List of Licenses
In the table below, columns with green/orange/red color-coding indicate positive attributes, concerning attributes, and seriously concerning attributes, respectively, of those licenses. Columns with blue/purple/pink/gray color-coding indicate which indicate different types which are not clearly better than another type.
- Readability refers to whether it uses clear, plain language that even non-lawyers can understand. A few modern software licenses have been developed in the past two years which are written by lawyers in plain English and, compared to traditional licenses, are more legally complete and clarify some legal ambiguities which have caused issues in the open-source software world; however, they have not established a large user community yet.
- Patent Grant refers to whether the licensee is granted rights to make, use, or sell the licensed work.
- Modification Notices refers to whether the licensee is required to add notices listing each modification they make. While there can be huge administrative complexity and confusion for open-source projects/ecosystems to maintain these notices, they can also protect the reputations of risk-averse licensors if something goes wrong due to a modification made by a licensee.
- Reciprocality, for reciprocal licenses, refers to the requirements on a licensee after they make an adapted work using the licensed work.
- Cure Provision refers to whether a licensee who unknowingly violates the terms of the license (usually related to notices such as attribution or modification, or to reciprocality) has a legally-protected path to take corrective action to comply with the license before the license is permanently terminated for them.
Open-Source Licensing Options
List of License Combinations
The following pairings of software and hardware licenses make the most sense together for consistency between software and hardware licensing:
- Strongly Reciprocal:
- Weakly Reciprocal:
Any media which is not a source file for software or hardware (e.g. graphics, creative materials) can be licensed as either CC-BY or CC-BY-SA depending on whether the software & hardware licenses are permissive or reciprocal.
Open-Source License Combinations