Restrictive Open Source License

Marc Whipple MWhipple at
Tue Sep 21 17:43:45 UTC 2010

That's a little bit ambiguous. You can use whatever license you want, with or without lawyer input. However, the Open Source Foundation has a list of requirements which a license must meet for it to be used with their trademarks and their associated websites (like Sourceforge.) If you want to do those things, then yes, it has to be approved by the OSF. As a holder of the dubious honor of having had a license rejected while being told that it was a good license and people who wanted a license like that could do worse than to use it, I assure you that they take these requirements very seriously. Even a well-written license (mine was a modification of a previously approved OS license with the modifications made by a very experienced IP lawyer) is not going to get anywhere if it doesn't meet them, period.

As has been pointed out, if you'll say what restrictions you want, you'll get more specific advice. Just so you know, though, if you are thinking about commercial/non-commercial use distinctions, that almost certainly won't fly. That's what I tried to do, that's what others have tried to do, and it's not acceptable to the OSF. You can read the restrictions here:

It's Paragraph Six that is read by the OSF as a blanket prohibition on restricting use for commercial purposes.



Marc Whipple
General Counsel
Incredible Technologies, Inc.
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From: Shlomo Zalman Heigh [mailto:szh1 at]
Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 12:20 PM
To: Bani
Cc: license-discuss at
Subject: Re: Restrictive Open Source License

If my lawyer rights the license, does it have to go through some sort of process to get approved?
Shlomo Zalman Heigh
Extreme Image Converter<>

On Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 1:17 PM, Bani <borboleta at<mailto:borboleta at>> wrote:
You can write your license any way you want, but depending on what
restrictions you place on them it won't be considered open source.
Also, it is a bad idea to write your own license if you don't have a
lawyer to review it, and even if you do, it will be bad for your users
to have to understand the implication of yet another license.

On Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 1:49 PM, Shlomo Zalman Heigh <szh1 at<mailto:szh1 at>> wrote:
> Is there an Open Source license that is more restrictive that the GPL? If
> not, can I write my own?
> Thanks,
> Shlomo Zalman Heigh
> Extreme Image Converter

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