This is a comparison of free and open-source software licences. The comparison only covers software licences with a linked article for details, approved by at least one expert group at the FSF, the OSI, the Debian project or the Fedora project. For a list of licences not specifically intended for software, see List of free content licences.

FOSS licences

FOSS stands for "Free and Open Source Software". There is no one universally agreed-upon definition of FOSS software and various groups maintain approved lists of licences. The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is one such organization keeping a list of open-source licences.Open source licenses - Licenses by Name
on opensource.org
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) maintains a list of what it considers free. FSF's free software and OSI's open-source licences together are called FOSS licences. There are licences accepted by the OSI which are not free as per the free software definition. The open source definition allows for further restrictions like price, type of contribution and origin of the contribution, e.g. the case of the NASA Open Source Agreement, which requires the code to be "original" work. The OSI does not endorse FSF licence analysis (interpretation) as per their disclaimer. The FSF's Free Software definition focuses on the user's unrestricted rights to use a ''program'', to study and modify it, to copy it, and redistribute it for any purpose, which are considered by the FSF the ''four essential freedoms''. The OSI's open-source criteria focuses on the availability of the ''source code'' and the advantages of an unrestricted and community driven development model. Yet, many FOSS licences, like the Apache License, and all Free Software licences allow commercial use of FOSS components.

General comparison

For a simpler comparison across the most common licenses see free-software license comparison. The following table compares various features of each license and is a general guide to the terms and conditions of each licence, based on seven subjects or categories. Recent tools like the European Commissions' Joinup Licensing Assistant, makes possible the licenses selection and comparison based on more than 40 subjects or categories, with access to their SPDX identifier and full text. The table below lists the permissions and limitations regarding the following subjects: * Linking - linking of the licensed code with code licensed under a different licence (e.g. when the code is provided as a library) * Distribution - distribution of the code to third parties * Modification - modification of the code by a licensee * Patent grant - protection of licensees from patent claims made by code contributors regarding their contribution, and protection of contributors from patent claims made by licensees * Private use - whether modification to the code must be shared with the community or may be used privately (e.g. internal use by a corporation) * Sublicensing - whether modified code may be licensed under a different licence (for example a copyright) or must retain the same licence under which it was provided * TM grant - use of trademarks associated with the licensed code or its contributors by a licensee Other licences that don't have information:


This table lists for each licence what organizations from the FOSS community have approved itbe it as a "free software" or as an "open source" licence, how those organizations categorize it, and the licence compatibility between them for a combined or mixed derivative work. Organizations usually approve specific versions of software licences. For instance, a FSF approval means that the Free Software Foundation (FSF) considers a licence to be free software licence. The FSF recommends at least "Compatible with GPL" and preferably copyleft. The OSI recommends a mix of permissive and copyleft licences, the Apache License 2.0, 2- & 3-clause BSD license, GPL, LGPL, MIT license, MPL 2.0, CDDL and EPL.

See also

* Free software * Free software license * Open-source license * Open-source software * Source-available software


{{DEFAULTSORT:Comparison Of Free And Open Source Software Licences Category:Debian * Category:Free Software Foundation Category:Free software lists and comparisons Licenses Category:Companies' terms of service