Keep Your Open Source Licenses Straight

It’s hard to keep track of the ins and outs of the various open source licenses. I was putzing around online earlier today and came across a site that makes it easy to see the differences between them, though: The site is brought to you by GitHub, and it’s intended to help you pick an open source license for your open source project. What I like about it, though, is the list of open source licenses.

For each open source license, it shows you three categories of information: requirements, permitted, and forbidden. I’m nearly always working on closed source, commercial projects. In order to use open source software in my projects, they need to be permitted for commercial use and not have the requirement to disclose source code.’s list makes it easy to see which licenses do and don’t meet this criteria.

Of course, the list is not a complete one, so it doesn’t answer all open source license questions that you may run into, but it’s a nice resource, nonetheless. (Now it’s time for some good, common-sense legal advice! I’m not sure if there are lawyer’s reviewing the information at, and I do not know how correct any of the information truly is. I am not a lawyer. Make sure you do adequate research before making use of any open source projects in the software that you develop.)


Author: Adam Prescott

I'm enthusiastic and passionate about creating intuitive, great-looking software. I strive to find the simplest solutions to complex problems, and I embrace agile principles and test-driven development.

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