Open Source License Comparison: Connecting — and Contrasting — the Dots

Delving into the world of open source license comparison is not for the faint of heart. Copy-left this, permissive that, and what, in the name of GNU, is the difference between GPL 2 and GPL 3 With over 80 OSI-approved open source licenses out there, and hundreds of others floating around the open source ecosystem, putting together an open source license comparison is no easy feat. 

While some open source licenses are short and simply-worded for those of us who just want to release our open source project, others are lengthy, complex, and have been known to keep legal teams long into the night, running up plenty of billable hours. In the hopes of clearing up some of the confusion, we’ve mapped out some of the elements that can help us conduct an actionable open source license comparison. 

Comparison Basics: Permissive vs. Copyleft Open Source Licenses

Open source licenses are usually divided into two main groups: permissive, also known as “anything goes”, and copyleft, otherwise known as “viral”. Theis open source license comparison is based on how restrictive, or — you guessed it — permissive the license is, as well as how many requirements and permissions are attached to using an open source software component. 

When an open source component is released under a copyleft license, developers have the right to use, modify, and share the work as long as the reciprocity of the obligation is maintained. Using a component with this kind of open source license requires that you too must make the code open for use by others. The GPL family of licenses is the first and most popular of this bunch, and includes a number of versions and variations. 

On the other end (Read more...)

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