Industry news: open source - implication of using it?
- Posted by: Chris Allen
- Posted on: August 01 2003 12:08 EDT
Ok - please dont flame me if I am in the wrong forum :)
I am just a confused developer who heard that using an Open Source product meant that we coud not charge for the product we build using it... and that when we use open source in a product, it means that we have to make our product open source too...
is this true... so much stuff going on bout IPR, Patents blah blah.... i am totally confused. If anyone could throw light on the 2 points mentioned above, i'd be ever so grateful :)
It depends entirely on the exact license the Open Source product is using.
The least restrictive licenses are Apache/BSD-style licenses. These pretty much ask that you give credit back to the original developers, but not much else. "LGPL" is somewhat similar, but does have restrictions in use. GPL is generally the most restrictive, in that if you link into GPL source or modify GPL source, you must in turn disclose your own source. In all the cases you can sell your product in turn, but in GPL or GPL-like cases you must make the source code available for free or for a nominal charge only.
So you can't give a general answer, since it all dependson the exact license (and my summary above is _only_ a summary - at the very least, do google searches on the net on "GPL", "BSD style license", etc for details).
Most open source is licensed in such a way to help you make profit, by charging for your product and including the free open source
(Ex: PostgreSQL, Tomcat, Struts, JSTL, iBatis DB Layer, etc.)
You have to "open" your source for any modifications to the original open source software itself. E.g., download OS-project-XX, modify it and build an app on it. Open source licenses require you to make the source for the modification available to anyone and everyone, but, allow you to keep the application source code to yourself.
No open source license forces you to open your code, and, no open source license allows you to make a private modification to open source code.
See The Open Source Definition and Open Source Approved Licenses