I've recently been involved in several discussions that are variations on,
"Which open source or free software license should I choose for my project?"
Here is my way of looking at the large and growing collection of licenses in
the wild. First let's make sure we all understand that I Am Not A Lawyer.
This is not legal advice. Depending upon your needs and your comfort with
risk around your software, you'll want to confirm your legal choices with
counsel in your jurisdiction.
The first and obvious consideration is whether or not the license is approved
as an open source license by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). The OSI
created the Open Source Definition in the late 1990s as a set of attributes
that a software license must support to be considered "open source". Anyone
can take a license to the OSI for debate and discussion and if approved as
meeting the OSD, the... (more)
Software is protected by copyright law in the U.S. and many other countries.
Anyone that wrote the software, owns the copyright and can say how it is
used. [NOT saying how it can be used does NOT remove your responsibility as
the owner, even if you don't care.] People sometimes give up their copyright
ownership to the software they write in their employment agreements. [If
you didn't read your employment agreement, you're probably not a professional
software developer.] If you want to liberally share your software with others
so they can use it for anything, there are a few wel... (more)
Concerns are raised every once in a while in the broader free and open source
software community about freeloaders. The attitude expressed is that if
you're getting the benefit of FOSS, you should contribute. Building a
business on a FOSS project you don't own, whether you're providing a service
or product around a FOSS project should in return garner some sort of quid
pro quo. In reality, freeloaders are desirable.
I think we need to look through the other end of the telescope. The people
most often concerned about freeloaders and the free ride are actually the
ones with the mo... (more)
Software is surprisingly dynamic. All software evolves. Bugs are found
and fixed. Enhancements added. New requirements are discovered in using
the software. New uses are found for it and it is shaped to those new
uses. Software solutions that are useful and used must by their very
existence evolve. Well organized open source software communities create
the right conditions to make this dynamism successful.
The world continues to embrace and adopt free and open source licensed
software across the board. Vendors and OEMs, their IT customers,
governments and academics are ... (more)
I recently blogged about making open source software, and the high level
steps for how to think about the process. We started with the need for
software to seed the discussion, the need for clear motivation as to why to
publish as open source software, and then the structural requirements to
build a community (license choice, collaboration platform or forge, and
governance considerations). Contributions are the life blood of any
community, so lastly we talked about the need to build an onramp to encourage
users that will hopefully become contributors, and the additional onramp