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Free Software Licensing

All open source software is not distributed under the same licensing agreement. Some may use a free software license, a copyleft, or GPL compatible. The GNU GPL license is a free software license and a copyleft license, while a “GNU Lesser General Public License” is a free software license, but not a strong copyleft license. There are many different types of licenses for free software . some GNU GPL compatible, some not.

The Open Source Initiative approves open source licenses after they have successfully gone through the approval process and comply with the Open Source Definition (above). There is currently well over fifty licenses that have been approved by the OSI.

For example, the GNU General Public License (GPL) is one license that accompanies some open source software that details how the software and its accompany source code can be freely copied, distributed and modified. The most widespread use of GPL is in reference to the GNU GPL, which is commonly abbreviated simply as GPL when it is understood that the term refers to the GNU GPL. One of the basic tenets of the GPL is that anyone who acquires the material must make it available to anyone else under the same licensing agreement. The GPL does not cover activities other than the copying, distributing and modifying of the source code.

Other open source licenses include the following;

Academic Free License 3.0 (AFL 3.0)
Affero GNU Public License
Adaptive Public License
Apache Software License
Apache License, 2.0
Apple Public Source License
Artistic license
Artistic license 2.0
Attribution Assurance Licenses
New and Simplified BSD licenses
Boost Software License (BSL1.0)
Computer Associates Trusted Open Source License 1.1
Common Development and Distribution License
Common Public Attribution License 1.0 (CPAL)
Common Public License 1.0
CUA Office Public License Version 1.0
EU DataGrid Software License
Eclipse Public License
Educational Community License, Version 2.0
Eiffel Forum License
Eiffel Forum License V2.0
Entessa Public License
Fair License
Frameworx License
GNU General Public License (GPL)
GNU General Public License version 3.0 (GPLv3)
GNU Library or “Lesser” General Public License (LGPL)
GNU Library or “Lesser” General Public License version 3.0 (LGPLv3)
Historical Permission Notice and Disclaimer
IBM Public License
Intel Open Source License
ISC License
Jabber Open Source License
Lucent Public License (Plan9)
Lucent Public License Version 1.02
Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)
Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL)
MIT license
MITRE Collaborative Virtual Workspace License (CVW License)
Motosoto License
Mozilla Public License 1.0 (MPL)
Mozilla Public License 1.1 (MPL)
Multics License
NASA Open Source Agreement 1.3
NTP License
Naumen Public License
Nethack General Public License
Nokia Open Source License
Non-Profit Open Software License 3.0 (Non-Profit OSL 3.0)
OCLC Research Public License 2.0
Open Group Test Suite License
Open Software License 3.0 (OSL 3.0)
PHP License
Python license (CNRI Python License)
Python Software Foundation License
Qt Public License (QPL)
RealNetworks Public Source License V1.0
Reciprocal Public License
Reciprocal Public License 1.5 (RPL1.5)
Ricoh Source Code Public License
Simple Public License 2.0
Sleepycat License
Sun Industry Standards Source License (SISSL)
Sun Public License
Sybase Open Watcom Public License 1.0
University of Illinois/NCSA Open Source License
Vovida Software License v. 1.0
W3C License
wxWindows Library License
X.Net License
Zope Public License
zlib/libpng license


Programmers & Corporations – Why Invest in What is Free?

A software programmer really has his or her own reasons for contributing to open source projects. Some may just be looking for fun or a challenge, while others are looking to improve skill and build on their programming abilities, or they may want to belong to a group project. In many instances there is the opportunity to make money as open source projects can be funded by government or corporate sponsors. Unlike commercial projects, open source projects allow the programmer’s name to be known, which benefits a programmer’s name and portfolio — which can lead to future jobs with other funded open source or commercial projects.

The hype and benefits of open source has not gone unnoticed in the commercial world where some corporations have jumped on the open source bandwagon. Since commercial software is sold for profit, one may wonder why a company would be interested in open source projects. In many cases companies are able to profit through selling add-on tools or modules, or paid consulting services and technical support for the program.

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One Response

  1. Juliann Wiklund

    Great post!

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