Open source & commercial distribution

Gerjon de Vries gerjon at
Thu Feb 28 11:38:29 UTC 2002


We are working on a C++ class library/framework for development and automated testing of user interfaces. The whole project should become open source, and in fact we will be using some other open or free projects as well. E.g MySQL for database access, probably eclipse for IDE (the project will than include extensions to this IDE), some kind of windowing library (original prototypes were developed with MFC, but will probably be thrown away as to be able to make it fully open), some xml parsing (apache?).

Hence some licensing questions that I hope somebody can comment on. We are thinking of a license that allows both 'open' and commercial reuse of the framework, much like e.g. the LGPL. However we do not like the LPGL since it is to 'restrictive' for true commercial use (e.g. the commercial party has to add provisions to replace the framework with other versions or derivatives). Actually, we want to allow use of the framework to develop end-user applications that are commercial (non-free, non-copyleft). All other use should remain open. So if one improves the library itself as a developers tool, it should be free, copyleft software. Of course, end-user applications based on the framework are allowed to be open source as well.

Hence we are striving for a license that allows:
- Use of the library as open source (e.g. in the GPL kind of way; NOT LGPL). So derivative works should be open source, free, and copyleft again.
- Use of the library in commercial products, in a way that assures that the commercial product itself can not be used as a developers tool that competes with our product. E.g. it does not include any source code, its license forbids adaptation and/or reselling, etc.

Are there software licenses that come close to these prerequisites and/or are usable as starting points? Are there things I have to watch out for to stay compatible with licenses of other open source software I will be 'using'?

Thank you for any comments,


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