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LinuxMonth: Open Source Licenses Explained

Dec 31, 2000, 16:13 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Chris Carella)

"The Open Source Initiative recognized 18 different licenses as Open Source Software licenses. If a program adheres to one of these licenses, then it can officially be considered Open Source. Each one of these licenses have a time and place in the Open Source world, and each one has it's own unique history. I am going to put all 18 of these licenses on equal ground (even though I adore the GPL), because they are recognized as equals by the Open Source Initiative. So rather than comparing and contrasting 18 licenses in one article, I'll break it up, and review a couple of different licenses each month. The first two I will be evaluating will be the General Public License (GPL) and the Mozilla Public License (MPL)."

"The GNU General Public License was created by Richard Stallman to protect the legal right of free software. Free software in the eyes of the GNU is having access to all the code a program contains, including code that just links to GPL covered code. When a program is released under the GPL, it indefinitely retains certain attributes. Under the GPL, a program must provide users with the program's source code if asked, and in return, the author may obtain the source code to any modifications made to the program."

"If a program is GPL'd, all code must be attainable by any individual who wishes to inspect it. It is important to note that all source must be surrendered. This includes any code that uses GPL code, or is linked to a GPL program. This feature often discourages people who need to include some proprietary software, because they must forfeit the proprietary code, or be in violation of the GPL, and face a lawsuit. Also included in the GPL is a clause designed to protect the author of free software, by stating that GPL software has no warranty."

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