open source licenses

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

So I'm finally to the point where I realize that I'm going to have to
release some code sometime soon. I have a few questions about licenses;
I've never really followed them and let's just pretend that I don't know
anything about their differences. I've read
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/ but still don't understand the
nuances. I can't seem to find anything that's just a simple summary of
the different open source licenses.

My biggest question is: Does the license I release under ever affect
what I, as the copywrite holder of my code, can do with it later? Can I
use my own code that I've GPL'ed and include it in code of my that has
another license, or even (my own) proprietary code?

--
Jim Strathmeyer
19 answers Last reply
More about open source licenses
  1. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    Jim Strathmeyer wrote:
    > So I'm finally to the point where I realize that I'm going to have to
    > release some code sometime soon.

    Why?

    > Can I
    > use my own code that I've GPL'ed and include it in code of my that has
    > another license, or even (my own) proprietary code?

    Yes, if you release the code under no license at all (public domain).
    If you put it under GPL you lose all your rights to anything.
  2. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    >Yes, if you release the code under no license at all (public domain).
    >If you put it under GPL you lose all your rights to anything.

    Whatever.
    You can always re-release your own creation under whatever license you
    want.

    Cheers,
    T.
  3. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    On 29 May 2005 13:46:07 -0700, "Krice" <paulkp@mbnet.fi> wrote:

    >Jim Strathmeyer wrote:
    >> So I'm finally to the point where I realize that I'm going to have to
    >> release some code sometime soon.
    >
    >Why?
    >
    >> Can I
    >> use my own code that I've GPL'ed and include it in code of my that has
    >> another license, or even (my own) proprietary code?
    >
    >Yes, if you release the code under no license at all (public domain).
    >If you put it under GPL you lose all your rights to anything.

    Wrong. If you put your code under the GPL, you place very specific
    limitations to what others can do with it. GPL'd software is still
    copyrighted, and the copyright owners OWN THE SOFTWARE. Simple.

    Here are unofficial human-readable summaries of the GPL and the LGPL:
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/GPL/2.0/
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/LGPL/2.1/

    And, as konijn_ pointed out, you're the owner of the code - it's *yours*
    to do with as you will. There is no sane open source license that
    prevents the creator from doing what s/he pleases with his/her stuff.
    --
    auric underscore underscore at hotmail dot com
    *****
    Well, it just seemed wrong to cheat on an ethics test.
    -- Calvin
  4. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    Jim Strathmeyer wrote:

    > Can I
    > use my own code that I've GPL'ed and include it in code of my that has
    > another license, or even (my own) proprietary code?

    Yes. It's your code.

    The key difference between the two most popular licenses - GNU and BSD -
    is what *others* may do with your code.

    In simple terms, with the GPL you're agreeing to share your code, but
    only with those who likewise agree to share any code they write that's
    based on yours. With the BSD you're giving a gift with no restrictions.

    sherm--

    --
    Cocoa programming in Perl: http://camelbones.sourceforge.net
    Hire me! My resume: http://www.dot-app.org
  5. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    Krice wrote:

    > If you put it under GPL you lose all your rights to anything.

    That's completely false. Have you actually *read* the GPL?

    sherm--

    --
    Cocoa programming in Perl: http://camelbones.sourceforge.net
    Hire me! My resume: http://www.dot-app.org
  6. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    "Krice" <paulkp@mbnet.fi> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
    news:1117399567.944733.44250@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
    [snip]

    >> Can I
    >> use my own code that I've GPL'ed and include it in code of my that has
    >> another license, or even (my own) proprietary code?
    >
    > Yes, if you release the code under no license at all (public domain).
    > If you put it under GPL you lose all your rights to anything.

    Totally wrong. You can release your own code under as many licenses as you
    please. You don't lose any rights if you release it under the GPL.

    copx
  7. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    Jim Strathmeyer wrote:
    > So I'm finally to the point where I realize that I'm going to have to
    > release some code sometime soon. I have a few questions about licenses;
    > I've never really followed them and let's just pretend that I don't know
    > anything about their differences. I've read
    > http://www.opensource.org/licenses/ but still don't understand the
    > nuances. I can't seem to find anything that's just a simple summary of
    > the different open source licenses.
    >
    > My biggest question is: Does the license I release under ever affect
    > what I, as the copywrite holder of my code, can do with it later? Can I
    > use my own code that I've GPL'ed and include it in code of my that has
    > another license, or even (my own) proprietary code?
    >
    > --
    > Jim Strathmeyer

    I suggest dual licencing - standart GPL for code and something like
    Creative commons for world and other data.

    --
    Petr
  8. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    Krice wrote:
    > Jim Strathmeyer wrote:
    >
    >>So I'm finally to the point where I realize that I'm going to have to
    >>release some code sometime soon.
    >
    >
    > Why?
    >
    >
    >>Can I
    >>use my own code that I've GPL'ed and include it in code of my that has
    >>another license, or even (my own) proprietary code?
    >
    >
    > Yes, if you release the code under no license at all (public domain).
    > If you put it under GPL you lose all your rights to anything.

