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

Is keeping the forking link on a true fork necessary? (Github/GPL)

There is no requirement whatsoever in any version of the GPL to maintain a reference to some upstream project. Imagine if you use substantial code from multiple GPL-licensed projects: the GitHub ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
23 votes
Accepted

How to deal with licences after forking a project?

No, you are not allowed to change the copyright notice. Indeed, the license text states pretty clearly: The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or ...
Zimm i48's user avatar
  • 5,597
23 votes
Accepted

Why do some, but not all, 100% Free Software distros rebrand Firefox?

Mozilla requires that the product must be built unmodified or the changes made to the distribution be approved by them. Debian considered parts of Firefox (the trademarked logo, and non-free artwork) ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
22 votes
Accepted

When forking an open-source project, what should I do with the maintainers' emails included in the source code?

It sounds like you are going the correct approach: you change the name of the project you acknowledge the previous authors and keep their copyright notices you add your own copyright info and contact ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
20 votes
Accepted

Can I change the license of a forked project to the MIT if the license of the parent project has changed from the GPL to the MIT?

That depends. If you didn't make any changes in your fork of the project, you can just update your fork to include the latest upstream changes and get the license change along with it. If the ...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

Forking GitHub repository (MIT): what references to the original author should remain intact?

Your assumptions are mostly correct but you can make things a tad simpler... You are de-facto creating a new package, so you should update your package.json such that it is clear it is something ...
Philippe Ombredanne's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

How do I deal with authorship after a fork?

You have forked a GPLv2 package, and created a derivative work therefrom. You are curious about the licensing and copyright arrangements for the new work. Fortunately, neither of these are in any ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.3k
15 votes
Accepted

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

The MIT license is very permissive; you are allowed to release your own work under a different license if it was based on something released under the MIT license. See also this answer on Software ...
Arc676's user avatar
  • 371
15 votes
Accepted

Authors and contributors of forked project

Should I list myself as author, and original author as contributor? Or should I somehow refer to the company in general? Or it is legal to only mention myself here (and leave the reference to ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.3k
13 votes
Accepted

Is ripping off an open source library okay?

Generally, a fork done without consultation of the original project (and without the intent to merge change back upstream eventually) is called a "hostile fork". Performing a hostile fork is -- as its ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
12 votes

Starting (not forking) a new project based on a seemingly dead one

Forking and starting your own repo and submitting a PR to the current repo are not mutually exclusive. You could do both and decide which branch to keep working on based on the action or inaction of ...
John's user avatar
  • 354
12 votes

How is the wow.js fork free, while the original project is not free?

Until 21st February 2016, the matthieua version was licensed under the MIT license; you can see the commit which changes the license to GPL v3 here. The GPLv3 is of course still an open source license,...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
11 votes

Is it possible to get rich prosecuting GitHub users of an unlicensed fork?

Yes, creating derivatives of a copyrighted work is generally the exclusive right of the copyright holder. If the copyright holder has not licensed this right to you, you don't have the right to create ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
9 votes
Accepted

Why boilerplates are created from scratch, not forked?

Am i missing something? why are people writing them from scratch instead of forking? No idea. This may be something specific to the JS realm. Python boilerplate projects tend to be forked heavily ...
Philippe Ombredanne's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Can someone other than the original author contribute downstream changes to an upstream repo?

Yes, those changes could be added to any other repository - on the same conditions as the license asks. It would not need to be the same commit or identically as the license is agnostic of the VCS ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
8 votes
Accepted

Etiquette around forks & npm

If your PRs aren't being accepted, the best course of action is to published a scoped version of the package. You can do this even before you think that your PR is being ignored. If you make ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Forking / Cloning an active open source project

I know what I'm proposing is strictly legal and within the scope of the open source movement, but I am curious if there's an accepted etiquette for these situations. When you publish code under a ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.3k
8 votes
Accepted

Maintaining a parallel fork of a project that contains the original authors' company name

From a legal point of view, the GPL license allows you to rename everything in sight, except for mentions in the copyright lines. In practice, a complete renaming of all files and classes is rarely to ...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
7 votes

Is keeping the forking link on a true fork necessary? (Github/GPL)

Not directly an answer to your question, but if you want a fork that doesn't reference the parent, you should import the repo instead: https://github.com/new/import Note that you will only get the ...
noamtm's user avatar
  • 171
7 votes
Accepted

Fork maintain and distribute a MIT project

The project's license says: Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software... to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
7 votes

Licensing for forked projects

So we suppose that Alice creates a piece of code ab initio and publishes it under the X11 licence (the more precise name of what is often referred to as "the MIT licence"). Bob then copies it and ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.3k
7 votes
Accepted

How to approach being blocked from a repository you use and contributed to?

Forking is always an option in open source environments, and does not hurt. On platforms like GitHub it's actually the preferred way to create a pull request by uploading your own repository with the ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
6 votes

How should I continue work on an abandoned open source project?

Forking implies a few things which may answer your question. First, the original author - by using a free/libre license - authorized you to fork, for whatever reason. You cannot "steal" something ...
grin's user avatar
  • 314
6 votes

Starting (not forking) a new project based on a seemingly dead one

When the original owner has abandoned their project, they might be quite glad about someone wanting to take over. You definitely have nothing to lose by trying to contact them. Taking over the name ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 11.9k
6 votes
Accepted

GitHub repository ownership when working for a company

From a legal point of view, it doesn't matter. You should ensure that the copyright statement in each file correctly names whichever entity owns the copyright. From an academic credit point of view, ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
6 votes

Maintaining a parallel fork of a project that contains the original authors' company name

In copyright terms, you must obey the GPL - leave intact all copyright notices, and provide a copy of the source etc to anyone you distribute the binaries to. If you do that, you can remove all ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
5 votes

Is keeping the forking link on a true fork necessary? (Github/GPL)

Considering GPL-v3 and GPL-v2 this is not required at all (and this is true for all opensource licenses). The main purpose of a "GitHub fork" is to collaborate back to the original project, ...
intika's user avatar
  • 325
5 votes
Accepted

Can we re-format the text of a license after forking a repository?

As mentioned in the answer to Can I change a LICENSE file text format?, the formatting of the license text can have legal significance. For this reason alone, it is not recommended to change even the ...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Term or phrase for a 'soft fork'?

There's no specific term. “Fork” is sufficient. “Soft fork” will be understood as well. “Branch” is another alternative. In fact, forking is the expected behaviour when using a distributed version ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
5 votes

Is ripping off an open source library okay?

Is ripping off an open source library okay? Yes, absolutely. Copying an open source library, even if you make no changes, or only make trivial changes, is completely OK as long you follow the ...
Brandin's user avatar
  • 2,585

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