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GPL License

description

Hi,

I'm currently looking for a lightweight workflow engine / framework to use in one of my .NET applications.
ObjectFlow seems to be a stable and feature-rich project. The only thing that keeps me from using it right away is the license. Is GPLv2 the only available license? or are there other, more permissive licensing options available that I'm missing?

Thanks & Regards,
Wolfgang
Closed Apr 7, 2014 at 8:51 AM by djnz_gea

comments

djnz_gea wrote Apr 2, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Hi,
Is there something wrong with GPLv2? I believe you can re-use it as you see fit can't you?

I'm more than happy to change the license as my intention was to make it as open as possible?

stonemcclane wrote Apr 2, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Hi,

There are basically two categories of open source software licenses.
  • Restrictive / Copyleft Licenses, like GPL, LGPL
  • Permissive Licenses, like MIT, BSD, MPL, APL, etc.
The difference between the two is, that Copyleft licenses are focused more on keeping source code freely accessible to anyone, but force certain strict limitations on the people who use code which is licensed under the GPL/LGPL. For users of such code, this means that the GPL/LGPL "infects" other code that it is linked to. So if you include GPL licensed code in your own project, your project now has to be released under the GPL (or any compatible license) as well.

This is really the big issue that many people see in using GPL/LGPL licensed code these days and the trend in big parts of the open source community is switching to permissive licenses instead (e.g. the license statistics of GitHub show this quite clearly ... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/18/github_licensing_study/)

On the other hand, the permissive licenses basically all just try to say three basic things:
1) The user of the code is allowed to do anything with it (quote from MIT: "use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies")
2) There is no warranty for the functionality of the code, you can't sue us if it sets your house on fire
3) The license text should be included with software that contains such licensed code

I have moved away from the GPL/LGPL licenses for all my software projects some years ago, just like many other open source projects did.

To choose between the two categories of licenses you should just determine what is more important to you (and your users)
  • GPL / LGPL ... if the freedom of your code is important to you, but the freedom of the people who use it not so much
  • MIT / BSD / etc ... if you want your code to be as accessible as possible for anyone, without almost any restrictions
DISCLAIMER: i'm obviously biased towards the permissive license models here, but I was using the LGPL/GPL for my projects too in the past, and moved away from them to make my code as accessible and useful as possible for anyone who would like to use it.

djnz_gea wrote Apr 7, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Thanks for explaining this and the link to the article.

I've changed the license to MIT.