    Uh, that's not true. If you keep a version of your code that
    doesn't have any changes in it that don't originate with you,
    then you can release that version under any license you want,
    even if you've previously released versions under the GPL.

    The sticky point is that if you incorporate the copyrighted,
    GPL'd work of other people into your code (that is, you take
    patches from other developers) then you can't take their work
    and release it under a different license without their
    permission.

    So let's say I release a roguelike game under GPL, and then
    Steve submits a patch (also under GPL) that fixes a bug in my
    FOV code. If I ever want to release under a different license
    after that, I have to dike out Steve's code and replace it with
    code I personally wrote before I do so.

    Bear
  9. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    Jim Strathmeyer wrote:
    > So I'm finally to the point where I realize that I'm going to have
    > to release some code sometime soon. I have a few questions about
    > licenses; I've never really followed them and let's just pretend
    > that I don't know anything about their differences. I've read
    > http://www.opensource.org/licenses/ but still don't understand the
    > nuances. I can't seem to find anything that's just a simple
    > summary of the different open source licenses.
    >
    > My biggest question is: Does the license I release under ever
    > affect what I, as the copywrite holder of my code, can do with it
    > later? Can I use my own code that I've GPL'ed and include it in
    > code of my that has another license, or even (my own) proprietary
    > code?

    No; so long as all of the code in the project is either written by
    you or from a public domain source, you can do whatever you want with
    it. Other people can't, though, so you use a license to give them
    permission to do some things - to redistribute, to modify, etc. Once
    you've given people permission to do something in a license, you
    can't take it back. However, you can still release future versions
    under a different license; but the old license still applies to the
    old versions.

    So, a brief summary of the licenses you may be considering:

    "BSD" license - People can do anything _except_ take your name out of
    the credits/readme/etc. In particular, someone could take a BSD-
    licensed program and make a closed source version of it, legally.

    GPL - If someone publishes a modified version, they must provide the
    source code and they can't change the license. (The license can still
    with the consent of all the authors.) Note that copy-pasting one
    function does count as "a modified version", so you can't copy-paste
    code from a GPL'ed project to a non-GPL'ed project without getting
    separate permission from the author.

    LGPL ("Lesser" or "library" GPL) - Like the GPL, except that if you
    combine it with non-GPL'ed parts, you don't have to relicense the
    non-GPL'ed parts. So if you use license X and libRandomDungeon uses
    the LGPL, and you use libRandomDungeon, you need to include source
    code for any changes you make to libRandomDungeon but the rest of the
    project is still yours to do as you want. (You do need to acknowledge
    libRandomDungeon in your readme.)

    Note that none of these licenses ever stops you or anyone else from
    leaving code unpublished; the licenses only kick in when code is
    distributed. And remember that these licenses apply to you too, any
    time you copy code from a project that's under one of them. (Copying
    *ideas*, by the way, doesn't cause any licenses to kick in; you can
    take ideas from pretty much any source, period.)

    There are quite a few other licenses not mentioned here, but they are
    mostly equivalent to the ones mentioned above.

    --
    CalcRogue: TI-89, TI-92+, PalmOS, Windows and Linux.
    http://calcrogue.jimrandomh.org/
  10. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    Please do enlighten me, and teach me about those restrictions.
    I must be missing something ?

    Cheers,
    T.
  11. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    Jim Strathmeyer wrote:

    > My biggest question is: Does the license I release under ever affect
    > what I, as the copywrite holder of my code, can do with it later? Can I
    > use my own code that I've GPL'ed and include it in code of my that has
    > another license, or even (my own) proprietary code?

    The biggest restriction is that you can't "undo" your
    release, under whatever license.

    That means that if something has users who are licensed
    to use it under license A, and you then release under
    license B, you can't retroactively unlicense all the
    people who have license A, unless license A provides a
    way for them to become unlicensed users. Commercial
    software licenses these days often have language that
    says your license to use something expires if you don't
    make regular subscription payments; the GPL lacks such
    a provision, so software once licensed under the GPL
    is always licensed under the GPL.

    In practice, this means you can't give somebody an
    "exclusive" license after you've already released it
    under a "nonexclusive" license. The GPL is a
    nonexclusive license.

    But as long as it's your own work (no contributions by
    other authors whose contributions are licensed to *YOU*
    only via GPL) you can still release it under different
    license terms, or with support for pay, or whatever
    you want, even if it's also available under GPL. And
    you can make later versions ("derivative works") of your
    own stuff and you don't have to release them under GPL.

    Bear
  12. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    Ray Dillinger wrote:

    > The sticky point is that if you incorporate the copyrighted,
    > GPL'd work of other people into your code (that is, you take
    > patches from other developers) then you can't take their work
    > and release it under a different license without their
    > permission.
    >
    > So let's say I release a roguelike game under GPL, and then
    > Steve submits a patch (also under GPL) that fixes a bug in my
    > FOV code. If I ever want to release under a different license
    > after that, I have to dike out Steve's code and replace it with
    > code I personally wrote before I do so.

