Selecting an open source license

Stan P. van de Burgt stan at
Mon Sep 8 07:40:13 UTC 2003

At 11:18 AM -0700 9/7/03, Lawrence E. Rosen wrote:
>Stan van de Burgt asked:
>>  My question: Is there a taxonomy of licenses, or better: a concise
>>  set of questions to answer, in order to select the right OSI approved
>  > license(s) for a project out of the 70+ present?
>You are somewhat exaggerating when you say there are "70+" licenses already.
>We've got a ways to go to make that target.  Not that this is a target -- in
>fact, those of us who need to review and approve license submissions feel
>that it will be a fate worse than death.

:) You're right, I counted less than 50 (not counting older versions).

>Many licenses are submitted for single projects or companies.  These
>licenses are often not worth copying and are listed on the OSI website only
>because it is important to know that software so licensed is really OSI
>Certified open source software.  But don't use those licenses for your
>software.  Select one of the general licenses.  I've listed the major ones
>in this email. 
>That narrows you down to six (6) licenses you can read and understand first.
>Not that the others are bad licenses.  They're just not worth considering if
>this is your first go-round with open source licensing.
>Again, start by thinking about your own open source business model, then see
>if one of those six licenses will meet your needs.
>/Larry Rosen
>General counsel, Open Source Initiative
>lrosen at
>(C) Copyright 2003 Lawrence Rosen
>Licensed under the Open Software License version 2.0

Thanks, that's great: Then 3 Yes/No questions would suffice for these 6.
Although it would be great to have the extended version too, as some 
of the single-project
licenses could be a good fit too.

Thanks for narrowing it down for me. This could be helpful too to 
state on top of the licenses page of the web site.


- Stan

Stan P. van de Burgt   stan at (PGP 0x853296C5)
DMO, 1248, 3500 BE, Utrecht, the Netherlands
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