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Michael Wojcik

Unity Investigating a software license

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Hello everyone.

I have been in development of a game engine for quite some time. I have had an interest in making my development of it open source, so that we can build a community of developers. On this token, I have begun to wonder what software license would be best for my game engine's development needs and I would be thankful of any advice regarding licensing your software.

So, some guidelines as to how I would like developers to develop my engine include...

  • Encouraging a developer to merge their source to the main development line that also must be an acceptable contribution to my organization.
  • Always give credit to my organization, for any use of the engine.
  • Any external use of the engine must also always keep the engine software named to the same name of what my organization has named it.So far, from my research it would seem that the GNU seems like it could work.

    Any suggestions or opinions are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

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As far as I'm aware, GNU licenses will not protect you from people branching your code base and renaming it to whatever they please. Those licenses only ensure that all derivative works are kept open source.

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As far as I know, you can't place additional restrictions, and still have the code licensed under the GNU GPL. You can't just impose additional restrictions to a license which is mainly about freedom.

This includes things such as "not renaming" or "give a credit". The GPL insists that the license is clearly stated within the application and source code (removal of the license notice before distribution to third parties is a GPL violation), but it does NOT really imply "giving a credit" whatever that means to you.

What you CAN do however, is dual license it under GPL AND some custom license which you made up. Users who wanted to license it under the GPL would need to comply with the existing requirements of the GPL, such as publishing source code of derived works to parties who they make available binaries.

And as a "derived work" would probably be a game, this source-publishing requirement would effectively make it impossible to combine your library, and any other major commercial library (whose source code is licensed in a GPL-incompatible way to its licensees). That would force any users on any "tier 1" title to be bound by your "made up" license.

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