Dual Licensing for Open Source Components: Yeah or Meh?

While open source components have become an integral part of developing software products and services, few developers give a thought to the open source licenses behind them. However, stakeholders and investors in software development organizations can’t afford to ignore the importance of open source license compliance and in the earlier days of open source adoption, many head honchos were wary of the limitations open source licenses might put on their commercial products. That is probably the main reason dual licensing for open source components came to be.

Open Source Dual Licensing — Two Licenses for One Product

Dual licensing emerged as an open source business model in the early 2000’s, and it typically refers to the release of a software component under two licenses simultaneously: a traditional proprietary license and an open source one, often from the GPL (GNU General Public License) family.

The dual licensing model answered a need for commercial organizations that wanted to find a way to make open source development economically viable. According to Philip H. Albert, patent attorney, “the biggest motivation for using the dual licensing model is to make money through price discrimination by monetizing your intellectual property”. However, many in both the commercial and open source communities wondered whether dual licensing really allowed businesses to have their cake and eat it too.

GPL and Commercial Licenses: How Does It Work?

The GPL is a copyleft, or viral license. According to the terms of the GPL, if software is based on, or derivative of, a GPL component, and distributed, it must be made available subject to the GPL. This includes the obligation to release the source code, as well as granting recipients the GPL rights to modify and distribute the entire code. The (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – WhiteSource authored by Ayala Goldstein. Read the original post at: https://resources.whitesourcesoftware.com/blog-whitesource/dual-licensing-for-open-source-components-yeah-or-meh