Licensing...

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marcov
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Re: Licensing...

Postby marcov » Jan 07, 2017 19:14

figosdev wrote:
If Linus Torvalds decided tomorrow that he doesnt want the old Linux versions under the GPL, too late-- the project would go on without him. When OpenOffice copyright ownership was acquired by Novell, they changed the license for new versions, but couldn't prevent the LibreOffice fork of the project.


What is your source for that? Did you actually get a lawyer's opinion, or do you just echo sentiments from pro-Linux press?
St_W
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Re: Licensing...

Postby St_W » Jan 07, 2017 20:13

datwill310 wrote:I will not make money with the OGL... But I just had a thought: what happens if someone were to program a commercial piece of software [which costs] which uses my library. What will happen then? Do the users of the library who make money have to give me some of it?
No, they don't have to. The license applies to everyone. What you can do is choosing a license which does not allow commercial use or choose the GPL which is most often not suitable for commercial use.

See also http://choosealicense.com/ for a nice overview of the terms of some common licenses.


datwill310 wrote:What is your source for that? Did you actually get a lawyer's opinion, or do you just echo sentiments from pro-Linux press?
To change a license all copyright owners must agree as caseih explained really well. When somebody contributes code to the Linux kernel the person stays copyright owner - and a huge number of people have contributed code to the Linux kernel, which makes it practically impossible to change the license: Linux will always remain GPL licensed. That was different for OpenOffice as a single company was copyright owner, so it could change the license. (In such a situation contributors typically need to sign some contract which tranfers the copyright ownership to the company; "Contributor License Agreement" / CLA). LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice which uses GPL and the contributors stay copyright owner; thus they are practically in the same situation as the Linux kernel.
datwill310
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Re: Licensing...

Postby datwill310 » Jan 07, 2017 20:24

St_W wrote:
datwill310 wrote:I will not make money with the OGL... But I just had a thought: what happens if someone were to program a commercial piece of software [which costs] which uses my library. What will happen then? Do the users of the library who make money have to give me some of it?
No, they don't have to. The license applies to everyone. What you can do is choosing a license which does not allow commercial use or choose the GPL which is most often not suitable for commercial use.

See also http://choosealicense.com/ for a nice overview of the terms of some common licenses.

I don't think making money out of other's works is bad, but only under certain conditions, i.e. they use my resource, and it is not plagiarism/stealing my work and saying it is theirs. If another was to use my library to program commercial software, I'm fine with that: they can have the money: after all, its the software they're paying for, not my library.

This is what I mean: if someone earns money through their software which utilises my library, that's more than acceptable to me.

However, if someone earns money through the library itself, then I'm having an issue. I intend for the OGL to be free, and if somebody comes along and charges for it, this is wrong in my eyes.

Hopefully this license will protect the OGL's openness and freedom for use and modification/extension, as well as the ownership rights I have as the main developer.

Yes, that site seems helpful and was linked (created?) by the guys behind GitHub (am I right in thinking that one of those was Linus Torvalds?).

Thank you all for your help.

PS btw, I didn't say this ;)
St_W wrote:
datwill310 wrote:What is your source for that? Did you actually get a lawyer's opinion, or do you just echo sentiments from pro-Linux press?
caseih
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Re: Licensing...

Postby caseih » Jan 07, 2017 21:26

If you license you code under some arbitrary license, such as the GPL, and if a commercial entity wants to use your library in a proprietary way that's disallowed or made difficult by the license you chose, they are always free to negotiate different terms with you, the copyright holder. That could involve them paying you to use the license. Or just asking nicely.

A permissive license, like the BSD or MIT, is fine for lots of things. Your copyright on the code remains acknowledged, though third parties can essentially use your code however they like, in an open or closed fashion. They are also free to modify and enhance your code, and keep those modifications and enhancements secret. In my mind this often results more in a "take" mindset and not so much sharing back with the community that provided the code in the first place. Personally I prefer the LGPL for libraries as it grants use in closed-source projects while keeping the library itself, and enhancements to the library itself, free and open. Plus like I mentioned before, you are always free to license the library for money (or because they asked nicely) to someone that wants different terms.
caseih
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Re: Licensing...

Postby caseih » Jan 07, 2017 21:29

marcov wrote:What is your source for that? Did you actually get a lawyer's opinion, or do you just echo sentiments from pro-Linux press?

I'm definitely not a copyright lawyer, but this is my understanding of how current copyright law is written in the US. You cannot relicense something unilaterally which you don't hold the copyright to. Linus holds copyright on parts of the Linux kernel but certainly not all of it, or even most of it. Thousands of people and companies have contributed code, small and large, to the kernel proper. They own the copyrights, not Linus.

But also there's nothing in copyright law that lets you rewrite existing contracts unilaterally either. Now if Linus and all the contributors (at least enough representing essential parts of the kernel) were found to not hold the copyright, then everyone would suddenly be found in copyright violation to this mysterious entity that claimed all the copyrights. In that case then indeed the license granted by Linux and friends would no longer apply. And in fact this is part of the contention of the infamous SCO attempts to assert copyright claims over Linux. In the end the parts they were claiming copyright over (the API really, which is questionably whether it is copyright-able) were found to be owned by Novel, not SCO, and Novel said they were completely in favor of Linux using them.
datwill310
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Re: Licensing...

