license recommendation

David Woolley forums at
Tue Apr 17 20:41:05 UTC 2007

Mr SZ wrote:
> If the end user is a developer,then he can ask for the source code and 
> if the developer makes changes/improvements,he is required to submit the 
> changes  back to him.

Such licenses are generally discouraged because they are unenforceable 
and because it is unclear what to do when the original licensor 
disappears.  Most developers will avoid them, if there is any alternative.

You will get strong resistance against anything that requires the 
copyright in the changes to be assigned to you unless your free software 
credentials are impeccable (e.g. you are the FSF) or you have a very 
strong position (Mozilla?).  This is especially true if there is any 
reason to believe that you will commercially exploit the contributed 

> PS:If I buy the source code of a program,does it mean I own the code or 
> do I just have the right to own it and modify it to some extent or 

You need to ask the vendor what they are actually selling, as they
won't be selling the source code and only the source code.  They will
be either selling it on some medium or selling a licence to download it.

For Open Source, they would also have to be selling the right to copy 
and redistribute it without further payment to them, and without 
restrictions on the recipient.

You will generally only get the copyright, and therefore unrestricted 
use if the software was developed specifically for you.

PS this is off charter. The list is really for discussing licence 
document proposals.

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