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Nadja Ohlig

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Image not availableSome links for Affero General Public License ( AGPL ) (Open Source License)

Mongo DB is using AGPL 

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6 years, 2 months ago, 0 Comments

Image not availableMore info: Licence for PyEviscape (evis)
I had a meeting with a Dr. Till Jaeger from JBB yesterday who has some experience with open source licenses.

I explained PyEviscape and our aims:
  • We want to open source PyEviscape and modifications made to PyEviscape should be available to the community. (Copy Left)
  • An Application that import modules from PyEviscape should not be "infected" by (inherit) the license for PyEviscape. Thus an Application that use PyEviscape can be commercial / closed source.
  • Other parts of Eviscape (API and System) should not be infected by the PyEviscape license.
  • PyEviscape would often run as server software.
  • PyEviscape is written in Python.
We talked through the differenct licenses starting with BSD / MIT (which do not have "Copy Left").

He suggested that we use the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL) version 3 with an "additional permissions" statement from us saying that an Application using PyEviscape are not considered a modification of PyEviscape. The GNU AGPL section 7 allows for this.

If we are OK with this, then the license text would read thus:


PyEviscape is Copyright (C) 2009 Music Pictures Ltd. PyEviscape provides functions for interacting with the Eviscape API.

PyEviscape is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL) V3 or any later version with the following additional permissions: "If you write an application using PyEviscape, your Application is not considered a modification of PyEviscape in the meaning of the AGPL section 5. Therefore you do not have to provide the Corresponding Source code for your Application. We consider this a binding legal statement and an additional permission under the meaning of AGPL section 7. For the avoidence of doubt, modifications of PyEviscape itself are considered modifications in the sense the AGPL section 5." Please note that rest of the Eviscape system (API, Web App, Database etc) is not included in this license.

    This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License as
published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the
License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU Affero General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Affero General Public License
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By the way I also found these interesting texts from Lawrence Rosen who has worked as legal council for the Open Source Initiative: The main message is "The GPL is not a disease" i.e. you can't catch it just by sitting next to it. However, I think (and Till Jaeger too) that it makes sense to be explicit. Hopefully this will be clear enough for developers to feel confident.

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Update: We decided on MIT in the end.

7 years, 3 months ago, 10 Comments

Image not availableRe: Licence for PyEviscape (evis)
This continues a conversation about the license for Pyeviscape

Pyeviscape is (currently) a small amount of python code that "wraps" calls to the Eviscape API. In turn, API calls can get and set data in Eviscape pretty much as tho a user logged into the eviscape web site can.

We're starting to use pyeviscape on so users can post events from

The reason we're considering the licence for PyEviscape is we want to encourage developers to use our API. And we figure they will be happier using open source tools.

Then follows the question "which licence?" To answer that we need to consider our aims:

Firstly, do we want to have PyEviscape *only* used in Open Source software. Answer: No, because its fine if a developer makes good use of our API and makes some money from it too. Our API terms should make sure we do OK too.

So, that rules out the GPL.

That leaves the Lesser GPL(v3), the Affero General Public License and "pervasive" BSD style / MIT licences.

Whilst the Affero licence is suited to networked applications, its like the GPL in that you can't mix and match open and closed programs. I don't think a "Lesser AGPL" exists.

So that leaves the LGPL, BSD and MIT.

BSD and MIT basically say:
  1. Copyright is "X".
  2. We give you no warrenty
  3. Don't change the copyright notice or warrenty.
  4. Do anything you want with the software, including changing it, selling it and by the way,
  5. you don't have to distribute the source with the program.

The LGPL differs on point 5 above. It says that if you distribute ("convey") the program then you must distribute the source too (so that the end user of the program can modify stuff too). This is a noble aim and I guess the basis of Open Source.

The LGPL is not really aimed a web libraries (which deliver HTML rather than binaries), however the spirit is that you should provide a link to the source from your web site if you're using it. So if we used the LGPL, we could reasonably expect to recieve changes and additions to the PyEviscape code that someone else made. At the same time, that user could have another module "Y" alongside which could be closed source.

That kind of sounds like a everyone-benefits-kind-of-combination: We allow closed source code to use it but we expect to be able to use improvements developed for everyone.

Another approach is to use a BSD / MIT licence and add a notice which says "you don't have to submit fixes back but we'd like you too" - but that's not a licence is it?

Here are some links:

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The snippets following are Copyright © 2004 Free Software Foundation, Inc.,
 "The goal of the GPL is to grant everyone the freedom to copy, redistribute, understand, and modify a program."
 "If you make object code available on a network server, you have to provide the Corresponding Source on a network server as well. The easiest way to do this would be to publish them on the same server, but if you'd like, you can alternatively provide instructions for getting the source from another server, or even a version control system. No matter what you do, the source should be just as easy to access as the object code, though.
 Our requirements for redistributors are intended to make sure the users can get the source code, not to force users to download the source code even if they don't want it."
    "It is essential for people to have the freedom to make modifications and use them privately, without ever publishing those modifications. However, putting the program on a server machine for the public to talk to is hardly “private” use, so it would be legitimate to require release of the source code in that special case. Developers who wish to address this might want to use the GNU Affero GPL for programs designed for network server use."

7 years, 4 months ago, 8 Comments

Image not availableConstructing our terms and conditions (legal)

I wonder if the terms and conditions we construct should be an open source document? Does something like this exist already? We are probably solving a similar set of issues.

In the meantime some good references for what others are saying:

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7 years, 11 months ago, 0 Comments

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