[CentOS] trying to understand OSS, GPL, BSD & other licensing model for software distribution.

Frank Cox theatre at sasktel.net
Wed Oct 7 09:19:15 UTC 2009


On Wed, 07 Oct 2009 10:01:00 +0200
Rudi Ahlers wrote:

> But they don't have a commercial version of the same project. So I
> want to know how do I license the commercial scripts with this in
> mind? i.e. if I license them as GPL, do I need to disclose the source
> code? Cause we're going to encrypt the additional commercial code of
> the software.

It's my understanding that you, as the sole author of the software, can license
it in any way that you choose.

So you can have, for example, a GPL version and a proprietary version and those
versions can be as similar or different as you wish them to be.

You would have to provide the source code for the GPL version, otherwise what
would be the point?

You could have a proprietary version that you release on any terms that you
wish; if you don't want to release the source code for that then you would not
have to.

If an "outsider" makes a modification to your GPL program then he has two
choices:  Keep it to himself (within his own company, for example) or release
it to the big wide world.  If he chooses to release it, then his modification
would also be GPL.  You could not force a user to give you his modification if
he didn't actually release it and kept it in-house exclusively for his own use,
though.

If this occurred, then you would have the same rights as everyone else to
include his modification in the GPL version of your program.  But you wouldn't
have the right to include his modification in your proprietary version of the
program, even if the proprietary version of the program was 100% identical to
the GPL version.  If you really wanted to include his modification in your
proprietary version of the program you would have to enter into a separate
agreement with him to do so.  Note that this is a completely different
requirement from the automatic "right to include" that comes with the GPL
version of the program.

Another factor that you need to be aware of is the licensing requirements of
whatever you're using for a "base".  For example, it's my understanding that
MySQL requires that you license all of your projects as GPL unless you purchase
a commercial license from them.

-- 
MELVILLE THEATRE ~ Melville Sask ~ http://www.melvilletheatre.com


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