Open source licences

How is software distributed?

There are many ways to distribute software.

  • Sharing source code of the software with the user
  • Sharing a compiled execuatable of the software with the user
  • Sharing access to software over the network
  • A combination of all of these approaches

What is a software license?

What distinguishes software distribution are the conditions under which a developer or corporation shares software with a user. Typically, the terms specify if and how the software can be copied, modified, redistributed, or commercialised. In most cases, these terms are wrapped in legal language in a document called a software licence.

Different types of software licenses

Software licenses can be generally divided into following types, but for a deeper overview please refer Wikipedia.

Propriatary software license

Freeware/ Shareware/ Freemium licence

Restrictive (copyleft) open source licence

What is copyleft?

Permissive open source license

Public domain software license