (as in free beer)?

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: ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
12 votes

Under copyleft, why distinguish between "free as in free speech" and "free as in free beer"?

Actually I think this rule is coming from the ages before internet was available for everyone. Like 29 years ago you could buy a few floppy disks with linux on it. And that the vendor could charge you ...
lalala's user avatar
  • 221
12 votes
Accepted

Preventing commercial exploitation of small changes that require a lot of work

implement the same patches with some minor changes (e.g. replace a for with a while) under their 2-clause BSD license While copyright is based on the implementation of an idea, it is broader than the ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
11 votes

Use of BSD-3 Clause license and python software license for proprietary use

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-...
Mans Gunnarsson's user avatar
11 votes

Can I license my project with an open-source license but disallow commercial use?

No, but you can get close enough: you can prevent your Open Source project from getting included in a closed-source project (for example, by using a GPL license), and then offer a dual-license option ...
jpaugh's user avatar
  • 211
11 votes

Will there be any restrictions if I use a MIT licensed module which is built on a GPL library in my commercial software?

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 ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.3k
11 votes

How can I deal with this (predatory?) scenario?

Could this scenario be considered unfair? No. It is simply a bad business plan of company A. The GPL and other open source (as in freedom, not beer) licenses are exactly what they are. There is no &...
AnoE's user avatar
  • 358
11 votes

Open source licenses and royalties

How does that license model work in practice/technically? Generally, pretty well. Given a company that produces a free-software product which they will also host for a charge (ie, SaaS), users have ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.3k
10 votes
Accepted

When is a commercial company allowed to acquire an Open Source project?

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 ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
10 votes

Can I use (statically or dynamically linked) mingw-w64 runtime libraries for commercial purposes?

You can create and distribute proprietary software using most libraries that ship with mingw. In general, if you are using a library (which includes libstdc++, libgcc and libwinpthread in your ...
D. SM's user avatar
  • 1,896

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