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Licenses

Open source licenses grant permission to everyone to use, modify, and share licensed software for any purpose, subject to conditions preserving the provenance and openness of the software. The following licenses are arranged from one with the strongest of these conditions (GNU AGPLv3) to one with no conditions (Unlicense). Notice that the popular licenses featured on the home page (GNU GPLv3, Apache License 2.0, and MIT License) fall within this spectrum.

GNU AGPLv3

The GNU GPL family of licenses is the most widely used free software license and has a strong copyleft requirement. When distributing derived works, the source code of the work must be made available under the same license. GNU AGPLv3 is distinguished from GNU GPLv3 in that hosted services using the code are considered distribution and trigger the copyleft requirements.

Permissions Conditions Limitations
  • Commercial Use
  • Distribution
  • Modification
  • Patent Use
  • Private Use
  • Disclose Source
  • Network Use is Distribution
  • Same License
  • State Changes
  • Hold Liable

View full GNU Affero General Public License v3.0 »

GNU GPLv3

The GNU GPL is the most widely used free software license and has a strong copyleft requirement. When distributing derived works, the source code of the work must be made available under the same license.

Permissions Conditions Limitations
  • Commercial Use
  • Distribution
  • Modification
  • Patent Use
  • Private Use
  • Disclose Source
  • Same License
  • State Changes
  • Hold Liable

View full GNU General Public License v3.0 »

GNU LGPLv3

Version 3 of the GNU LGPL is an additional set of permissions to the GNU GPLv3 license that requires that derived works be licensed under the same license, but works that only link to it do not fall under this restriction.

Permissions Conditions Limitations
  • Commercial Use
  • Distribution
  • Modification
  • Patent Use
  • Private Use
  • Disclose Source
  • Same License
  • State Changes
  • Hold Liable

View full GNU Lesser General Public License v3.0 »

Mozilla Public License 2.0

The Mozilla Public License (MPL 2.0) is maintained by the Mozilla foundation. This license attempts to be a compromise between the permissive BSD license and the reciprocal GPL license.

Permissions Conditions Limitations
  • Commercial Use
  • Distribution
  • Modification
  • Patent Use
  • Private Use
  • Disclose Source
  • Same License
  • Hold Liable
  • Trademark Use

View full Mozilla Public License 2.0 »

Apache License 2.0

A permissive license that also provides an express grant of patent rights from contributors to users.

Permissions Conditions Limitations
  • Commercial Use
  • Distribution
  • Modification
  • Patent Use
  • Private Use
  • State Changes
  • Hold Liable
  • Trademark Use

View full Apache License 2.0 »

MIT License

A permissive license that is short and to the point. It lets people do anything with your code with proper attribution and without warranty.

Permissions Conditions Limitations
  • Commercial Use
  • Distribution
  • Modification
  • Private Use
  • Hold Liable

View full MIT License »

The Unlicense

Because copyright is automatic in most countries, the Unlicense is a template to waive copyright interest in software you've written and dedicate it to the public domain. Use the Unlicense to opt out of copyright entirely. It also includes the no-warranty statement from the MIT/X11 license.

Permissions Conditions Limitations
  • Commercial Use
  • Distribution
  • Modification
  • Private Use
  • Hold Liable

View full The Unlicense »

The above licenses represent the entire spectrum of open source licenses, from highly protective to unconditional. One of these should work for most new open source projects. Many other open source licenses exist, including older versions of and close substitutes for some of the above. See the resources listed on our about page if you'd like to read more.