    Unless Steve agrees to sign over his copyright to you, in which case
    you can then proceed to do what you want with the code, as it is
    legally "yours." There's no way to force him to do so, however.
    Making inclusion of his patch conditional on signing over copyright
    works, from the perspective that your codebase has a single copyright
    holder at all times, but it does not prevent Steve from refusing to
    play and forking your GPL'ed code + his patch into a new project.
  13. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    Gerry Quinn wrote:

    > The GPL FAQ has this, though:
    >
    [snip]
    > Can the developer of a program who distributed it under the GPL later
    > license it to another party for exclusive use?
    >
    > No, because the public already has the right to use the program under
    > the GPL, and this right cannot be withdrawn."
    >
    > My guess is that a modified version could be licensed exclusively by
    > the developer, but I would advise making sure of it.

    The keyword here is "exclusive". It's not very logically sound to say
    "you're the only one who may use this program" while there's an OSS
    counterpart in the wild. I would venture a wild guess that this holds
    true for all open source licenses and not just GPL.

    IANAL, but I still know that GPL'ed code remains a copyrighted work. The
    GPL is a _license_ from the author to use, modify and distribute the
    code under certain terms, with no actual passing of ownership. Saying
    that you lose your rights to your code under GPL is, quite frankly, what
    I'd consider talking out of your rear end.

    In a GPL'ed project with many contributors, the various bits and pieces
    of code are still owned by their respective authors, hence it's
    typically not easy to relicense one. In theory you could still relicense
    Linux under, say, the Microsoft Windows EULA, but you'd have to get the
    consent of all contributors, not all of whom would likely be willing. I
    like to call that "fair play".

    To my knowledge, the FSF hasn't attacked any of the numerous
    double-licensing schemes out there so far. It's understandable that they
    don't want to make it their selling point, however, seeing as their goal
    is to promote completely free software.

    --
    Aki Rossi
  14. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    konijn_ wrote:
    > Please do enlighten me, and teach me about those restrictions.
    > I must be missing something ?

    Well, if you take for example a function from GPL'ed source and use
    it in your project, you are forced to release your source, because
    it's a "derivative" work. It has nothing to do with free, open
    source (=public domain). It's a restriction, which prevents many
    people using GPL'ed stuff, because they want to keep their source
    closed. Of course, if you don't follow the rules, then you don't use
    GPL. I just think the whole thing about "free & open" source is a
    load of poo in the case of GPL. I guess it's the american way
    of thinking the word "free":)
  15. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    Where did you get the *stupid* idea that free software and/or open
    source equals public domain? Public domain source code is free
    software, that does not mean that the reverse is true. If you want free
    as in "I can parazite this" there is still free software under the BSD
    and MIT licenses and even some public domain.
  16. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    >>> It's restricted source.
    >konijn_ wrote:
    >> Please do enlighten me, and teach me about those restrictions.
    >> I must be missing something ?

    >Well, if you take for example a function from GPL'ed source and use
    >it in your project, you are forced to release your source, because
    >it's a "derivative" work.

    Ah, restrictions for the user of the code, not the author.
    That wasnt very clear. I am not sure Jim will have issues with this,
    also please remember that the LGPL exists as well.

    T.
  17. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    Christophe napisał(a):
    [...]
    >
    > The important part of the above point is that the rights can't be
    > *withdrawn*. You have all liberties to licence the code in anyway you
    > want. What you can't do is say : "erase all copies of the code because
    > I've sold the exclusive rights to some other person out there"

    And there is nothing wrong in it. Saying such thing would be worth
    condemnation.

    --
    Milesss
    m i l e s s s @ i n t e r i a . p l
    www.milesss.mylog.pl
    "/0"
  18. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    On Thu, 02 Jun 2005 01:17:53 +0000, Ray Dillinger wrote:
    <snip sad story>
    > So, hey, for myself I'm a bit wary these days of giving
    > anything to the public domain.

    I feel really sorry for you, that kind of thievery/behavior is really
    annoying.

    I have a similar experience, though not so big one as yours.

    For a MUD I played, I did a 'bot (set of MUD client triggers and macros to
    play for me the tedious parts), I handed it over to many players. After a
    year or so, one of the players told me about how great 'bot he had done.
    He explained details and it sounded similar to my old one, so I asked to
    receive it, and when I did get it I found out it was the same. It even had
    trigger for one buggy spell that went like "Joyri wobbles a bit." ("Joyri"
    was my characters name), he hadn't even changed the name to reflect his
    character. Yet he continued to claim that he had made the 'bot.

    I will probably never release anything with "public domain" license. Even
    though people still can, and probably will, do the same kind of thievery
    no matter what the license is.


    Regards,

    --
    joni
  19. Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

    Ray Dillinger wrote:
    > So, hey, for myself I'm a bit wary these days of giving
    > anything to the public domain.

    Then don't give. GPL is bad for people who want to make free programs,
    but who don't want to release the source code.
    So, if you use GPL source, you are forced to release your source too,
    and some people will steal it anyway...
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