Source-available software

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Source-available software is software released through a source code distribution model that includes arrangements where the source can be viewed, and in some cases modified, but without necessarily meeting the criteria to be called open-source. [1] The licenses associated with the offerings range from allowing code to be viewed for reference to allowing code to be modified and redistributed for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.[ citation needed ]


Distinction from free and open-source software

Any software is source-available software as long its source code is distributed along with it, even if the user has no legal rights to use, share, modify or even compile it. It is possible for a software to be both source-available software and proprietary software (For example: id Software's Doom).

In contrast, the definitions of free software and open-source software are much narrower. Free software and/or open-source software is also always source-available software, but not all source-available software is also free software and/or open-source software. This is because the official definitions of those terms require considerable additional rights as to what the user can do with the available source (including, typically, the right to use said software, with attribution, in derived commercial products). [2]

Free and open-source licenses

Free software licenses and open-source software licenses are also source-available software licenses, as they both require the source code of the software to be made available.

Non-free licenses

The following source-available software licenses are considered non-free licenses because they have limitations that prevent them from being open-source according to the Open Source Initiative and free to the Free Software Foundation.

Commons Clause

The Commons Clause, created by Fossa, Inc., is an addendum to an open-source software license that restricts users from selling the software. Under the combined license, the software is source-available, but not open-source. [3]

On August 22, 2018, Redis Labs shifted some Redis Modules from the Affero General Public License [4] [5] to a combination of the Apache License 2.0 and the Commons Clause. [6] [7]

In September 2018, Matthew Garrett criticized Commons Clause calling it an "older way of doing things" and said it "doesn't help the commons". [8]

GitLab Enterprise Edition License (EE License)

The GitLab Enterprise Edition License is used exclusively by GitLab's commercial offering. [9] GitLab also releases a Community Edition under the MIT License. [10]

GitLab Inc. openly discloses that the EE License makes their Enterprise Edition product "proprietary, closed source code." [11] However, the company makes the source code of the Community Edition public, as well as the repository's issue tracker, and allows users to modify the source code. [12] The dual release of the closed-source Enterprise Edition and the open-source Community Edition makes GitLab an open core company.

Mega Limited Code Review Licence

In 2016, Mega Ltd. released the source code of their Mega clients under the Mega Limited Code Review Licence, which only permits usage of the code "for the purposes of review and commentary". [13] The source code was released after former director Kim Dotcom stated that he would "create a Mega competitor that is completely open source and non-profit" following his departure from Mega Ltd. [14] [15]

Microsoft Shared Source Initiative

Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative, launched in May 2001, comprises 5 licenses, 2 of which are open-source and 3 of which are restricted. The restricted licenses under this scheme are the Microsoft Limited Public License (Ms-LPL), [16] the Microsoft Limited Reciprocal License (Ms-LRL), [17] and the Microsoft Reference Source License (Ms-RSL). [18]

Old Scilab License

Prior to version 5, Scilab described itself as "the open source platform for numerical computation" [19] but had a license [20] that forbade commercial redistribution of modified versions. Versions 5 and later are distributed under the GPL-compatible CeCILL license.

Server Side Public License

The Server Side Public License is a modification of the GNU General Public License version 3 created by the MongoDB project. It adds a clause stating that if SSPL-licensed software is incorporated into a "service" offered to other users, the source code for the entirety of the service must be released under the SSPL. [21] The license has been considered non-free by Debian and Red Hat (with software licensed under it therefore banned from their Linux distributions), as well as the Open Source Initiative, as it contains conditions that are unduly discriminatory towards commercial use of the software. [22] [23]

SugarCRM Public License

In 2007 Michael Tiemann, president of OSI, had criticized [24] companies such as SugarCRM for promoting their software as "open source" when in fact it did not have an OSI-approved license. In SugarCRM's case, it was because the software is so-called "badgeware" [25] since it specified a "badge" that must be displayed in the user interface. SugarCRM's open source version was re-licensed under the GPL version 3 in 2007, [26] and later the GNU Affero GPL version 3 in 2010. [27]

TrueCrypt License

The TrueCrypt License was used by the TrueCrypt disk encryption utility. [28] When TrueCrypt was discontinued, the VeraCrypt fork switched to the Apache License, but retained the TrueCrypt License for code inherited from TrueCrypt. [29]

The Open Source Initiative rejects the TrueCrypt License, as "it has elements incompatible with the OSD." [30] The Free Software Foundation criticizes the license for restricting who can execute the program, and for enforcing a trademark condition. [31]

BeeGFS End User License Agreement

BeeGFS EULA is the license of the distributed parallel file system BeeGFS, except the client for Linux, which is licensed under GPLv2. [32]

BeeGFS source code is publicly available from their website, [33] and because of this they claiming BeeGFS as "Open-Source" software; [34] it is in fact not because this license prohibits distributing modified versions of the software, or using certain features of the software without authorization. [35]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Open-source license</span> Software license allowing source code to be used, modified, and shared

Open-source licenses facilitate free and open-source software (FOSS) development. Intellectual property (IP) laws restrict the modification and sharing of creative works. Free and open-source software licenses use these existing legal structures for the inverse purpose of granting freedoms that promote sharing and collaboration. They grant the recipient the rights to use the software, examine the source code, modify it, and distribute the modifications. These licenses target computer software where source code can be necessary to create modifications. They also cover situations where there is no difference between the source code and the executable program distributed to end users. Open-source licenses can cover hardware, infrastructure, drinks, books, and music.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Apache License</span> Free software license developed by the ASF

The Apache License is a permissive free software license written by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). It allows users to use the software for any purpose, to distribute it, to modify it, and to distribute modified versions of the software under the terms of the license, without concern for royalties. The ASF and its projects release their software products under the Apache License. The license is also used by many non-ASF projects.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Open-source software</span> Software licensed to ensure source code usage rights

Open-source software (OSS) is computer software that is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to use, study, change, and distribute the software and its source code to anyone and for any purpose. Open-source software may be developed in a collaborative, public manner. Open-source software is a prominent example of open collaboration, meaning any capable user is able to participate online in development, making the number of possible contributors indefinite. The ability to examine the code facilitates public trust in the software.

The Mozilla Public License (MPL) is a free and open-source weak copyleft license for most Mozilla Foundation software such as Firefox and Thunderbird. The MPL license is developed and maintained by Mozilla, which seeks to balance the concerns of both open-source and proprietary developers; it is distinguished from others as a middle ground between the permissive software BSD-style licenses and the General Public License. So under the terms of the MPL, it allows the integration of MPL-licensed code into proprietary codebases, but only on condition those components remain accessible.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">GForge</span>

GForge is a commercial service originally based on the Alexandria software behind SourceForge, a web-based project management and collaboration system which was licensed under the GPL. Open source versions of the GForge code were released from 2002 to 2009, at which point the company behind GForge focused on their proprietary service offering which provides project hosting, version control, code reviews, ticketing, release management, continuous integration and messaging. The FusionForge project emerged in 2009 to pull together open-source development efforts from the variety of software forks which had sprung up.

A permissive software license, sometimes also called BSD-like or BSD-style license, is a free-software license which instead of copyleft protections, carries only minimal restrictions on how the software can be used, modified, and redistributed, usually including a warranty disclaimer. Examples include the GNU All-permissive License, MIT License, BSD licenses, Apple Public Source License and Apache license. As of 2016, the most popular free-software license is the permissive MIT license.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">WTFPL</span> License for permissive use of intellectual property rights

The WTFPL is a permissive free software license. As a public domain like license, the WTFPL is essentially the same as dedication to the public domain. It allows redistribution and modification of the work under any terms. The title is an abbreviation of "Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Public-domain-equivalent license</span> License that waives all copyright

Public-domain-equivalent license are licenses that grant public-domain-like rights and/or act as waivers. They are used to make copyrighted works usable by anyone without conditions, while avoiding the complexities of attribution or license compatibility that occur with other licenses.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">GNU Affero General Public License</span> Free software license based on the AGPLv1 and GPLv3

The GNU Affero General Public License is a free, copyleft license published by the Free Software Foundation in November 2007, and based on the GNU GPL version 3 and the Affero General Public License.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Free-software license</span> License allowing software modification and redistribution

A free-software license is a notice that grants the recipient of a piece of software extensive rights to modify and redistribute that software. These actions are usually prohibited by copyright law, but the rights-holder of a piece of software can remove these restrictions by accompanying the software with a software license which grants the recipient these rights. Software using such a license is free software as conferred by the copyright holder. Free-software licenses are applied to software in source code and also binary object-code form, as the copyright law recognizes both forms.

