Best licence for my software?

Alex Bligh alex at
Sun Apr 17 09:55:51 UTC 2005

--On 17 April 2005 06:42 +0300 NSK <nsk2 at> wrote:

> A) University employees, students and researchers should be able, in
> connection with their work/studies/research in their university, to copy,
> use  and modify both my Library/API and my Application without
> restrictions as  long as I get proper credit. The MIT Licence seems to do
> this job well, but  it is not restricted only to university people.
> B) Everyone else who wants to use the Library/API outside the context of
> university studies should be able to copy, use and modify my Library/API
> under a weak copyleft licence which will enable me to collect back their
> bugfixes/improvements/changes to my library/API and allow them to use
> this  library in any software no matter their licence. The LGPL and CDDL
> licences  seem good for this requirement.

No existing single OSI approved license does this. That's because (A)
is restricted by field of endeavour.

You can almost get what you want by dual licensing, say under a home
brewed version of the MIT license (for university people only), and
under a traditional open source license (LGPL for instance). However,
any "changes you collect back" you will only be licensed to redistribute
under the LGPL, rather than your academic license as in A.

I have to say the OVPL or OVLPL will do the job for you here (in that
any modifications contributed you can relicense how you see fit).
But it's not ready to roll right now. See

> C) Non-university people should be able to copy, use and modify the
> actual  application I produced (which uses my library/API) under a strong
> copyleft  licence which will prohibit them from incorporating the
> application's code in  proprietary programs. The GPL licence seems to be
> the best one for this job.

Note the GPL does *NOT* prevent incorporation of your code into a
propietary program. If your code is *DISTRIBUTED* by a third party
as part of an application, then that third party must provide source
to the whole thing under the GPL at (essentially) no cost, to those
to whom the application was distributed.

> D) GPL projects should be able to incorporate
> any part of my Library/API and  Application code.

Application: easy if you GPL it.

Library: What do you mean by incorporate? Link to it, or (for instance)
do you mean a larger library that actually incorporates your library?
The latter will demand license compatibility. The former would ideally
suit OVLPL (when finished).

> E) the chosen licences should be terse, easy to read and avoid
> superfluous  technical jargon.

Beaty is in the eye of the beholder.


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