Comparison of free and open-source software licenses

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This is a comparison of published free software licenses.

General comparison[edit]

The following table compares various features of each license and is a general guide to the terms and conditions of each license.

Note that a "yes" in either of the last two columns (Link with code using a different license and Release changes under a different license) is not an absolute answer, there may still be restrictions in the license related to this action. You should review the specific license terms[1] and refer to the reference table[2] for more details regarding a "yes" in these columns. Also note that "no" in Link with code using a different license-column is not absolute, e.g. for GPL, see: GPL compatibility.

License Author Latest version Publication date Link with code using a different license Release changes under a different license
Academic Free License Lawrence E. Rosen 3 2002 Yes Yes
Affero GPL Free Software Foundation 3 2007 only AGPLv3 + GPLv3 No
Apache License Apache Software Foundation 2.0 2004 Yes Yes
Apple Public Source License Apple Computer 2.0 2003August 6, 2003 Yes No
Artistic License Larry Wall 2.0 2000 Yes With restrictions
Berkeley Database License Oracle Corporation ? 2008February 7, 2008 No No
BSD license Regents of the University of California ? ? Yes Yes
Boost Software License ? 1.0 2003August 17, 2003 Yes Yes
CeCILL CEA / CNRS / INRIA 2.0 2005May 21, 2005 No No
Common Development and Distribution License Sun Microsystems 1.0 2004-12December 1, 2004 Yes Yes
Code Project Open License The Code Project 1.0 2007 Yes No
Common Public License IBM 1.0 2001May 2001 Yes No
Cryptix General License Cryptix Foundation ? 1995 Yes Yes
Eclipse Public License Eclipse Foundation 1.0 2004-02February 2004 Yes No
Educational Community License ? 1.0 ? Yes Yes
Eiffel Forum License NICE 2 2002 Yes Yes
EUPL European Commission 1.1 2009January 2009 Yes With an explicit compatibility list
Fair Licence James W. Pye N/A 2004 Yes Yes
GNU General Public License Free Software Foundation 3.0 2007June 2007 No No
GNU Lesser General Public License Free Software Foundation 3.0 2007June 2007 Yes No
Hacktivismo Enhanced-Source Software License Agreement Hacktivismo/Cult of the Dead Cow ? 2002November 26, 2002 ? ?
IBM Public License IBM 1.0 1999August 1999 Yes Yes
Intel Open Source License Intel Corporation ? ? Yes Yes
ISC license Internet Systems Consortium ? 2003June 2003 Yes Yes
LaTeX Project Public License LaTeX project 1.3c ? Yes Yes
MIT license / X11 license MIT N/A[note 1] 1988 Yes Yes
Mozilla Public License Mozilla Foundation 2.0 2012January 3, 2012 Yes Limited
Netscape Public License Netscape 1.1 ? Yes Limited
OPaC Free Public License OPaC bright ideas  ? 1998 No No
Open Software License Lawrence Rosen 3.0 2005 Yes No
OpenSSL license OpenSSL Project ? ? Yes ?
PHP License PHP Group 3.01 ? Yes Yes
Public Domain N/A N/A N/A Yes Yes
Python Software Foundation License Python Software Foundation 2 ? Yes Yes
Q Public License Trolltech ? ? No No
Sun Industry Standards Source License Sun Microsystems ? ? Yes No
Sun Public License Sun Microsystems ? ? Yes No
Sybase Open Watcom Public License ? ? ? Yes No
W3C Software Notice and License ? ? ? Yes Yes
XCore Open Source License XMOS ? 2011February 2011 Yes Yes
XFree86 1.1 License ? ? ? Yes Yes
zlib/libpng license ? ? ? Yes Yes
Zope Public License Zope Foundation 2.1 ? Yes Yes
  1. ^ Was never revised.

Approvals[edit]

This table lists for each license what organizations from the free software community have approved it – be it as a "free software" or as an "open source" license – and how those organizations categorize it. Organizations usually approve specific versions of software licenses. FSF approval means that the Free Software Foundation (FSF) considers the license free software as they don't approve of proprietary software, however they also recommend that licenses be at least "Compatible with GPL" and preferably copyleft (usually).

