LICENSING – Open Source / Free Software License
August 7, 2009
OPEN SOURCE / FREE SOFTWARE LICENSE
The terms ￢ﾀﾜOpen Source Licenses￢ﾀ? and ￢ﾀﾜFree Software Licenses￢ﾀ? are usually interchangeable. There are minor differences, but these occur only in extreme areas. In general, the Open Source License is approved by Open Source Initiative (OSI), and Free Software License is approved by Free Software Foundation (FSF).
Open Source Initiative
The Open Source Initiative is an organization dedicated to promoting Open-Source Software.
The organization was founded in February 1998 by Bruce Perens and Eric S. Raymond when Netscape Communications Corporation, published the source code for its flagship Netscape Communicator product as free software, due to lowering profit margins and competition with Microsoft￢ﾀﾙs Internet Explorer software.
Raymond was president from its founding until February 2005; Russ Nelson replaced him for one month, but after some controversy he resigned and Michael Tiemann became interim president.
Open source software is computer software for which the human-readable source code is made available under a copyright license (or arrangement such as the public domain). This permits users to use, change, and improve the software, and to redistribute it in modified or unmodified form. It is often developed in a public, collaborative manner.
OSI ￢ﾀﾓ approved Open Source License
Open Source Initiative (OSI), maintains a list of approved licenses. OSI and FSF agree on all widely used Free Software License. OSI￢ﾀﾙs list is different from FSF￢ﾀﾙs list because the two organizations have reviewed different sets of licenses.
Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a non-profit corporation founded by Richard Stallman on 4th October 1985 to support the Free Software Movement, a copyleft-based movement which aims to promote the universal freedom to distribute and modify computer software without restriction.
The FSF is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, United States of America.
The original purpose of the FSF was to promote the ideals of free software.
Free Software License
A Free Software License is a software license which grants recipient￢ﾀﾙs rights to modify and recipients the software which would otherwise be prohibited by Copyright law. A free software license grants, to the recipients, freedoms in the form of permissions to modify or distribute copyrighted work.
There is no recognized ￢ﾀﾜfirst￢ﾀ? free software license. Early license include that of TeX and that of X11 (X Window System). It is a display protocol which provides windowing on bitmap displays.
In the mid-80s, the GNU project produced individual free software license for each of its software packages. These were all replaced in 1989 with version 1 of the GNU GPL. Version 2 of the GPL, released in 1991, went on to become the most widely used free software license.
Free Software is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified from either without restriction, or with restrictions only to ensure that further recipients can also do these things.
The Free Software Movement was launched in 1983 to make these freedoms available to every computer user. Software that does not provide these freedoms is referred to as Proprietary Software or non-free software.
Free software is distinct from freeware, freeware is Proprietary software made available free of charge. One can use, but not study, modify or redistribute freeware.
FSF ￢ﾀﾓ approved Free Software License
Free Software Foundation, the group that maintains the Free Software Definition, maintains a list of Free Software License. The list distinguishes between FSL that are compatible or incompatible with the FSF of choice, the GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft license. The list also contains licenses which the FSF considers non-free for various reasons.
The GNU General Public License (GPL) is a widely used license for free software projects, originally written by Richard Stallman for GNU project.
The current version 3 was released in June 2007. The FSF has also published the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), and the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL).
The original purpose of the FSF was to promote the ideals of free software. The organization developed the GNU operating system as an example this.
The GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) is a modified, more permissive, version of the GPL, intended for some software libraries. There is also a GNU Free Documentation License, which was originally intended for use with documentation for GNU software, but has also been adopted for other uses, such as the Wikipedia project.
GNU General Public License (GPL) version 3
This is the latest version of the GNU GPL: a free software license, we recommend it for most software packages.
The GPLv3 is not compatible with GPLv2 by itself. The most software released under GPLv2 allows you to use the terms of later versions of the GPL as well. When this is the case, you can use the code under GPLv3 to make the desired combination.
GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2
This is the previous version of the GNU GPL: a free software license, and a copyleft license. We recommend the latest version for most software.
The GPLv2 is not compatible with GPLv3 by itself. The most software released under GPLv2 allows you to use the terms of later versions of the GPL as well. When this is the case, you can use the code under GPLv3 to make the desired combination.