Monday, May 6, 2013

A cheat guide for Software Licensing

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Most of us have encountered these above lines or  term like  GPL,Apache, MIT, Monzilla licensing etc, in regard to software, one way or other in our life.Do you have ever give a thought about why do they exists and which may be the best one for the code or software you are pushing over the free subversion repository (I also, do not care much about licencing term for my personal code too!But for now I have decided to go for "copy left").
So, if you have really spent some hundreds of lines of constructive coding , and had made a some good product out of it or you want to clear  the mist around this various term follow few more line under below.

Logo of various licensing term
Logo of various licensing terms 1. MPL 2. BSD 3. Apache 4.GPL 5.MIT 6. Copy right
For now just grep these word in your memory .. they will make you easy to keep up the pace with article.
  • Proprietary licensing
  • Free and open source (FOSS) licensing
  • Hybrid software licensing
  • Open source
  • Close source
  • Premissive
  • Copy left
These are generally the three category (properietary,FOSS or Hybrid)  , you would like to declare to 100s of line to make the term of use and its future development.
Some of the major point of the above licensing terms are

Proprietary licensing
  • very restrictive to end user
  • limit usage (usage for the stated purpose and users eg for one machine)
  • copying,redistribution or altering not allowed 
  • occasionally code release ("for inspection purpose")
  • eg - MS Windos, Acrobat, iTunes
Free and open source (FOSS) licensing
  • open , non-discriminatory access
  • right to modify the licensed software and the source code 
  • wide variety (types)
  • can be commercial
  • eg-Perl, Firefox, Thunderbird
Hybrid software licensing
  • license applied case by case basis
  • any combination of propriety and FOSS
  • eg- MySQL,Phenix
Open source
  • source code of the software available
  • permission to reuse, modify and distribute the code
Close source
  • source code is not made available
  • fever restriction on the user or adaptor
  • attribution of the original creators on the derivative of software/source code
  • permissive license can be coperated with close properity programs do not require source code to be disclosed if combined software is distributed
  • eg- BSD (Berkely software distribution), MIT, Apache license etc
Copy left
  • guarantee access to the work.
  • open access to software and source code
  • derivative work need to distributed as same licensing terms as original
  • also refer as "share-alike"
  • eg : GPL (General Public license), LGPL, MPL(Monzilla Public license)
Summary of select attributes of cited licenses types

Reference :
Plos computional biology : A quick guide to software licensing for the scirntist-programmer

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