Is there a summary of the different Open Source licensing differences?

Asked by Zearin

There's a friggin' lot of open source licenses available to choose from when registering a project. I wanted to register a project, but I have absolutely no idea which license to choose, and it prevents me from registering. Two ideas spring to mind:

 * A mouseover/tooltip describing each license on the regitration page
 * A page in Launchpad's documentation providing a summary of license similarities and differences

Either of these would help me and greatly lower my barrier to entry. I'm really excited to use Launchpad, but I know choosing a license could potentially have big consequences down the road, and I want to make an informed decision without being forced to read each license's lengthy documentation.

Basically, think of "use cases" when deciding on a license to choose; e.g.:
 "Do I care if my code is copied?"
 "Should I be credited?"
 "Can people make money with my project?"
 "Are there different requirements for commercial/non-commercial use of my project?"

These are the questions I'd love to see answered side-by-side for each license.

(I know such pages exist elsewhere on the web, but Launchpad does a wonderful job of not making me look up stuff elsewhere. This seems like something Launchpad could bring up to snuff in the being helpful department. :)


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Solved by:
Brad Crittenden
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Best Brad Crittenden (bac) said :

Hi Zearin,

Thanks for you suggestions about the licensing page on Launchpad. Yes, there are a lot of licenses to choose from and it is very confusing! The only way to fully understand one of the licenses is to read the full text and seek other advice. It would be unfair to the license creators for us to write a tooltip blurb to try to boil down the essence of the license. It's also not our role to offer legal advice to users as that is a minefield. (And a project's licensing decision is a legal decision that needs to be made with great care.)

What we could do is either offer an overview page that provides links to all of the officially maintained license definitions to all users to more easily do their research.

If you think that would address your issues would you mind opening a bug against the Launchpad project suggesting such a thing?

Thanks again for your feedback.

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Zearin (zearin) said :

Hiya Brad,

Thanks for the reply! I will file a request for a page like you described under Bugs in the Launchpad project. That would definitely be a huge help for doing research!

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Zearin (zearin) said :

Thanks Brad Crittenden, that solved my question.