License Counseling

Karsten M. Self kmself at
Mon Aug 27 23:06:04 UTC 2001

on Mon, Aug 27, 2001 at 11:08:21PM +0100, Daniel MD (im-thinking at wrote:
> Hello, my name is Daniel MD.
> I find myself in need of counseling, in the matter's of software
> licensing, i would like to know if there is a comparative map of the
> approved licenses, if not i would like if someone form this list to
> council me in the following issues.

A survey of licenses was posted here recently.  

The software licensing discussions at by Donald
K. Rosenberg are also highly recommended.

> I wish to release a program, and make it open source, everything is
> modifiable program and documentation, but other developer's have to
> report the modifications to me (the founding member) by sending me a
> copy of the modified program or/and application/documentation (this
> includes a book copy)for free, 

I'd strongly recommend you drop this plan.

> i do not need to approve the modifications, they (other developers)
> can do what they want with the program and documentation, modify it
> and sell it if they wish to do so, or create a book with the
> documentation and sell that if they wish to do so, the only
> requirements is that the modifications contain a URL (pointing to the
> development members names web page), a email address (pointing to the
> original program mailing list), and that the developers join
> themselves to the web page and mailing list, (users are not obliged to
> sign in, only developers).
> I would like to know which license that already is OSI Certified meets my 
> needs.

Versions of Sun's SCSL license included similar language and terms.

I'd strongly recommend you look to another licensing model, however.
Unless your project is exceptionally compelling, such licensing terms
are seen as unfavorable, and generally generate significant resistance
from both free software developers and commercial entities.

There's a very strong argument to be made for using an existing, widely
accepted, free software license.  I'd suggest looking at the GNU GPL,
LGPL, BSD/MIT, or MozPL licenses.  They are widely used, broadly
accepted, and largely allow for code exchange between projects.

IANAL, this is not legal advice.

Karsten M. Self <kmself at>
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?             There is no K5 cabal     
   Free Dmitry! Boycott Adobe! Repeal the DMCA!
Geek for Hire              
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