Free and opensource software foss is software that can be classified as both free software and opensource software. Apache openoffice formerly known as is an open source office productivity software suite containing word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, graphics, formula editor, and database management applications. This is because open source and free software licenses do not impose affirmative obliga. Understanding open source and free software licensing bridges the gap between the open source vision and the practical implications of its legal underpinnings. Open source licensing software freedom and intellectual property law. As a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to provide open source software for the public good at no cost, the apache software foundation asf ensures that all apache projects provide both source and when available binary releases free of charge on our official apache project download pages. Free and opensource software is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the holder provides.
Open source vs licensed software software advisory service. Legal impacts of open source and free software licensing oreilly. This book was published by prentice hall in july 2004. Apache software is always available for download free of charge from the asf and our apache projects. That means it usually includes a license for programmers to change the software in any way they choose. The need for such a framework arises because the different licenses can contain contradictory requirements, rendering it impossible to legally combine source code from separatelylicensed software in order to create and publish a new program. Anyone can obtain free and open source software foss, and install it on the companys computers. And, even though the licenses are the same, a persons choice of terminology may. The term open source was coined by christine peterson and adopted in 1998 by the founders of the open source initiative. This means that anyone who knows how, can use and modify open source software completely free of charge. Licensing is a major part of what open source and free software are all about, but its still one of the most complicated areas of law.
Free and open source software licensing and the mystery of licensors patents 4 acknowledgements i wish to thank the following persons for their supervision, preexamination, guidance, support, valuable comments or interesting and inspiring discussions during the project. First, for each license described in previous chapters, the licensor may not even. The term free software is older, and is reflected in the name of the free software foundation fsf, an organization founded in 1985 to protect and promote free software. The selfenforcing nature of open source and free software licenses thereisasavingslogicpresentinthemitlicenseandothersthatpreservesthe effect of the license even in the absence of an affirmative act of consent. Software licenses, open source components, and open architectures thomas a. The open source initiative shares many of the same goals as the free software foundation open source initiative, 2002. What is free software and is it the same as open source. In other words, although the terms free software and open source software refer to essentially the same set of licenses, they arrive at that set via different routes. Pdf understanding open source and free software licensing. Chapter 6, legal impacts of open source and free software licensing.
A practical guide to open source software licensing second edition meeker, heather on. Essentially, an open source solution is a software distributed under a licensing agreement which permits the code to be shared and edited by other parties. For years, the only name in the game for working with pdf documents was adobe acrobat, whether in the form of their free reader edition or one of their paid editions for pdf creation and editing. Heather meekers open source for business second edtion is a practical, readable guide to help businesspeople, engineers, and lawyers understand open source software licensing. A practical guide to open source software licensing second edition.
For a list of licenses not specifically intended for software, see list of free content licenses. The results arent perfectly identical, but the differences are unlikely to matter broadly. We have networks where communicating and sharing with people is easier than ever, and it can be used to benefit individuals and the economy. Frequently answered questions open source initiative. Five affordable apps for managing software licenses. Software licenses, open source components, and open. An opensource license is a type of license for computer software and other products that allows the source code, blueprint or design to be used, modified andor shared under defined terms and conditions. Free and open source software is an example of this. All software applications require a software license that describes how software can be used and distributed. Learn about the differences in licensing between proprietary and free and open source. Software development using open source and free software licenses index.
License compatibility is a legal framework that allows for pieces of software with different software licenses to be distributed together. Free and opensource software defines its freedoms through its licensing, while public domain software may adhere to some of the same virtues but does so by falling outside the licensing system. It has all the benefits of a free and open source pdf editor software. Many open source programs are in fact also free in the sense that they are generally available, at least by downloading over the internet, without charge, except for copying costs. But today, there are numerous open source pdf applications which have chipped away at this market dominance. Qt, artistic, and creative commons licenses chapter 5. Open source software in simple terms is free software that you can use in your business. Understanding open source and free software licensing o. The comparison only covers software licenses with a linked article for details, approved by at least one expert group at the fsf, the osi, the debian project or the fedora project. An important distinction of both free and opensource software is that works based on free or opensource source code must also be distributed with a foss license. Understanding open source and free software licensing.
On the other hand, the fsf is a proponent of a philosophy that puts the notion of free software. The difference between free and opensource software. If youre an open sourcefree software developer, this book is an absolute necessity. To be approved by the open source initiative also known as the osi, a license must go through the open. Legal impacts of open source and free software licensing chapter 7.
That is, anyone is freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way, and the source code is openly shared so that people are encouraged to voluntarily improve the design of the software. It is up to you to read the instructions related to the specific license and to provide the appropriate license text with your postings. The mit or x, bsd, and apache licenses are classic open source licensing software licenses and are used in many open source projects. A complete guide to the law of open source for developers, managers, and lawyers. If youve held back from developing open source or free software projects because you dont understand the implications of the various licenses, youre not. Open source licenses are licenses that comply with the open source definition in brief, they allow software to be freely used, modified, and shared. Free in licensing discussions should refer strictly to freedom to do certain things with the software. Whats the difference between open source software and. However its focus is grounded in the development methodology that arises when source code is open and free to all who want it. Once the tlo has approved release of the software via an open source license, you may then post or distribute your software under such open source license. Opensource software oss is any computer software thats distributed with its source code available for modification.
The author is extremely grateful to bruce perens the author of the open source definition and the debian. Open source software licensing the berkman center internet. We provide the source code of the gpl programs until five 5 years after the discontinuation of same model of this projector product. Using or publishing software under a license creates obligations. Please support the books author and publisher by buying a print copy. Open source licenses are licenses that comply with the open source definition in brief, they. Software enterprise software developer open source software. Understanding open source and free software licensing by. Or is it about time you dip your toes into the uncharted waters of open source.
If open source and free software licenses interest you, this book will help you understand them. You dont have to replace all of your commercial software tools with free or open source software, but it never hurts to check your options. Open source software license gnu gpl this projector product includes the open source software programs which apply the gnu general public license version 2 june 1991 gpl programs. Legal impacts of open source and free software licensing. The user can detect exactly which sections, words or phrases they want to edit. This question is often framed as a war between open source evangelists and commercial.907 1001 573 1277 612 1535 146 1498 1427 411 1579 1178 228 974 77 1355 1055 1235 1526 1600 894 259 882 1236 1169 126 279 1533 547 520 482 325 307 1003 212 1388 1349 914 858 1176