Open source software has become an integral part of product development for organizations of all shapes and sizes. While engineering teams once relied primarily on proprietary code, open source now comprises more than 90% of the components of modern applications.
As open source software has grown in popularity, managing compliance with legal and intellectual property
requirements has meant that open source software licenses have also taken on increased importance. Licenses tell the world the conditions under which they can and can’t use an open source project. Ultimately, licenses ensure that open source software developers — the community of minds behind many of today’s most innovative technologies — are able to protect their creations as they see fit.
There are hundreds of different open source licenses, most of which can be grouped into two categories:
These place little restriction on how others can use your source code and re-share your software. They also generally have a high level of license compatibility, meaning you can legally combine multiple pieces of software and distribute them together.
These require that anyone who releases a modified open source program must also release the source code for that program. This type of license generally allows users to change and re-share your creation as long as they also include their source code for others, too.