Licensing issues

Simos Xenitellis simos.lists at googlemail.com
Wed Sep 26 12:56:57 UTC 2012


On Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 8:18 AM, Scott Cutler <scott at scottcutler.net> wrote:
> I have nothing against the GPL--but to me it represents an unknown that I
> would like to get out of the way as early as possible so that I no longer
> have to think about it.  Although the software will never be commercial, I
> may have a future purpose for the software that involves connecting with
> closed-source code, and I simply don't know enough about the legal aspects
> there.  I'd rather err on the side of safety when it comes to licensing.
> Part of the reason for developing my own software was to avoid just these
> kinds of difficulties.
>

If you keep the full copyright of the source code (that is, if you are
the main developer and any other co-developers assign the copyright of
their contributions to you), then you can relicense at will the new
future versions of the source code.

However, the best approach would be to get into contact with the SLFC,
http://www.softwarefreedom.org/
These licensing issues are their centre of interest, they like these
things and they will help you decide which approach is best.

Some terms that help when communicating with the SFLC are
1. 'free software' is software that abides to the Free Software
definition, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Free_Software_Definition
Practically, software licensed with the GPL is 'free software'.
2. 'open-source software' is software that make available the source
code but do not fully abide with the Free Software Definition.
Here you have the BSD-style licenses (you can take the source code,
and you are permitted, if you want, to keep private your enhancements
of your product) or the MPL license (the core is like free software,
but it's OK to link with closed-source software).
3. 'copyright', anything you create has your copyright, which by
default gives you exclusive rights to your creation. If you want
others to use your creation, you add a license. Such as one of the
above licenses. The free and open-source licences try to fix the
situation that too few rights were given with proprietary software.
4. The aim of the free software movement is to create an ecosystem of
free software, so that you are not stuck with some proprietary core
component that hijacks the whole software stack. It's a novel aim.

Simos




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