Proper open source licensing

With the abundance of open source license options out there, it can be difficult for a new developer to choose between them. Fortunately, the OSI License Proliferation Committee has narrowed down the list to a recommendation of nine options:


  • Apache License, 2.0

  • Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL)

  • Common Public License (CPL)

  • Eclipse Public License (EPL)

  • GNU General Public License (GPL version 2, 3, or later)

  • GNU Library or "Lesser" General Public License (LGPL version 2, 3, or later)

  • MIT license (X11)

  • Mozilla Public License 1.1 (MPL)

  • New BSD license (3-clause)

As a general rule of thumb, if you have software that you've created that you want to freely share with the world and you don't care how it's used as long as someone doesn't later sue you or expect anything from you, use the "MIT (X11)" license. If you have software that you've created that you don't mind being used exclusively in open source projects (or private networks) but don't want it used in public commercial or proprietary projects, use the "GPLv3 or later" license. If you have software that you've created and you want to keep it all to yourself, indicate "All rights reserved." in the source code and don't publish your code anywhere public.

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