Open Source Licenses Explained

Open Source Licenses Explained

Every once in a while, community uproar over contentious open source licensing in a popular product will grab headlines, causing all of us to debate what open source licenses are really about. Last year it was the Apache Foundation’s ban of components with Facebook React’s contentious patent clause which caused a stir that sent developers running for the Reddit boards. These past few months, Redis Labs and MongoDB have made changes in the open source licenses of some of their most popular open source databases, leaving many to scratch their heads, highlighting the need to have open source licenses explained in human speak.

The simplest explanation is that open source licenses are legal and binding contracts between the author and the user of a software component, declaring that the software can be used in commercial applications under specified conditions. The license is what turns code into an open source component. Without an open source license, the software component is unusable by others, even if it has been publicly posted on GitHub.

Each open source license states what users are permitted do with the software components, their obligations, and what they cannot do as per the terms and conditions. This might sound pretty straight forward, but there are over 200 open source licenses out there so good luck keeping them all organized. Varying in complexity and requirements, it is up to organizations to choose which licenses are most compatible with their policies to ensure that they remain compliant.

Copyleft and Permissive: Two Types of Open Source Licenses Explained

The two main categories of open source licenses often require in depth explanation. Open source licenses can be divided into two main categories: copyleft and permissive. This division is based on the requirements (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – WhiteSource authored by Ayala Goldstein. Read the original post at: