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Help with choosing the right license for my CMS.

edited April 2007 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
Note: I am new to open source, this is my first time releasing an application for public download.

I am about to release a new CMS application and need help choosing the right license. Here are what I wish to accomplish with my license:
  • Free to download
  • Free to use
  • Free to modify for your own use.
  • You are not allowed to redistribute your own versions, unless directly through me (I don't want competition against MY OWN work!)
I pretty much want to offer a free download for my CMS, but keep it under my control, since it's my 'baby'. Does this even fall under open source terms?

I have done some research on GPL, GNU, and CC...however, I am just not sure and need help from experts.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


  • Since redistribution is restricted, that would put your sofware in the non-free license category: I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. Lawyers seem to have a magical ability to understand legal documents such as licenses that no layperson could possibly comprehend, yet nobody consults a lawyer before clicking on that infamous 'I agree' button. Blah blah blah. Funny how lawyers create demand for themselves, even making people suggest them when giving casual legal advice.
  • Hey, thanks a lot. Let's define 'Redistribute', does this mean release it under the same name, or release it as a new name to give competition to the initial developer? My main threat would be competition from another re distributor of my own software. I would like people to visit my website to gain a copy, is that wrong of me?
  • Redistribute is more general,--it even covers uploading your CMS to a file sharing site, no changes made. What you fear is forking--i.e. taking Firefox, adding some features it and naming it Flock. Or taking BSD, adding some aqua and calling it Mac OS X. Remember that "Non-free" coming from the EFF, is freedom as in Braveheart, not freedom as in beer. I took a casual look through whats there, and one license (I believe it was Vim? or maybe AT&T...) required those distributing modified versions first get written permission and send the modified version to the code's maintainer/copyright holder. It was this clause that made the license "non-free", but the code was still "open source". My advice is print out all the licenses, and read them at your leisure. If you don't like a license for any reason, write a note of why you don't want to use that license, and toss it in the trashbin. Don't be tempted to read another license for at least another hour or two, you want to approach the next one with an open mind. Vague, complicated, and/or hard to understand are valid reasons to toss a license. You will probably be through more than half of them the first time through. Repeat this process with the remaining licenses until you have one license left. Don't read them one after another or compare them side by side because they are very complex and something as small as a comma can make a big difference. Marathon license reading is hazardous to your mental functioning ability and psychological well being.
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