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

Paul Brook paul at codesourcery.com
Sat Dec 10 11:33:48 UTC 2011

> 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.


As soon as you start distributing code copyrighted by a third party you (and 
your legal adviser) should be aware of the licence implications.  Simply 
including the source is not sufficient.

In particular the GPLv3 contains anti-TiVo and patent grant clauses.
Some BSD variants include advertising clauses, and all of them require you 
reproduce their notice+disclaimer in your documentation.

For personal projects these additional requirements may be trivial to meet, 
but in a commercial environment they can have substantial implications.
Of course the average proprietary licence may be even more onerous, but that's 
for you and your lawer to decide.

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