Talk:Open-source license

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While software in the public domain may conform with the principles put forth by the open source community (assuming the source is available), this article aims to deal with licenses considered to be open source (and specifically with those approved by the Open Source Intitiative). Since public domain software is under no license, I removed it from the list. -- Stephen Gilbert

No. Open source licenses do not have to be approved by the OSI to be open source or legitimate. There were many open-source licenses before the OSI, and many in use now that are not OSI approved. Please don't conflate the two. The article is correct in its statement that the OSI-approved licenses are just one subset of those available. CC0, for example, qualifies as open source and is GPL-compatible, but does not have official OSI-approval (as of right now. Not sure if approval has been sought.) --1typesetter 08:26, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Public domain software is explicitly approved as "open source" by the OSI, and it is listed along with other licenses in their own literature, so I've put it back. --LDC

They seem to be awfully quite about PD software over at OSI. I was halfway through a response saying how I couldn't find any references to PD software on their webpage, when I came across the change history of the Open Source Definition: 1.2 – added public-domain to clause 10., and 1.4 – Now explicit about source code requirement for PD software. It isn't, however, listed on their "approved licenses" page, which threw me off. And so, your revision stands. I'll just add that the source code must be available. -- Stephen Gilbert

I think we should create a seperate page for the list because in my point of view, it seems that the list is the biggest part of the article and it seems that attention has been made to that and not the rest of the article, i suggest it becomes a list --Saint-Paddy 22:48, 25 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Various incorrect assertions[edit]

The article currently states "Some open source licenses only permit modification of the source code for personal use or only permit non-commercial redistribution." This is not true: no open source license has such restrictions (if it does, it's not open source). Also, it is not true that "most" free software licenses require sharing of source code (only a few of them do). In fact, the set of free software licenses is almost exactly the same as the set of open source licenses; there was one edge case once, in a rarely-used license if I remember correctly, where it could maybe be said to be one but not the other. In normal practice, though, any license that is a free software license is also an open source license, and vice versa. No citations are given for the aforementioned and other incorrect assertions in the article; the external references do not support them. IMHO it just needs a complete rewrite. I'm sorry I don't have time to do it, but I wanted to at least drop a note here that this article needs work. --Karl Fogel 20:01, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Comparison Link broken[edit]

When I tried the link to the comparison of open source licenses, it did not work. May be a transient error, but if it persists an alternate link should be found, or it should be removed -- 13:58, 27 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Solaris and open source[edit]

I've removed two references to Solaris, one because it was obsolete and the other because it wasn't clear why it was there at all.

The first was under "Non-OSI source licenses". Sun briefly had a non-OSI release of some Solaris 8 source but that's long gone. The Solaris end-user license does not confer access to source.

The second was

Some software licenses define an open standard basis and may or may not be similar to open source, like some versions of Solaris and PGP.

If this means "source code has been released that itself defines an open standard" that doesn't fit Solaris, since Solaris is based on open standards, not the other way around. Using it as an example here also opens a can of worms as to whether Solaris itself is open source, or just shares a code base with the open-source OpenSolaris project; I don't think it's worth taking this article down that path when better examples must be available. So, I changed the line to only refer to PGP. --NapoliRoma 00:41, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Merge into comparison of free software licences?[edit]

I just found an article which contains the content of list of FSF approved software licences and this article, and the data is even formatted nicely. Seems like a good idea to merge these two articles into comparison of free software licences. Yes, no? --Gronky 12:42, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Yes Adleecya Graham (talk) 05:58, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

Creative Commons, etc?[edit]

I often wonder, and I guess many other do to, why the creative commons licenses aren't open source. I recognise that this is a page about OSI stuff, but it would be useful to have a section detailing why other major free licenses aren't approved by OSI, especially creative commons licenses. -- (talk) 11:39, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't know why there hasn't been an OSI approval - maybe it has simply never been suggested , but some CC licenses are indeed open source - fsf thinks so; for instance - - lists CC-BY and CC-BY-SA as free. Their definition of free is virtually identical to OSI criteria, so I doubt OSI would have a differing conclusion Aryah (talk) 01:30, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

The CC didn't want to compete with the OSI and so they discouraged the use of CC licenses for source code. With the recent advent of CC0 for source code that has perhaps begun to change. --1typesetter 08:26, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Flaw in Export Regulations Clauses[edit]

As far as I know, no much-used OS License, and only one or two OS derived licenses for government agencies or corporations, takes explicit and easily understood notice of the following situation: a U.S. based software originator transfers OS material, under an OS License, to a party in a 2nd country (neither the U.S. nor a U.S. Export Regulations proscribed country.) This 2nd party then transfers the same or modified material, still under the OS License of origin, to a 3rd party who is a resident or a citizen. The 2nd party is not constrained by U.S. Export Regulations.

A few of the much-used OS Licenses implicitly forbid this 2nd->3rd party transfer, but the language is so indirect that most 2nd parties would either miss it completely or fail to understand it.

Why would anyone care? Perhaps because the 1st party would have violated U.S. Export regulations. But to my mind more importantly: because in order to grow the OS movement and expand its scope in a productive way, some developers and OS community folks would like to engage government and corporate entities in the OS movement. These entities are not likely to come in unless they can fully satisfy U.S. Export Regulations, both because they provide static targets for litigation under those regulations, and because they are likely to believe that their own clientele and potential development contributors may wish to have, at one and the same time, the greatest freedom in their contributions, and a clear commitment that their contributions will not violate the intentions of the regulations.

For those that do care, I would appreciate any comments, or suggestions as to the minimal but easily understandable additions or edits to existing OS Licenses that would clear the flaw. Schwenn (talk) 16:34, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Article talk pages aren't intended for use in discussing the subject matter in itself. However, in this case I think you're mistaken. The issue is explicitly addressed by the GPL, which says that any distribution restrictions over and above those in the GPL mean a revocation of the right to use or distribute the code at all. This is why until recently any cryptographic code in free software was developed and held outwith the US. If you have further questions on this issue I'd advise you to seek expert advice. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 17:23, 3 July 2008 (UTC)


I resynced the categories with the OSI ( It is important to remember that we must follow their lead on the categories (if we are to categorize at all). Anything else would be original research. Superm401 - Talk 05:07, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

libpng license[edit]

The current status of the libpng license - referred to on the page as the "libpng/zlib license" is unclear because of the addition of the UCITA clause to the license around 2000. I suggest a new category is required - "modified versions of OSI approved licenses", or something like that.

Jbowler (talk) 16:25, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 16:19, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Open source licenseOpen-source license — like Open-source software — Neustradamus () 19:31, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


I do not understand how to find and us those bracket boxes. Someone please add a bias bracket box. This article is flat out wrong it is so biased. Open source does not automatically mean free. Companies can and do release source code while still charging for licensing and releasing the software under proprietary licenses. Open source is opening up the code to customers and the public. Free licensing is allowing end users to modify and distribute the program. One does not automatically equal the other. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:24, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Can you provide the references for the use of the term 'open source' that follow your definition? Because this isn't how the terminology evolved (or how I've ever seen it used). See History of open source . Sources there name the exact participants , date and motivation of the exact session where the term was created (open sourcing of Netscape - now Firefox etc) and it was precisely a conscious rebranding of free software. I will remove your NPOV template - but if you still feel its biased after reading about the term, please reinsert it. Aryah (talk) 00:05, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

But speaking of bias is it fair to say that identifying free and open source licences as the same is just a common misconception and a confusion propagated by free software advocates? the article itself notes the 'significant overlap' of the two categories, and the overlap is frankly more than significant, the lists differ in only a few cases, and the definitions of the two organizations don't differ in criteria for approval? Won't edit this just yet, but I might try softening the rethoric of that paragraph unless there are objections. Aryah (talk) 18:14, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

This doesn't really add on to the previous discussion but I find that the way the article currently reads seems biased, primarily the "benefits of open-source" section. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for open-source software, but the way that section is written makes it feel really pro-open-source, without writing the disadvantages. I'm thinking either adding a "disadvantages" section (which would be hard for me personally because I can't think of any) or just removing the benefit section entirely. It could just be me though so I dunno. eva2pare[talk] 19:33, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

distinguish tag[edit]

I am unsure if the distinguish tag should be included as it implies a strong distinction which is not supported by the article. The few sites addressing the difference between free software and open source tend to only claim a very minor difference in approved licenses. This makes me wonder if the tag doesn't do us a disservice by strongly proclaiming in the top that the two types are not to be confused with!. I am personally going to sleep on it for a bit before doing any change to it. Belorn (talk) 08:30, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Decided against having the distinguish tag, given how WP:distinguish describes how the tag should be used. The relation between Open source licenses and Free software licenses should instead be mentioned in the lead. Belorn (talk) 17:56, 22 April 2012 (UTC)