Practice: License
Manage licenses. License is an important topic to FLOSS. The understanding of free software licensing issues can contribute, both to ensure that project license is adequate to project needs, and to support decision making on selecting FLOSS products. The decision about which license will be used is a critical decision that has to be taken in the beginning of the FLOSS development process.The license of the product is particular important for integrators as it must be in accordance with the use that the company needs it for.
Main Description

 

LCS: Licenses

 

Purpose: Select appropriate licenses and manage them

Implementation Priority

Companies

Communi-ties

 

 

 

 

Goal         LCS 1

Select appropriate product licenses

 

 

Practice     LCS-1.1

Evaluate available choices against already existent licenses used inside the FLOSS project or strategy/policy inside the company

Mandatory

Mandatory

LookFor

Is the responsibility for FLOSS license selection defined?

 

 

Is the compatibility of the license of new components with the already used licenses checked regularly? (e.g is there a process defined to do this?)

 

 

Practice     LCS-1.2

Ensure that licensing practices are practical

Mandatory

Mandatory

LookFor

Are licenses clearly presented to all users?

 

 

Are key aspects of licenses clearly presented for purposes of software integration in other products?

 

 

Can users give feedback on the choice of license, compatibility of licenses? 

 

 

Number of distinct licenses incorporated (evolution ratio)

 

 

Number of unlicensed files/modules (evolution ratio)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goal         LCS 2

Manage selected licenses.

 

 

Practice     LCS-2.1

Ensure that there is Copyright notice

Mandatory

Mandatory

Practice     LCS-2.2

Ensure that the complete license text is available with the product

Mandatory

Mandatory

Practice     LCS-2.3

Ensure that there is a Disclaimer of liability

Mandatory

Mandatory

Practice     LCS-2.4

Ensure that the license text is maintained up-to-date after major changes are made

Mandatory

Mandatory

 

 

 

 

Goal         LCS 3

Improve diffusion of FLOSS

 

 

Practice     LCS-3.1

Ensure that FLOSS does not contain any commercial components

Mandatory

Mandatory

LookFor

The project has a large percentage of FLOSS licensed components

 

 

Tools used in the project are FLOSS licensed

 

 

Practice     LCS-3.2

Restrictiveness of licenses is low (aim at least restrictiveness)

Recommended

Recommended

LookFor

The license is liberal ( (BSD, Apache, etc)

 

 

The project takes into consideration also the possibility of dual licensing

 

 

Practice     LCS-3.3

The project manages issues related to proprietary forks

Mandatory

Mandatory

LookFor

The license is restrictive (GPL)

 

 

How to read this practice

Recommendations:

• Control the software licenses adopted in the project source code. It is important to monitor both the number of licenses and the compatibility among them. It is also important to ensure that no copyright is being violated.
• Establish the need of properly documenting licensing within the code. Verify if it is happening.
• Clearly establish and communicate the license of the product being developed.
• Consider if the right to use the incorporated FLOSS has been granted free of charge and the copyright requirements. Observe if the project contains software licensed under free software licenses.

Levels of Adoption
Basic
Additional Information

Short Identification: [LCS]

For further information refer to:

http://www.dwheeler.com/essays/floss-license-slide.html