Postby datwill310 » Jan 07, 2017 21:34

caseih wrote:If you license you code under some arbitrary license, such as the GPL, and if a commercial entity wants to use your library in a proprietary way that's disallowed or made difficult by the license you chose, they are always free to negotiate different terms with you, the copyright holder. That could involve them paying you to use the license. Or just asking nicely.

A permissive license, like the BSD or MIT, is fine for lots of things. Your copyright on the code remains acknowledged, though third parties can essentially use your code however they like, in an open or closed fashion. They are also free to modify and enhance your code, and keep those modifications and enhancements secret. In my mind this often results more in a "take" mindset and not so much sharing back with the community that provided the code in the first place. Personally I prefer the LGPL for libraries as it grants use in closed-source projects while keeping the library itself, and enhancements to the library itself, free and open. Plus like I mentioned before, you are always free to license the library for money (or because they asked nicely) to someone that wants different terms.

hmm, will bare the first point in mind.

Tbh, I don't mind if they don't share back improvements they've made: it's their improvements, they can do what they like with them, and perhaps its only improvements which only they would find useful i.e. is specific for their project. It's ultimately their improvements, and I do not want to force people to share them.
caseih
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Re: Licensing...

Postby caseih » Jan 07, 2017 22:15

Sounds like the MIT or BSD would be fine for you library then. MIT seems to be popular these days.
StringEpsilon
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Re: Licensing...

Postby StringEpsilon » Jan 07, 2017 23:03

For a header-library like your's, the MPL 2.0 (Mozilla Public License) might be the right choice:

* MPL applies per file.
* User of library must disclose the use of said library
* Copyleft for all source code files under the MPL.
* GPL compatible.
* Can be used in otherwise proprietary projects.

(Edit: There is some special stuff about patents and the usual warranty stuff)
datwill310
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Re: Licensing...

Postby datwill310 » Jan 07, 2017 23:12

StringEpsilon wrote:For a header-library like your's, the MPL 2.0 (Mozilla Public License) might be the right choice:

* MPL applies per file.
* User of library must disclose the use of said library
* Copyleft for all source code files under the MPL.
* GPL compatible.
* Can be used in otherwise proprietary projects.

(Edit: There is some special stuff about patents and the usual warranty stuff)

I have read through a little of it: seems solid enough. I may consider implementing the license for the release of the 2.x series.

However, I have gone with the 3-Clause BSD license for now. There is a concern about changing the license now, seeing as I have already assigned one, it may cause at the very least confusion over rights. Therefore, don't get disheartened if I reject advice from here or in: I'm doing it on purely practical grounds.

Thanks for all your help!
figosdev
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Re: Licensing...

Postby figosdev » Jan 08, 2017 3:06

marcov wrote:
figosdev wrote:
If Linus Torvalds decided tomorrow that he doesnt want the old Linux versions under the GPL, too late-- the project would go on without him. When OpenOffice copyright ownership was acquired by Novell, they changed the license for new versions, but couldn't prevent the LibreOffice fork of the project.


What is your source for that? Did you actually get a lawyer's opinion, or do you just echo sentiments from pro-Linux press?


It's exactly what happened with LibreOffice-- I thought it was common knowledge and not under dispute. How is it different from your take on what happened?

AFAIK this isn't a matter of opinion-- [Oracle] did acquire Sun, they got OpenOffice (.org) in the deal, They changed the license of new versions, then most of the developers left and forked it, LibreOffice was born. OpenOffice was then sold or donated to the Apache foundation, who put it under a FLOSS license again. However I did get one important detail wrong: it was Oracle, not Novell. Theres a multi-pronged reason I accidentally conflated those that has nothing to do with any of this.
St_W
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Re: Licensing...

Postby St_W » Jan 08, 2017 4:43

datwill310 wrote:PS btw, I didn't say this ;) [...]
Sorry, copy-paste error; it's a quote from marcov's posting.

BSD is probably a good choice. There's no right or wrong decisions; one "just" has to decide which of the restrictions/permissions/garanties one considers important.

I may be totally wrong, but I don't think that FreeBasic code has that big commercial value anyway (as long as isn't something completely new); at least I don't know about companies using FreeBasic.
figosdev
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Re: Licensing...

Postby figosdev » Jan 08, 2017 8:23

datwill310 wrote:Hopefully this license will protect the OGL's openness and freedom for use and modification/extension, as well as the ownership rights I have as the main developer.


That may be impossible per your understanding of "freedom" and "ownership rights," at least "freedom" in the general sense of "free software" and "open source" which most frequently define the word in these licenses. In other words, any "free" (libre) license or even "open source" license will technically retain ownership (you still have copyright on your code) but now most of the exclusive rights (except ownership itself) are shared with everyone.

A few licenses exist which do not work this way: "Open Core" or "Shared Source" licenses, or the "Open" license that OpenDOS used (source available, but commercial use required license purchases.)

The thing is, those "worst of both worlds" licenses are rare and obscure, and not what people generally expect when you talk about "freedom" or "open source."

If I were a close friend of yours and you asked me what to do, I would tell you to wait until you're more familiar with these licenses, and just make the source code available (as All Rights Reserved) for now. Rest assured that citizens of China will copy and re-use it freely no matter what license you choose; at least one other country does not recognize (let alone practice) international copyright monopolies-- neither did the USA, when Mark Twain was publishing.

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