Freeing my code... need some guidance

Simon turner25 at
Sat Jan 10 22:50:25 UTC 2009

Hi there,
   I'm 27 and I've been on Linux for over 10 years.  Programming with GPL and 
LGPL libraries for my private needs.  However, I'm thinking on opening to the 
world now...

   I have been developing a strong and stable system that is meant to be re-used 
in my next projects (it features an internal "system" and "applications" as well 
as a networking core).  It is stand alone and only includes standard C/C++ 
libraries which I think don't have any legal ramifications.

   I have two goals on the mid-term:  1) Develop one or more solutions for my 
employer, which would be built upon my current project, and 2) Develop one or 
more programs that I wish to commercially distribute for my own profit, also 
based on the same project.

   The project needs to be licensed in a way that will not "harm" or slowdown or 
cause anything negative to my employer, they should even be able to continue 
building on top of it after I leave the company.  I used to really believe in 
closed-source and private licensing, but I gave it all up to freedom.  However, 
one fact remains and it is that I would like my name to be remembered as the 
initiator of this project.  My employer must also have no rights to remove my 
own rights on those files and they should become "their property" (as my 
contract says), but they would still be limited to the rights in the license.

   I would also like to develop my own projects on the side (possibly start my 
own software company one day) and build my future projects upon this one.  My 
commercial applications will be published in binary form and source will not be 
released until a later date, under the same license.

   In other words, I wish that everybody has all the rights on my code and 
software with the exception to remove the rights I or others have on it and with 
the exception they have to keep a trace of my name as the original author 
(...based on the works of Simon...).

   I think what I have written above states all I feel and I think the new 3 
clause BSD license would suit it well. "must retain the above copyright notice" 
would make my name hold up into the future and "Redistribution and use in source 
and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided..." would 
fit the idea of giving all rights.

   But there is 2 things that I still wonder about:
1) I would like other authors to be added at my side, so anybody should have to 
right to modify the copyright to include their own names, stating they authored 
some parts of the code.

2) What about the contract I signed with my employer that says something very 
strong like "whatever is written on the hard disk of the company is theirs and 
they have all rights on it", etc...  I understand that if I drop a copy of 
Apache, or libSDL or whatever licenced work, this clause in my contract would 
have no effect.  So if i drop my own code, licenced with the 3 clause BSD 
license (or a modification of it), would it work the same way?

   Last thing, I am young and inexperienced in the legal world, i read it well, 
but there are many details I don't know about and I might be missing some 
important points.  Please let me know if you think I might be interested in any 
other details I haven't mentioned.  I think I would basically set my stuff as 
Public Domain, but I like being protected by a license like the 3-BSD.

As 3 clause BSD license and 3-BSD i was referring to:

Thanks in advance for any comments, ideas, suggestions!


More information about the License-discuss mailing list