Free Books about Creative Commons

Understanding Open Source and Free Software Licensing

 Understanding Open Source and Free Software Licensing

Free and open source development models have made tremendous contributions to computing, sustaining both research and commercial projects and making it easier for large groups of people, who may not even be acquainted, to help each other. While this growing activity has a promising future, all of this work is built on top of licenses—legal documents—that often seem arcane or difficult to understand. Businesses and individuals aren’t always sure what is at stake in their decisions to participate, and deciding which license to use for a particular project can be a project of its own.

This book is designed to simplify those decisions, explaining the different licenses and their effects on projects, including both commercial and non-commercial projects. It explores how licenses can be used as glue to bind groups of people together in common, and how the different styles of license interact with different kinds of projects.

The licenses and projects covered include:

  • The MIT (or X), BSD, Apache and Academic Free licenses
  • The GPL, LGPL, and Mozilla licenses
  • The QT, Artistic, and Creative Commons licenses
  • Classic Proprietary licenses
  • Sun Community Source license and Microsoft Shared Source project

Each license is examined clause by clause, including both the original license text and explanation. This book also looks at issues affecting all of these licenses, including the formation of a contract, enforceability of warranty and other disclaimers, and cross-licensing.