Sunday, October 26, 2008

Open Source Licensing

Yesterday we had a meeting with Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana founder/CEO of WSO2 where we were in a position to know lot about open source licensing. We happened to know lot about how a particular license would obtain and how to donate to a particular project having different license like Apache2 and GPL V3 etc. With having GPL license a particular project is like a gift from the inventors to the community which serves for further improvement. If they add new stuff or modify some code they have to give it back the inventor. Those are the main stuff we focused yesterday.

I will explain bit about open source licensing a bit further. An open source license is a copyright license for computer software that makes the source code available under terms that allow for modification and redistribution without having to pay the original author. Such licenses may have additional restrictions such as a requirement to preserve the name of the authors and the copyright statement within the code. One popular (and sometimes considered normative) set of open source software licenses are those approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) based on their Open Source Definition (OSD).

Licensing is more critical for developers. The beauty of the open source license is its assignment of copyright (and patents, if held by the author) to the end user and re-distributor without compensation. Thus, for example, the Web professional can leverage an application at no cost, use it in the course of commercial business, and profit by it in interactions with their customers.

Often, in the course of their work, developers discover that the software doesn't quite meet their needs: it lacks a given capability. To resolve the problem, the developers may decide to build new functionality. This is the epitome of the open source license: there are no strings attached! The new, modified solution can be redistributed under the original license (or separate from it, as we will see shortly) depending on the license selection. The result of this exercise is that hundreds of new open source software packages are available at large.

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