BSD licenses are a family of permissive free software licenses, imposing minimal restrictions on the use and distribution of covered software. This is in contrast to copyleft licenses, which have share-alike requirements. The original BSD license was used for its namesake, the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), a Unix-like operating system. The original version has since been revised, and its descendants are referred to as modified BSD licenses.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">GNU General Public License</span> Series of free software licenses

The GNU General Public License is a series of widely used free software licenses that guarantee end users the four freedoms to run, study, share, and modify the software. The license was the first copyleft for general use and was originally written by the founder of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), Richard Stallman, for the GNU Project. The license grants the recipients of a computer program the rights of the Free Software Definition. These GPL series are all copyleft licenses, which means that any derivative work must be distributed under the same or equivalent license terms. It is more restrictive than the Lesser General Public License and even further distinct from the more widely used permissive software licenses BSD, MIT, and Apache.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Redis</span> Open-source in-memory key–value database

Redis is an in-memory data structure store, used as a distributed, in-memory key–value database, cache and message broker, with optional durability. Redis supports different kinds of abstract data structures, such as strings, lists, maps, sets, sorted sets, HyperLogLogs, bitmaps, streams, and spatial indices. The project was developed and maintained by Salvatore Sanfilippo, starting in 2009. From 2015 until 2020, he led a project core team sponsored by Redis Labs. Salvatore Sanfilippo left Redis as the maintainer in 2020. It is open-source software released under a BSD 3-clause license. In 2021, not long after the original author and main maintainer left, Redis Labs dropped the Labs from its name and now is known simply as "Redis".

The Shared Source Initiative (SSI) is a source-available software licensing scheme launched by Microsoft in May 2001. The program includes a spectrum of technologies and licenses, and most of its source code offerings are available for download after eligibility criteria are met.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Open-core model</span> Business model monetizing commercial open-source software

The open-core model is a business model for the monetization of commercially produced open-source software. Coined by Andrew Lampitt in 2008, the open-core model primarily involves offering a "core" or feature-limited version of a software product as free and open-source software, while offering "commercial" versions or add-ons as proprietary software.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">VeraCrypt</span> Free and open-source disk encryption utility

VeraCrypt is a free and open-source utility for on-the-fly encryption (OTFE). The software can create a virtual encrypted disk that works just like a regular disk but within a file. It can also encrypt a partition or the entire storage device with pre-boot authentication.

Software relicensing is applied in open-source software development when software licenses of software modules are incompatible and are required to be compatible for a greater combined work. Licenses applied to software as copyrightable works, in source code as binary form, can contain contradictory clauses. These requirements can make it impossible to combine source code or content of several software works to create a new combined one.

metasfresh is an open source/free ERP software designed and developed for SMEs. metasfresh is an actively maintained fork of ADempiere and can be used and distributed freely. It does not require a contributor license agreement from partners or contributors. There is no closed source code, and the planning and development happen openly in the community. metasfresh was included in the Top 9 Open Source ERP to consider by

The Server Side Public License (SSPL) is a source-available software license introduced by MongoDB Inc. in 2018. It includes most of the text and provisions of the GNU Affero General Public License version 3, and primarily replaces section 13 "Remote Network Interaction; Use with the GNU General Public License." with a new section that requires that anyone who offers the functionality of SSPL-licensed software to third-parties as a service must release the entirety of their source code, including all software, APIs, and other software that would be required for a user to run an instance of the service themselves, under the SSPL. In contrast, the AGPL v3's section 13 covers only the program itself.


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