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Open Source licenses comparison table

I have a number of projects, released with OS licenses. However, each time I’m about to release new project, I think once again about under what license to release it. So, today I decided to create small comparison table of most popular free licenses to simplify a process of licensing choose you all of us.

© Myself :)

License name Can give my name for derived work? Should derived work remains open source? Can change license type for derived work? Can sell derived work?
Apache License 2.0 yes no yes yes
Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) yes no yes to compatible yes
GNU General Public License 2.0 (GPLv2) yes, but should mark changes yes, only if published yes to compatible or by owner agreement yes
GNU Library General Public License (LGPL) yes same as in GPL, but can link compiled libraries as-is into non-open source software (please reference for more info) yes for compatible yes
Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL) yes, but cannot use owner’s trademarks no no yes
Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL) yes, same as for Ms-PL yes no yes
Mozilla Public License 1.1 (MPL) yes no no yes
BSD License yes no yes yes
MIT License yes no yes yes

It’s unnecessary to mark, that all copyrights must retain in original and derived work. Also it’s good manner to notice about original authors of open source software also in derived binary work. So if you’re using my OSS in any of your work, please mark it :) Please pay attention, that except MIT and MS licenses, derived work cannot use authors’ names and origin for derived software promotions.

Another common question is about Creative Common attribution under which licensed all content in this blog. It is not really license. In spite of this, you can use this attribution to mark your work. CC is all about copyright of owner attributes in derived works, but not about distribution or restrictions of any kind.

Also neither of OS licenses provide responsibility or any kind of assurance for those, who use this software as a part of derived work or in binary format.

Have a nice day, be good people, release open software to push the industry forward and show the world what you worth.

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39 Responses to “Open Source licenses comparison table”

  1. Valentino Says:

    You can’t change license on the code even if it’s included in a derived software. You can include code that has a given license inside your software and distribute the derived work under your terms but the license on the code you took remains the same. In fact the BSD license 3 clause basically says exactly just this: . How can you extract that you can change license from it? You don’t own that code and if you change license that’s copyright infringement. You just can _never_ change license to _any_ work you don’t own. And this is especially true for other open source projects, which, in case they include a BSD-like licensed software, they will need to dual license (if they want to use a different one) using the license that they like for their modifications while the original code remains under BSD-like.

  2. Tamir Says:

    By “change license” I meant that you can release your derived code under other license. This not mean, that you can change the original license.

  3. Hari Karam Singh Says:

    Concerning, “Can sell derived work?”: isn’t the issue not that it may be sold (which it obvisouly can) but, at least for GPL, that the purchaser may then freely distribute the software (or at least it’s code)? This was a major issue of contention for Joomla which recently moved to pure GPL2 when before it used to have a special stipulation added to its GPL license to favour commercial component developers.

  4. Tamir Says:

    Yes, this, actually the main concern between two scopes: GPL and BSD. The actual question is what considering to be “free”?

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    Interesting discussion. I know that the primary concern facing many of the large organizations I’ve worked with has been the “viral” nature of open source licenses. Little is known about the various license types so they tend to shy away from any open source license if we need to include it in our projects so that the entirety of our commercial project code does not need to be shared with the world. One of the larger clients actually had an entire committee dedicated to reviewing requests and included the corporate legal team.

  13. Siddu Says:

    Above table How many License has Copy left ?

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  24. Jasper Says:

    Shouldn’t row “GNU GPL”, column “Can (I) change license type for derived work?” be “Yes IF compatible or by owner agreement”? Other question, is GNU GPL compatible with any other license whatsoever? Nothing comes to mind..

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