Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Questions on FOSS Licenses

Q1. Can I really use open source software for commercial product development ?
  • Well the real answer is absolutely you can use it without fault. 
  • The company that uses the software needs to adhere to the license given provided with the open source software. 
Q2. Can I really use open source software for distribution under a commercial license ?
  • Now that depends on the license of the open software that you would use.
  • Non-copyleft licenses or Permissive licenses permit you to re-distribute the software with the new changes. 
  • They play well with commercial licenses as long as you adhere to the open source license
Q3. Do I have to pay anything to the company that released the open source software ?
  • If the software is provided with source code under any of the open source compatible
  • licenses then there is no payment to the parent company. 
  • The companies usually maintain 2 versions of their software - Open source and Commercial version.
Q4. Which license permits me to modify the open source code and keep the changes closed ?

Non-Copyleft licenses : 
  • Apache 2.0 License
  • Berkley Sockets Distribution (BSD) License 
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) License
  • Other Compatible licenses
These licenses are usually compatible with other permissive Non-copyleft licenses and commercial licenses.

Q5. Which license requires me to submit the changes done back to the community ?
  • GNU General Public License (GPL)
  • GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL)
  • GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL)
  • Mozilla Public License  (MPL)
  • Other Compatible Licenses
Reference : 
  1. Licensing HOW-TO by Eric R. Raymond
Unreferenced Articles :
  1. Businessmans' Guide to Open source Licenses by Kristof Kovacs (new - good read)

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