Sunday, May 6, 2012

Which Open Source License?

I was doing a little research on open source software licenses with a student when I came across this flow chart.

I like the balance it strikes between being funny and still being at least somewhat useful and informative.  Credit for the original flowchart goes to the creators Dan Bentley and Brian Fitzpatrick.  (Thanks to @jldeev for pointing me to the chart.)

For a short break down of the key differences between some of the more popular software licenses, see Jeff Atwood's post Pick a License, Any License on the Coding Horror blog.  The main point to take away from the article is that if you don't explicitly declare a license on software you publish, your code is copyrighted by default.  To use the code people have to contact you and ask permission.  So if you post a lot of code examples on your blog, take a few minutes to pick a license then add a notice to the footer of your site.


Anonymous said...

It’s unfortunate public domain isn’t distinguished, as it is not actually a license. Still good, of course. :)

hacker said...

It works ;-) I'm in the eastern hemisphere and I like MIT license for its brevity. (Gotta go and read apache license to see how well it is written).

Tim said...

The funny (or perhaps sad) thing is, I got every single joke in the flowchart, instantly.

Martin Iturbide said...

I will love to see a graphic representation on how you can switch open source licenses on derivative works.

For example from BSD to GNU GPL, but not back from GNU GPL to other, etc.

Have you seen something like that? or it will be too hard to put it into a graphic?

Bill the Lizard said...

Hi Martin,

No, I haven't seen anything on changing an open source license on a derivative work. That would probably be a good question to ask on the Programmers Q&A site.