Last week I listened to Coding Blocks for the first time and I really liked the show. So I’m digging into their archive and today it’s Coding Blocks episode 5, We Still Don’t Understand Open Source Licensing.

I don’t have anything released as open source, not yet, but I’m using a lot of stuff. This show give a very good overview of the different licenses that are out there and how important it is to know what they mean. Now I really understand why some companies doesn’t allow open source in their applications.

If you release code under open source you should really think what license you use. GPL for example is very restrictive and I can see business not using code released under it since it might force them to share business secrets and intellectual property.

I think you should always consider to add a commercial license to your open source project. That way you may get a wider spread with companies using it and also an income from your project. If big companies are using it they will most probably also give back to the project even if they bought a commercial license.

What strikes me as very weird is that a company can sue another company for not sharing their code when using open source under GPL and get a money or the code. The lawsuit itself is not weird, what’s weird is that the creator is not even involved, it’s probably just a competitor. That is to me plain stupid. But I’m not from the USA, I’m from Sweden. Here we can’t just sue people when we feel like it. Lawsuits in USA have become ridiculous.

Open source is not free and we should always give back but at the same time there need to be some logic and reason behind it so think an extra time before selecting a license for your project.

My favorite license is the Beerware License. 🙂