3 Most Used Open Source Licenses You Need to Know

20 August 2015

Glasgow: As we all know, the web community is known for its desire to share. We don’t just share the experiences or exchange our thoughts and help each other with the projects, but also share some sublime codes. But when you build a piece of software, it will automatically be protected by copyright which means nobody else will be able to distribute, reproduce or create any derivatives out of it.

This would also lead to a situation where nobody except you can use it; but this collapses the main purpose of sharing it. So how would we share that without any issues of copyrights and licensing? If you want your work to be used by others and you also want to protect it in some way, here are a few options you can consider for licensing your work.

MIT License

  • MIT License allows others to make use of your code the way they want if they provide you the attribution.
  • In order to use the license, you will have to include a copyright notice along with the license copy in your code. The license states nothing but the code is provided as it is and you will not be liable for any damages.
  • Using this license, you must be ready to see your creation being used by others without making the source available which means you might not be able to make the changes upstream (Someone can build a proprietary using your open source software).

Apache 2.0 License

  • Apache 2.0 is somewhat similar to MIT license but it also provides an express grant of patent rights to the users. Apache 2.0 clearly states that the one who is using your software will not be able to use your trademarks and logos in the derivative.
  • Here in Apache 2.0 also you need to include the copyright notice along with a license copy. Also, you need to mention it if you are planning to create a derivative with some significant changes made in the code.
  • The code here will be provided as it is and you will not be liable for any damages.    
  • The code is provided as is and you, as the creator, can't be held liable for damages.

GNU General Public License v3 (GPL3)

  • GPL3 is basically aCopyleft’ license which means the license requires modified versions of the code to carry out the same license conditions as the original. So placing GPL3 on your works is just that you are asking those who are distributing their own versions of the code to use the same license. 
  • Using GPL3 is same as using the above two licenses; you will have to include a copyright notice along with the license copy. Also, you need to make the source code available when the software is released.   
  • Again here, the code is provided as it is and you will not be liable for any damages.

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