Comparison of Software Licenses

******This document is under development*******

People who have been around Open Software tend to develop very strong opinions about licenses. Beginners don't worry about them as much since they are more concerned with finishing the task at hand and don't understand the long term implications of choosing software with one license over another (it is doubtful that there many people who understand the nuances of licensing that don't have strong opinions on the matter).

Over the years a number of licenses have gained prominence as they give software authors the type of control over their creations that most developers desire. It is still common to find software that has no copyright visible or contains a unique license developer by the author. The last can be quite annoying to distributors of software (both on-line and people who create CDs) as many of these licenses contain common mistakes which make the software difficult to distribute.

What follows is a list of common Free (Open) software licenses and some good and bad points of each. Only the points in the license relevant to the discussion are shown. Also, many points are listed under the heading "GOOD/BAD". These are points that can be either good or bad, depending on your point of view.

Some common mistakes in self-written licenses: