61 votes
Accepted

Is Microsoft VS code really open source?

This is explicitly addressed in the Visual Studio Code FAQ: Why does Visual Studio Code have a different license than the vscode GitHub repository? To learn why Visual Studio Code, the product, has a ...
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  • 30.9k
42 votes
Accepted

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

As far as I am aware, all FLOSS licenses that deal with copyright notices only require the preservation of notices that exist. Each author had the opportunity to add their own name to header when they ...
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  • 30.9k
36 votes
Accepted

What does 'upstream' mean?

Consider the obvious analogy (from which the term flows - pun intended) ... water in a river flows 'downstream' and thus 'upstream' is the source from which the water comes. This analogy is deeply ...
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  • 6,695
26 votes

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

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 ...
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26 votes
Accepted

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

Short answer: because the CC licenses have not been designed for software and source code. This is answered by Creative Commons themselves in their FAQ: Unlike software-specific licenses, CC ...
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21 votes
Accepted

MIT license and "All rights reserved."?

It's correct but unnecessary. It's there for clarity. When you do some work, the default copyright position is all rights reserved. Nobody can do anything with your work without your express ...
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  • 8,700
19 votes
Accepted

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

Since you have never looked at the source code, and ONLY looked at: The API The no-code very high-level description of the synchronization algorithm then you are free to release your implementation ...
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18 votes
Accepted

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

Oddly enough, I just did this with two repos I wanted to ensure continued access to. So no, it's not a silly idea. However, remember that you have now committed yourself to monitoring the upstream (...
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  • 6,695
16 votes

Examples of companies undercutting smaller companies using FOSS?

"Stealing" code is copyright infringement, which is obviously avoided by most legitimate companies. Losing a copyright infringement suit can easily destroy most companies. On the other hand, ...
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  • 8,463
15 votes
Accepted

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

For Debian you can proceed as follows: Post an Intent to Package (ITP) bug report to the Debian Bug Tracking system (https://www.debian.org/Bugs/). Or if an existing RFP (Request for Packaging) ...
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14 votes

Is Microsoft VS code really open source?

The binaries distributed by Microsoft are non-free. The source code, being released under the MIT license, is free software (or "open-source") as poorly called. If you downloaded and compiled the ...
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  • 2,488
13 votes

Is Microsoft VS code really open source?

Thanks to the work of Peter Squicciarini (@pajamaboat), you can now download 100% FLOSS binaries compiled from VSCode's official MIT-licensed repository. It is called VSCodium as a reference to the ...
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13 votes

Software licensing - Pre 1970's

Was the software(before 1970's) released with free source? Well, there was surely software released with and without free source, and lots of machine code software where the distinction was of minor ...
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  • 361
12 votes

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

In the 3D graphics world, there are free-licensed models, textures, and the like. When building a 3D graphical work, they're the rough equivalents of code libraries and the like. There's also the ...
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  • 973
12 votes
Accepted

License to use for smaller GitHub repos

This might take a while, your question isn't a short one, and it seems to me to have a number of misconceptions in it. I frequently create programs [...] in other script languages, such as PHP (PHP ...
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  • 37.9k
11 votes
Accepted

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

There may be a number of ways, but there is no guarantee. If you have enough certainty, you could start a legal case and ask for sources to be disclosed. This in fact happened in the SCO case. If ...
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11 votes

Software licensing - Pre 1970's

Your question is very unclear and confused, but the simple answer is: before the 1970s, software wasn't copyrightable in the US, so the very idea of "licensing" doesn't apply. You cannot put a ...
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10 votes

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

@FaheemMitha already gave a perfect answer for Debian, but I wanted to add the process for Ubuntu. If a package is included in Debian, it will automatically be included in Ubuntu shortly down the road:...
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  • 271
10 votes

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

With the recent demise of Google Code, I've strived to get a lot of popular repositories that I may potentially use, and host copies of them on Github, or on my own personal computer. I don't really ...
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  • 6,229
10 votes
Accepted

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

If you were given software under some Foo License, you may copy, distribute, and modify the software under the terms of the Foo License. If the distributor of that software stops giving out new ...
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  • 30.9k
10 votes
Accepted

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

Generally: a license for software tells you what permissions you have in using and distributing said software. If you produce a piece of software that incorporates other software, you have to look at ...
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  • 8,270
9 votes
Accepted

Licensing code on GitHub in a valid way

I want to make sure in no way am I liable for any issues, and that my code cannot simply be copied and claimed as someone else's. You want a license that includes a disclaimer of liability (often in ...
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  • 30.9k
8 votes
Accepted

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

An open source license is a grant from the copyright holder to someone else, giving them additional rights. If I give you the rights to version 2 of my work, I don't have to give you rights to use ...
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  • 359
8 votes

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

The same way as you know any other program is not actually a virus/malware/etc. You might trust organization x not to publish malware pretending to be something else. You might trust that it's a well ...
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  • 8,986
8 votes
Accepted

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

This is categorically fine under the MIT license (as long as you follow basic attribution and license-preservation requirements), since the MIT license allows you to distribute the work (and modified ...
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  • 30.9k
8 votes
Accepted

Open Source projects with encryption keys

You should not include keys in your open source project. You should include a file location where your code expects a key, and the user (or an included utility) creates or copies their own unique key ...
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  • 30.9k
8 votes
Accepted

Can I hide a few lines of code because of security reasons?

You are not generally required[1] to release any secret keys necessary to make an application run. Instead, users can obtain their own key. However, redacting your source code is not a suitable ...
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  • 33.2k
8 votes

Is Java (JRE) still free for commercial use?

There're several different JRE available with different licenses. Two most prominent are: OpenJDK is open-source (GPL). You can use it without having to pay for it. Oracle JRE use different license (...
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8 votes
Accepted

Copyright holder in R packages

To quote from Wikipedia: Copyright does not cover ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed. So the copyright in what you've written covers the creative ...
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  • 37.9k

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