[Gllug] [Surrey] FOSS, GPL, BSD, LGPL

JLMS jjllmmss at googlemail.com
Tue Dec 13 11:33:43 UTC 2011

On 9 December 2011 14:23, James Courtier-Dutton <james.dutton at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 9 December 2011 12:18,  <robert.beattie at nokia.com> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> Short notice, but can someone with good knowledge perhaps give a 15min talk at tomorrow's BaB on the various sw licences available.
>> I've just read this article on The Reg and am completely confused.
>> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/08/open_source_windows_8_windows_store/
>> Cheers,
>> Bob.
> sw licences are legal documents.
> The only person who should be answering questions on sw licenses is
> someone who has the proper legal qualification.
> But the simple answer, is there is no problem using BSD and GPL
> licenses until you try to distribute anything non-open source with
> them.
> Then you have to start taking a view on what a "derivative work" is
> and other phrases that can only me made sense of by a legal person,
> and also only then in relation to a particular use in a particular
> target country.
> I like the GPL license because it inspires other people to
> "contribute" instead of just "take, take, take".
> James

If we needed lawyers to interpret software licenses, using software,
of any kind, would be prohibitively costly.

Most of the time one should be able to read a license and interpret it
correctly, or correctly enough, and if you don't understand it you can
ask the software provider what they mean, in writing.

Big companies should surely apply due diligence via a legal
department, but small companies and individuals should read the
license and use their common sense (and even then we have the likes of
SCO and their ilk,, so you can apply as much due diligence as you
want, at the end if the other party is out to get you they will, which
is why it is so important to deal with companies and providers with a
good reputation).
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