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Open Source Licenses

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Updated 2007-01-07 14:04

Summary

Memorize terminology surrounding open source licenses, software, and projects.

Terms

These are very informal descriptions of terms people often use when discussing open source licenses and software. Many licenses and organizations define these terms differently and/or more precisely.

Terms I

TermOverview
Sourcesource code - files created by programmers using a programming language
Open Source (software)source code that can be used, studied, changed, and redistributed
Redistributiongiving software to another party (possibly with modifications)
Forkproject started by modifying another project's source
Shared Sourcesource can be obtained, but with restrictions
memorize

Terms II

TermOverview
Free Softwareterm similar to 'open source'
Proprietary / Closed Sourcetraditional software with unobtainable source
Copyrightmost open source licenses derive their power from copyright law
Copyleftrequires redistributions to be open source
Permissivepermitting most options - usually including proprietary forking
memorize

Acronyms

Question Answer
OSIOpen Source Initiative
OSDOpen Source Definition
GPLGeneral Public License
LGPLLesser General Public License
GNUGNU's Not Unix (it's a "recursive" acronym)
FSFFree Software Foundation
BSDBerkely Software Distribution
memorize

Projects

Question Answer
License of LinuxGPL
License of JavaGPL
License of FirefoxMozilla
License of Apache web serverApache License
License of BSD UnixBSD License
Most popular open source licenseGPL
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People and Groups

Person/GroupOverview
Linus Torvaldscreated Linux
Richard Stallmancreated GPL / leader of GNU/FSF
SourceForgeweb site that hosts open source projects
GNU/FSFcreated the GPL
Open Source Initiativegroup which created OSD, and approves open source licenses
Open Source DefinitionOSI's detailed definition of open source
Microsoftadvocates Shared Source
Free Software Foundationgroup affiliated with GNU
memorize

Licenses

Question Answer
GPLPopular copyleft license
LGPLLike LGPL but allows linking with proprietary apps
X11 LicenseVery simple permissive license (also called "MIT License")
BSD licensePermissive license
Apache LicensePermissive license
Mozilla Public LicensePermissive license
memorize