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Last month I've moved my open-source project to CodePlex. So far the service is great but this is topic for another post. During registration for the project you have to select a licence for the project. When I first published this code I picked LGPL so I didn't thought there was any reason to change it.

Recently I was contacted by someone who wanted to use the project in his commercial application. I don't have any problems with that of what soever. However this person reported that lawyers on his company had some problems with our licence. Apparently he wanted to embed the library directly in his application (by using ILMerge) but for some reason this is against the rules of LGPL. I wasn't aware of that and my intention wasn't to forbid anyone doing so.

This made me realize that I haven't really put much thought when choosing the licence. I just wanted the project to be open-source and available to everyone without restrictions. I choose LGPL because I know it's less limiting then GPL. Now I see this turned out to be not the most fortunate choice so I will try to find other licence that would better suit our project.

I don't have any lawyer at hand to help me with this so I hope I can find some help on the Internet. If you have any advice or know of any good source of information please let me know. If you lead an open-source project tell me which license did you pick and why.

Here is a list of licenses:

and resources I found so far:

Posted on Sunday, September 10, 2006 8:45 AM Development | Back to top

Comments on this post: Looking for a better open-source license

# re: Looking for a better open-source licence
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I just started an open source project, and for similar reason am doing it under the BSD license. This allows me to retain ownership of the IP, but gives people the freedom to do almost anything with it (including using it in commercial software).

I find it interesting that a commercial project is using ILMerge, because last I checked the license of ILMerge prevented using it on commercial applications.

Also, something you may consider: if you own all the copyrights to the project then you can easily dual license software. This is similar to what the Mono project is doing. They release it under license similar to the GPL, but if you want to use it in a commercial app., they will sell you a license that allows you to do that.
Left by Jason Whitehorn on Sep 10, 2006 3:20 PM

# re: Looking for a better open-source licence
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Thanks for your quick replay. Currently I'm considering the zlib license. It' seems a close fit for what I want.

I've also checked the ILMerge and its license _does_ allow commercial usage. Check this website
Left by Szymon on Sep 10, 2006 3:58 PM

# re: Looking for a better open-source license
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Hi Jason,

You were right to be curious. I believe at one point the ILMerge license did prohibit commercial usage, but luckily they got that changed pretty quickly (as Szymon's link shows).
Left by Taylor on Sep 10, 2006 4:59 PM

# re: Looking for a better open-source license
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You could use the Apache Software Foundation license entirely or use it an an exemplar:

Many Java-centric projects use the Apache license model.
Left by Republican_Mafia on Sep 30, 2006 7:36 PM

# re: Looking for a better open-source license
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I have been trying to find a Managed-Source licence with no luck. That would be the best option for me. The closest I have found is the MS Reference licence
Left by Martin Hinshelwood on Dec 19, 2006 2:47 PM

# re: Looking for a better open-source license
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I had the exact same problem recently. I was using the CC license but it really isn't for software (and is rather long) so after talking to Scott Hanselman and a couple of others, I simply switched to the MIT license. BSD was another option, but I wasn't an organization so it didn't seem appropriate. I've now switched all my CodePlex projects over to the MIT license and I think it's for the better.
Left by Bil Simser on Apr 10, 2007 9:05 PM

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