Types of software licenses

Since from the inception of computer and its components, Software’s plays an important role to build complete computer systems. It connects users to computer via plug and play user interface. These days many software manufacturers provides more features to promote their software products among users. Few of them divide their software products by license.

Software’s comes with different-different licenses to help user in solving any complex computing task. Some of them are free of cost and comply software industry norms but for some other software’s users need to shed extra money. So here in this article i have mentioned different types of software licenses which defines their importance and meaning in software industry.

Note: Software is a piece of program(code) which runs on operating system. Technically mostly software’s are written in high programming languages(such as C).

Basically Software licenses comes in two types such as:

a) Proprietary software license (for which user need to spend money to get license)
b) Free software license (User can obtain such software free of cost)

We usually use only those licenses which are compatible with the General Public License GNU GPL for software’s. We can also classify software licenses according to the specific criteria like, software licenses compatible with GNU GPL, copyleft license, and free software license. So let’s take a look at the different types of popular software licenses in software industry.

GNU General Public License(GPL) (classified according to the versions, latest version is 3)

This is the latest version of GNU GPL free software license and copyleft license. This is a  recommend license for software packages.

Note: Compatibility issues can comes between the previous and latest versions of GNU GPL. So read license related documentation carefully.

Apache License (Version 2.0)

This is a free software license and compatible with GNU GPL version 3.

Note: Compatibility issues can comes in this version of license with GPL version 2.

This license is sometimes refers as the “2 clause BSD license” and it is the original BSD license with the advertising clause and another clause removed.

types of software licenses

Informal license

Under this license we can change and redistribute software code according to our requirements.

Intel Open Source license

This is a free software license and compatible with the GNU GPL.

Microsoft Public License (MS-PL)

This is a free software license and incompatible with GNU GPL, that’s why we do not use MS-PL.

Nokia Open Source License

This is a free software license but incompatible with GNU GPL.

OpenSSL license

This license is a combination of two licenses. One of them is the license of SSLeay.  The combination results in a copyleft free software license that is incompatible with the GNU GPL.

However there is no reason to not to use OpenSSL and associated applications that work with OpenSSL but experts recommend GNUTLS over OpenSSL.

Yahoo Public License 1.1

This is a free software license and incompatible with GPL. It uses the term “intellectual property”.

European Union Public License (EUPL) version 1.1

This is a free software license. We can re-license the work under the terms of other selected licenses such as Eclipse Public License and Common Public License. It has a copyleft incompatible with GPL.

Note: Non-free Software Licenses are automatically incompatible with the GNU GPL, so please avoid using such software’s.

NASA Open Source Agreement

NASA Open Source Agreement includes a provision requiring changes to be your “original creation” that’s why it is not a free software license. NASA license doesn’t permit any software development using this agreement as resulted we need to combine code from third parties vendors for any software development.

GNU General Public License

The GNU GPL can be used for fonts. However, it does not permit embedding the font in a document unless that document is also licensed under the GPL.

Open Content License, Version 1.0

As there are restrictions on charging money for copies so this license is not comes under free category. Users are advised to not to use this license.

Note: I have mentioned most popular software licenses in this article. Readers are advised to visit gnu.org for more information on other software licenses.

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