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View Poll Results: License choice
Apache License 2.0 0 0%
BSD 3-Clause "New" or "Revised" license 0 0%
BSD 2-Clause "Simplified" or "FreeBSD" license 0 0%
GNU General Public License (GPL) 4 44.44%
GNU Library or "Lesser" General Public License (LGPL) 2 22.22%
MIT license 1 11.11%
Mozilla Public License 2.0 0 0%
Common Development and Distribution License 0 0%
Eclipse Public License version 2.0 0 0%
other 2 22.22%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 9. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-08-2019, 06:50 AM   #1
crts
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Which open source license do you use?


I am currently thinking about open-sourcing a small program I have written but I am undecided on which license to use. I found this Wikipedia page and the opensource.org website on the subject but I do not have the time to check all those licenses (I am also not a lawyer so it would not even be fun if I had the time). If you have published an open-source project then I would like to know which license you used. I would also appreciate if you could briefly explain the motivation for your choice.

PS:
Not sure if this is a factor in the decision but here is some context:
The program is nothing spectacular or ground-breaking. It is just a small tool written in C. It caters to my personal preferences with Shell script creation/maintenance which I initially did not intend to publish. It was just a project which I did mainly for fun.
 
Old 08-08-2019, 06:54 AM   #2
average_user
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I would use BSD because it's more free (freer?) than GPL.
 
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Old 08-08-2019, 08:43 AM   #3
hazel
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I've written only a couple of small programs for public use (and the public ain't using them as far as I know!) but I automatically used GPL. I've read it and I like it, so why would I want to use anything else?

The only other free licenses that I know anything about are LGPL and Mozilla. I can see the logic of LGPL for libraries but not for programs. As for Mozilla, I can see why they want to protect their trademarks. Browsers and mail programs are like your lungs and your digestive system: the first port of call for incoming infections. So if you modify their code to make it less secure, of course they don't want their name on that. I don't think that's unreasonable for that kind of program but I don't like it as a general idea.

Last edited by hazel; 08-08-2019 at 08:47 AM.
 
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Old 08-08-2019, 08:45 AM   #4
hazel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by average_user View Post
I would use BSD because it's more free (freer?) than GPL.
But because it's so free, anyone is free to make it unfree. You just need to change a few bits, then copyright the result. Isn't that how Windows got their first networking software? GPL is carefully set up to prevent that, which I like.
 
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Old 08-08-2019, 08:57 AM   #5
rtmistler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crts View Post
The program is nothing spectacular or ground-breaking. It is just a small tool written in C. It caters to my personal preferences with Shell script creation/maintenance which I initially did not intend to publish. It was just a project which I did mainly for fun.
Why lawyer this up and why use any license at all? What would you be protecting? I'm not interested in the various descriptions of "open source", to me it is two words, when combined indicate to me that there are no restrictions on the copying and re-using of my source that I publicly posted somewhere.
 
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Old 08-08-2019, 03:27 PM   #6
dugan
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Use this to look them up, if you haven't already.

https://tldrlegal.com/
 
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:12 AM   #7
ondoho
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I'm just using the GPL3 for my pet projects.
I don't care about it too much, but do want to have some sort of license around it.
 
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:39 AM   #8
Turbocapitalist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtmistler View Post
Why lawyer this up and why use any license at all? What would you be protecting? I'm not interested in the various descriptions of "open source", to me it is two words, when combined indicate to me that there are no restrictions on the copying and re-using of my source that I publicly posted somewhere.
The Berne Convention means that without a license saying otherwise what you have posted is fully proprietary. So without including licenses, what you've been publicly posting has only been proprietary and has no relation to free or open source software in any way. The lack of licensing on your code easy enough to fix though, if you wish for it to become free and open source software.

I don't write any more much but, given a choice, prefer AGPL among the reciprocal licenses for end-user oriented programs. For libraries or modules or drivers I prefer something non-reciprocal that still covers patents, such as the Apache 2.0 license.

The reason being is that end-user benefit from the freedom of reciprocal licenses and developers benefit from the non-reciprocal style. However, unless the product is a one-off and planned to be abandoned immediately without updates, then even the people using non-reciprocal licenses learn that it is to their advantage to commit upstream as much as possible.
 
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Old 08-09-2019, 07:45 AM   #9
freemedia2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtmistler View Post
why use any license at all? What would you be protecting?
All works in a fixed medium created after 1976 in the United States (with similar issues via international convention) are automatically copyrighted. This doesn't cover works that are not copyrightable.

Without a license or public domain waiver, people have no legal right to change or share your software. Attaching a license or public domain waiver ensures they have the right. Most people will not opt to share (many will not even opt to use) your software unless it comes with a license that permits it, because it comes with risks to do so. EDIT: looks like this was already covered, oops.

Last edited by freemedia2018; 08-09-2019 at 07:48 AM.
 
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Old 08-09-2019, 08:48 AM   #10
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtmistler View Post
Why lawyer this up and why use any license at all?
If code does not have an open source license, then it's not open source.
 
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Old 08-11-2019, 09:03 AM   #11
crts
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Thanks everybody for your input so far, this has been quite informative and is much appreciated.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtmistler View Post
Why lawyer this up and why use any license at all?
As has already been commented, it has to be specifically declared open source but I did not know that. My main concern were liability issues. Some licenses contain clauses that explicitly states that the software comes without any warranties. I do not know if some liability could be claimed if such a clause is not present. So it is not only about protecting the software but also oneself with at suitable license.
 
Old 08-11-2019, 02:26 PM   #12
ntubski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crts View Post
It is just a small tool written in C.
Even the GNU project suggests a non-copyleft license for small programs:
Quote:
Small programs

It is not worth the trouble to use copyleft for most small programs. We use 300 lines as our benchmark: when a software package's source code is shorter than that, the benefits provided by copyleft are usually too small to justify the inconvenience of making sure a copy of the license always accompanies the software.

For those programs, we recommend the Apache License 2.0. [...]
https://www.gnu.org/licenses/license...endations.html
 
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:46 AM   #13
Yogi John
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IF your small tool uses any code from somewhere else you need to consider that code's license.
 
  


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