licenses - which one to use?

OK, there we go again after some pretty silent months... with a first note about a usable license for our reproducible research.

I have done some more reading about licensing possibilities, and believe me, there are plenty of them: ;-) see for example
- www.opensource.org,
- GNU Licenses, or
- Creative Commons licenses (although this one is not intended for software, so it seems not really useful for our purpose).

Some features that I would find desirable for our license:
- be an 'open' license, meaning that people can get it freely (without paying) and easily on the web, and can even contribute etc.
- it would sound fair to me that if someone wants to build a commercial application using my code, he has to somehow ask (and pay) for it.
- if I want to commercialize my code myself, I need to be able to do this ;-)

This second point seems to be a problem with most open source licenses. GPL says that all derived works need to use GPL too, whereas many other open licenses allow any kind of redistribution, under whatever commercial/noncommercial license that person would want to. As far as I can see, the third item is not a problem, as the author himself can apparently re-license things anyway he wants. Except of course for the fact that some version of your code may already be floating around on the internet.

I currently feel attracted to the dual licensing I saw on some places on the internet (MySQL uses this, and our neighbors from CVLab also): put the work by default freely available under GPL, but with a remark that people who want to use it commercially can contact us for a commercial license. This should give a very open distribution, forces other people to use GPL too if they want to redistribute it, but also gives the possibility to commercialize it.

Any comments on this? Is this the way we should license our reproducible work?
Posted by Patrick Vandewalle on Tuesday 27 February 2007 at 16:22
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