[License-discuss] Organizing the FAQ into categories.

Karl Fogel kfogel at red-bean.com
Wed Nov 28 18:45:44 UTC 2012

In another thread, Luis Villa <luis at tieguy.org> wrote:
>[I'd also repeat my call of a few weeks back- if anyone has a few
>hours to try to edit the FAQ into useful categories, let me know.]

Here's a preliminary categorization.  I guess license-discuss is
probably the most appropriate place to post this, since much of the FAQ
is about licensing in one way or another.

Any comments welcome.  If I hear a lot of +1s, then I'll edit the FAQ
page accordingly.  If this gets a lot of comments, then we'll just see
where the thread goes.  Here are my proposed top-level categories:

  + Basics of Open Source
  + Distributing and Using Open Source Software
  + Commerce and Open Source
  + Using Our Logo, Linking to Us, Etc
  + Getting Help

And here's the proposed breakdown of FAQ items:

Basics of Open Source

  * Can Open Source software be used for commercial purposes?

  * Can I restrict how people use an Open Source licensed program?

  * Can I stop "evil people" from using my program?

  * What is "copyleft"? Is it the same as "open source"?

  * What is a "permissive" Open Source license?

  * Is <SOME PROGRAM> Open Source?

  * Can I call my program "Open Source" even if I don't use an
    approved license?

  * Is <SOME LICENSE> an Open Source license, even if it is not listed
    on your web site?

  * What about software in the "public domain"? Is that Open Source?

  * What about the Creative Commons "CC0" ("CC Zero") public domain
    dedication? Is that Open Source?

Distributing and Using Open Source Software

  * What if I do not want to distribute my program in source code
    form? Or what if I don't want to distribute it in either source or
    binary form?

  * Which Open Source license should I choose to release my software

  * How do I apply <SOME OPEN SOURCE LICENSE> to software I'm

  * Can I strip out the copyrights on Open Source code and put in my

  * Can I write proprietary code that links to a shared library that's
    open source?

  * I want to publish some code as Open Source code — can I get a
    license from you?

  * Is <SOME PHP PROGRAM> Open Source simply because it's written in

  * What is "distribution"? What does it mean to "distribute" a
    program? Is letting people use it on my server the same as

  * Someone is violating a copyleft license, for example by refusing
    to give me source code when they are required to. What can I do?

Commerce and Open Source

  * How do I make money if anybody can sell my code?

  * Can I sell Open Source programs? Even if I haven't written it?

  * Does Open Source mean anybody else can use my name and logo?

  * Why did you approve Microsoft's licenses when they are attacking
    Open Source?

Using Our Logo, Linking to Us, Etc

  * Can I use your corporate logo (green open keyhole saying "Open
    Source") or something very similar (different color / texture /
    words) on my product (hat, shirt, web page, etc)?

  * How much does it cost for a link on opensource.org to my website?

  * Can I use your corporate logo on my web page to link to you?

  * Can I link to your site?

  * Can I use one of your pages in a document I'm writing?

Getting Help

  * Can I ask a legal question here?

  * Can you help me find an Open Source programmer or program?

  * How do I unsubscribe from one of your mailing lists?

  * How can I join an open source project?

  * I have a thesis and I'm sending out a survey...

More information about the License-discuss mailing list