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Open source project license

Edward Chen
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 23, 2003
Posts: 798
Open source projects have different license, like

1. MIT,
2. Apache Software License
3. GNU General Public License (GPL)
4. Mozilla Public License
5. BSD

Anybody could have a brief introduction ? I want to pick up an open source project, modify and sell it, and keep the modified source code sealed and private, then which license will accept this ?

Is it right to post here in this forum ?

Pat Farrell

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659

You can't take open source code and make it closed source. You can make your modifications be closed. Depending on the license of the original code

GPL will not let you do this.

Apache and BSD are much more supporting of commercialization. But IANAL.
If you are serious about making serious money, you need to pay for legal opinions from someone qualified in the field. Be forewarned, not all lawyers know the ins and outs of intellectual propertly licensing. It will take serious money to get a real opinion.

Most(many?) commercial companies in the commercial space do not attempt to do this. What they do is keep the code open source, and sell support and consulting professional services. This is how IBM, RedHat, MySql, etc. work
Ulf Dittmer

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42965
I think all those licenses except the GPL allow you to do this. You will need to comply with the license rules regarding displaying copyright notices and attributions. But as Pat said, consult a lawyer specialized in IP on this. You can't base business decisions on hearsay picked up on the Internet, particularly on legal matters.
Rusty Shackleford
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 03, 2006
Posts: 490
Apple uses a ton of BSD'd code in OSX. You could and probably should talk to a lawyer, however, some of those licenses are so short and simple, you really don't need to for some of them, especially BSD. You could try these websites for basic legal info:
[ December 09, 2008: Message edited by: Rusty Shackleford ]

"Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes" - Edsger Dijkstra
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Open source project license
It's not a secret anymore!