License and specific version FSF "approval"[3] Compatible with GPL[4][5][6][7][8] OSI approval[1] Copyfree Initiative approval[9][10] Debian approval[11][12] Fedora Project approval[13]
Academic Free License Yes No Yes No ? Yes
Affero GPL version 3 Yes Yes[note 1] Yes No Yes Yes
Apache License version 1.1 and 1.0 Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
Apache License version 2 Yes Yes[note 1] Yes No Yes Yes
Apple Public Source License version 1.x No[14] No Yes No No No
Apple Public Source License version 2.0 Yes No Yes No No Yes
Artistic License 1.0 No[note 2] No Yes No Yes No
Artistic License 2.0 Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Berkeley Database License Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Original BSD license Yes No No[15] No Yes Yes
Modified BSD license Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Boost Software License Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
CeCILL Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Common Development and Distribution License Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
Common Public License Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
Creative Commons licenses (Tags: by & sa) Yes No ? No ≥ v3.0 only[16] Yes
Creative Commons licenses (Tags: nc & nd) No No No No No[16] by-nd only
Cryptix General License Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License (WTFPL) Yes[note 3] Yes No[17] Yes Yes Yes
Eclipse Public License Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
Educational Community License Yes Yes[note 1] Yes ? ? Yes
Eiffel Forum License version 2 Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes
Fair License ? Yes Yes Yes ? Yes
GNU General Public License Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
GNU Lesser General Public License Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Hacktivismo Enhanced-Source Software License Agreement No No No ? No No
IBM Public License Yes No Yes No[10] Yes Yes
Intel Open Source License Yes Yes Yes ? ? No
ISC license Yes[18] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
LaTeX Project Public License Yes No Yes No[10] Yes Yes
Microsoft Public License Yes No Yes Yes ? Yes
Microsoft Reciprocal License Yes No Yes No ? Yes
MIT license Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mozilla Public License version 1.1 Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
Mozilla Public License version 2.0 Yes Yes, unless marked "Incompatible with Secondary Licenses".[19] Yes No Yes Yes
Netscape Public License Yes No No ? ? Yes
Open Software License Yes No Yes ? No Yes
OpenSSL license Yes No No No Yes Yes
PHP License Yes No Yes No Yes v3.0/3.01 only, others are unknown
POV-Ray-License No No No ? No ?
Python Software Foundation License 2.0.1; 2.1.1 and newer Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Q Public License Yes No Yes ? No Yes
Reciprocal Public License 1.5 No No Yes ? ? No
Sun Industry Standards Source License Yes No Yes ? ? Yes
Sun Public License Yes No Yes ? ? Yes
Sybase Open Watcom Public License No No Yes ? No No
W3C Software Notice and License Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
XFree86 1.1 License Yes Yes[note 1] No ? ? ?
zlib/libpng license Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Zope Public License version 1.0 Yes No ? No ? Yes
Zope Public License version 2.0 Yes Yes Yes No ? Yes
  1. ^ a b c d Compatible with version 3 of the GPL but not version 2.
  2. ^ The original version of the Artistic License is defined as non-free because it is overly vague, not because of the substance of the license. The FSF encourages projects to use the Clarified Artistic License instead. [1]
  3. ^ Listed as WTFPL

Article comparison[20][edit]

License Version Include license Include source Linking State changes Commercial use Distribution Modification Patent grant Private use Sublicensing No liability No trademark
Apache License 2.0 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
BSD 3-Clause License Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
BSD 2-Clause License Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
GNU General Public License 2.0 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
GNU General Public License 3.0 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
GNU Lesser General Public License 2.1 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
GNU Lesser General Public License 3.0 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
MIT License Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mozilla Public License 2.0 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Eclipse Public License 1.0 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Affero General Public License Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Generic copyright [note 1] Yes Yes No No Yes No
  1. ^ For comparison purposes: Copyright [year] [fullname]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Open Source Initiative. "The Approved Licenses". License Information. Open Source Initiative. 
  2. ^ Rusin, Zack. "Open Source Licenses Comparison". Retrieved 2006-10-16. 
  3. ^ Free Software Foundation. "Various Licenses and Comments about Them". Licenses. Free Software Foundation. 
  4. ^ Free Software Foundation. "To be GPL-Compatible has to be compatible with Licenses GNU GPLv3 and GNU GPLv2 – Free Software Foundation". Software Licenses. Free Software Foundation. 
  5. ^ Free Software Foundation. "GPL-Compatible Free Software Licenses – Free Software Foundation". Software Licenses. Free Software Foundation. 
  6. ^ Free Software Foundation. "GPL-Incompatible Free Software Licenses – Free Software Foundation". Software Licenses. Free Software Foundation. 
  7. ^ Free Software Foundation. "GPL-compatible Definition by FSF – Free Software Foundation". GPL-compatible Definition. Free Software Foundation. 
  8. ^ Free Software Foundation. "GPL-compatible Definition previous version by FSF – Free Software Foundation". GPL-compatible Definition. Free Software Foundation. 
  9. ^ Copyfree Initiative. "Copyfree Licenses". Copyfree Initiative. 
  10. ^ a b c "Rejected Licenses". CopyFree Initiative. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  11. ^ Debian. "Debian – License information". Licenses. Debian. 
  12. ^ "The DFSG and Software Licenses". Debian wiki. 
  13. ^ Fedora. "Licensing – FedoraProject". Licenses. Fedora Project. 
  14. ^ "Apple Public Source License (APSL), version 1.x". Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  15. ^ "3-clause BSD License at OSI". 
  16. ^ a b "DFSGLicenses". 
  17. ^ "OSI Board Meeting Minutes, Wednesday, March 4, 2009". 
  18. ^ Free Software Foundation. "A Quick Guide to GPLv3". Licenses. Free Software Foundation. 
  19. ^ Mozilla Foundation. "MPL 2.0 FAQ". Licenses. Mozilla Foundation. 
  20. ^ Github, Inc. "Licenses - ChooseALicense.com". Retrieved 2014-05-31.