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SourceForge and GNU

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So I've signed up at SourceForge to host my project, mainly as a way to keep me working on the damn thing. So I figured I needed to license my project under the GNU General Public License. But I've heard there are other licensing agrements that one can use. So, what are my options? Which is best for a (hopefully) going to be completeded 2d rpg? Dont plan on selling, but I don't want people ripping off my code, then selling it. What does one have to do to get licensed? Does it cost money? [Insert any other pertinent question(s) here.] Thanks for any input!

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GPL makes sure noone can take your code and extend it without making it GPL as well, things like BSD and zlib they can extend then close the source code and sell it. It shouldn't cost any money to license it.

When you sign up I am pretty sure there is a dropdown menu of licenses to choose from.

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There are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about the use of GPL (and the lesser version), that probably won't be resolved anytime soon.

But here's a quick overview of the 3 most common licences.

GPL - Requires any project that uses the code/libraries etc. to be GNU and opensource as well. This is very restrictive for some people, but if you want to force opensource development with your libraries it's the one to choose.

Lesser GPL - What licence an application/code base should use if they use your code depends on how they use it. Any changes to your code/library (or as a catch all term 'work based upon' it) are required to be opensource to. But if they just use it (such as linking to a library - and here is where the confusion arises) then the host appliaction can be closed source et. al.

zLib/libPng - Basically lets someone do what they want to your code such as use it, mod it, change it whatever! All they have to do is aknowledge where it came from (I think they have to, can't remeber off the top of my head).

In your case, if you want to make sure that people don't rip you off, then GNU might be the best as it is the most restrictive. But with OpenSource software, there is little to stop someone using it and selling it!

There are plenty of other licences that you might want to look into. For a full list go to the OSI website.

Hope thats some use for you. You could also search GPL on GameDev. There have been plenty of discussions about it in the past!

Spree

[Edited by - SpreeTree on March 30, 2006 4:38:57 PM]

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Original post by _Sigma
Ok. So i should go GPL not GNU?


GPL is short for The GNU General Public License.

GNU is an organization with at least a few licenses:

GPL - The GNU General Public License. Anything working with it must be GPLed as well (viral).
LGPL - The GNU Lesser General Public License. Similar to the GPL, only other, closed source applications, may link to the LGPLed code. Changes to the LGPLed code itself must still be LGPLed/open source.
FDL - The GNU Free Documentation License.

I'm going to guess you want the first one for this project.

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Original post by _Sigma
So, what are my options? Which is best for a (hopefully) going to be completeded 2d rpg? Dont plan on selling, but I don't want people ripping off my code, then selling it. What does one have to do to get licensed? Does it cost money? [Insert any other pertinent question(s) here.]


Don't forget, the GPL covers distribution conditions of your software. You still retain copyright of your software. That means anyone who rips off your code and sells it has violated copyright statutes (should you have them where you live). It also means that although you require others to distribute your work and derivative works under the GPL, you can choose to distribute it under different licenses as well. For example, you could privately license a custom version to Daddy Bigbucks Inc. for an undisclosed fee.

You still retain copyright. The license is an contract others must follow.

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If you can't quickly grasp the terms of the license, can anyone else? And will they bother to?

I have read the full text of the GPL precisely once. I will never, ever read it again. I will also never apply it to any source code I happen to license for use by others. Its unnecessarily intricate language actually precludes comprehension for many (witness the endless arguments over its terms), which makes it a poor choice for widespread adoption. The GPL continues to exert influence due to inertia, and due to certain "rockstar" projects like the Linux kernel being licensed under it.

Do the world a favor and prefer straight talking. Choose a license that a non-native English speaker can understand. There are many to choose from.

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Choose a license that a non-native English speaker can understand. There are many to choose from.
Such as?

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Original post by _Sigma
Quote:
Choose a license that a non-native English speaker can understand. There are many to choose from.
Such as?

Open Source Initiative-approved licenses

Some of my favorites include The CNRI Python License, The Python Software Foundation License (it looks lengthy, but it actually contains a history of Python and three separate licenses), The MIT License, The zlib/libpng License and, of course, The BSD License.

An interesting licenses is The Jabber Open Source License, beceause it includes a preamble that explains each of the terms of the license in plain english.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
Quote:
Original post by _Sigma
Quote:
Choose a license that a non-native English speaker can understand. There are many to choose from.
Such as?

Open Source Initiative-approved licenses

Some of my favorites include The CNRI Python License, The Python Software Foundation License (it looks lengthy, but it actually contains a history of Python and three separate licenses), The MIT License, The zlib/libpng License and, of course, The BSD License.

An interesting licenses is The Jabber Open Source License, beceause it includes a preamble that explains each of the terms of the license in plain english.


Yey, none of those licenses will keep people from ripping off his code, which was a requirement in his first post.

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It depends on what you mean by "ripping off your code". It also depends on how much you want people to help with your software or use your software/source code.

If you don't want people using your code to make money at all (this all assumes your code is any good), then don't make it Open Source in the first place.

I'd suggest against GPL simply because it's a sucky licence. Although, It might meet your needs simply because it's more restrictive.

Remember that the GPL is more about virally "consuming" software projects into its own collective (think Borg), than any kind of protection for your own work. I think this is a fate far worse than having other people benefit from your work, but you might feel differently.

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
Yey, none of those licenses will keep people from ripping off his code, which was a requirement in his first post.


Depends on your definition of 'ripping off', but he has to at least release the source in order to get hosted at sf.net - which was also in his first post.

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Oh boy....this is becoming way more confusing that I'd hoped! I guess I'll look at all these today and try to sort them out. So I just append the licesne to my file(s) and I'm licensed?

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You could take a look at OpenSVN, instead of SourceForge. It's not open source, so you may not have to release any source code. Get in contact with the operators though, just to be certain.

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Whew, that was a lot of reading! I must admit, I do like the MIT license. Pretty much "here you go, knock yourself out." Which is nice, but I do like how the GPL forces derived programs to be opensource. I do not have any false illusions of grandure, I know my game engine will never been good enough for a commercial game, mainly b/c I don't have those skills yet. If I can make it run well, and have a small zelda clone running off of it, I'd the be the happiest man alive. But if someone else went "Hey! I could use this", well I'd love them to be able to use it. So, I'm thinking GPL, but it seems mildly confusing. So, should I just not worry about it, and go MIT, and let anyone who uses it(provided I can finish the damn thing) just what they will with it? B/c the MIT license actually makes sense...Does this seem like a good idea?

Quote:
It depends on what you mean by "ripping off your code". It also depends on how much you want people to help with your software or use your software/source code.

Ripping off meaning, taking my work and pretending its theirs. As for how much help, I'd kinda like to do it on my own, and for others using it, well like I stated above, I'm not sure how much quality I'm ending up with, but if just one person used it, I'd be tickled pink.

Quote:
Yey, none of those licenses will keep people from ripping off his code,

Ok I'm thinking I might need to change my requirments.
N e w R e q u i r m e n t s
1) I want to be able to stop being claiming my code as theirs
2) I want others to be able to use my (potentially) usefull game engine for whatever they want, but to acknoledge me as the orignial author.
3) I want the fucking license to make sense for those whose first language might not be english and/or those who can't understand what the hell the license is trying to state.


There I think that's a little better. So....I'm still really really really confused as to what I should do. Even though you have all been super helpful and informative. So...anymore input would be fantastic! Thanks!!

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Well after thinking about it, I think I'm going to go with the MIT license, and just not really worry about it =) Does this seem like a reasonable approach?

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