Weekly FOSS Fireside Chat: Application of Licensing and Ethics

Coming to a general conclusion on the topic of licensing and when it should be used is almost to the same extent of having Richard M. Stallman halt the reference of GNU/Linux and his supposed 'ownership'

Here, I hope to clarify the topic of licensing and give a description of the ones I primarily use.

MIT's License (2015)
This license is probably my favorite license to issue software under as it declares it free to be used anywhere without the creator being responsible for its outcome. This is extremely friendly to kangers that refuse to preserve authorship (unfortunately) however so it does have drawbacks.

*Completely and truly free
*The creator remains free of any charges regarding future issues

*Loose interpretations apply
*Anyone can kang the software without penalty
*It doesn't protect anything but the creator of the software

More info here: https://opensource.org/licenses/MIT

GPL v3
This is the most important license. It forces authorship and accreditation to be kept, the Linux kernel is licensed under it as well (v2 to be excact) as the majority of open source software, and it grants freedom on loos terms.

*If the software is filed under this license and shared with the public, the source must be public
*Kanging of the software except for private use is prohibited. Private is used loosely. FOr instance, you are not required to do so if it is shared between you and a limited group of people
*You can not be sued for patent infringement if you use software filed under this license
*It catalyzes the growth and development of the original project

*Companies are screwed over if it is implemented elsewhere

More info: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/quick-guide-gplv3.en.html

Apache v2
If you are an Android fanatic like me, you understand that Google files their open source software this license to protect themselves. HOWEVER, in the community itself there is a lot of groups that lash out at its use. This can be specifically seen between the conflict of SlimRoms and Substratum over the proper use of OMS, and who kanged who (which I won't get into, but in short, my opinion is Slim is in the right on this one)

*The changes made to the source must be logged somewhere
*A notice of the use of the license must be declared
*Protection of patents

*Companies can sue you if you decide to use the license competitively
*Just because changes must be logged does not mean that accreditation must carry over
*It does not in any way protect the user of the software. The license should be looked more so on declaring a product as a service and not an owned entity
*Contributors are not protected

More info: https://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

Okay so that is a quick overview of how I interpret the licenses, and where I believe them to be used appropriately. It isn't great, but if you have anything to add, then just let me know :slight_smile:

Have a great week! I will keep up with this topic and answer any questions you may have, and make changes as needed


Thanks for the quick rundown.

^^^ so which is it...you won't get into it, or you'll give your opinion? Please clarify. IMO you should lose the sentence completely.

Nice post, but isn't the Linux Kernel licensed under GPL v2, not GPL v3? You may want to clarify that.


Yeah. You're right. Let me fix that

I just stated an open ended opinion. It doesn't subtract from the content

I'll get into Got and Gerrit this weekend guys. I figured more people would be interested in the licenses that people issue software under haha

What do you mean by this? An example?

I didn't know this. I can't find it either, maybe just blind, what part applies?

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So if a company decided to license a piece of software under GPL then they can't sue a company if they use the same softwsre with respect to the original foundation and authorship.

With Apache, section 3 covers this. So essentially, if I issue a piece of software under it and a company has a claim to the patent of the software, then the license is void on my part ergo the company can then sue me. I might want to make it a little more clear. Nice catch

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That doesnt necessarily mean their screwed over though? This applies to almost all free software licenses by their nature. Others can use it.

Im not 100% on the patent clause.

From my understanding it means if you the author has a patent license covering a piece of code your write and released under the Apache license, the license gives others the right to use the the patented code. The licenses is also a patent license.

The second half seems to try and protect around someone using the code/contributing to the code from suing anyone for infringing on other patents that they may hold.. I think.

Its definitely not saying you cant sell work with Apache code, clause three explicitly gives you the right to sell even if there are patents on the code, as the license gives you a license to sell.

each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable (except as stated in this section) patent license to make, have made, use, offer to sell, sell, import, and otherwise transfer the Work

I think the latter half of that sentence (not quoted here) is just bad/legal wording.

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Yeah. Thats a better interpretation. I read it more strictly. We just had an issue with our ROM were we managed to reverse engineer Googles battery alert code but for that very reason, are a but skeptical of shipping it due to the extense of the Apache license. I talked to a senior developer on XDA about it, and I guess what it means is that until a company using the license with the appropriate patent states that you can't use their software in a certain way, then you are protected however if they do, I think there's a time frame you have to operate within to consolidate the code.... It's very open ended

Yes, it doesn't subtract, but it doesn't add either. The way I read it is "which I won't get into" means I won't give an opinion, and then you proceed to. Not a big deal and I enjoyed reading your interpretations.

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