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Author Topic: Opinions about the Apache License?  (Read 1589 times)


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Opinions about the Apache License?
« on: September 11, 2012, 01:02 PM »
We have had some interesting discussions about other licenses (in particular the GPL) in the past, so I figured I would try and see if you have any opinions about the Apache License (2.0).

First a little background:

I have used the zlib license in the past for a couple of smaller source code releases, but I was trying to see if one of the more commonly used licenses would work for me. This led to a couple of hours of hit-and-google browsing, trying to figure out the exact differences between MIT, BSD, Apache, and GPL.

I am not planning to use the GPL -- I want people to be able to use my work in commercial software without risking suddenly being forced into an open source license. I like the MIT and BSD licenses because they are so short and (relatively) easy to understand, but I feel perhaps they lack somewhat in precision and their age is showing. This lead me to the Apache license, which to a large extent appears to be similar to the BSD license, but more descriptive.

For instance, I like how it says directly that if you contribute something it will by default be covered by the license, and that you are allowed to link to something covered by the license without risking that affecting your software.

Two things worry me a bit though; the fact that it is longer and harder to read, which makes it less obvious what your obligations are, and that the FSF says it is incompatible with GPLv2.

So, this brings me to my questions:

What are your feelings on using the Apache license compared to the MIT/BSD licenses?

Do you think the incompatibility with GPLv2 is a problem? (or perhaps rather a feature?)

A couple of links for reference:


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Re: Opinions about the Apache License?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2012, 02:19 PM »
It's been said there's no such thing as a perfect software license. Just some better suited than others depending on the goals.

If your goal is to encourage widespread adoption of something without concern about commercial interests getting involved (and possibly taking the ball and running with it like Google had happen with Android) Apache is a modern and excellent choice IMO.

As far as compatibility with GPLv2 is concerned, it's largely a matter of how you feel about it. The simple fact you're looking at alternatives to GPL tells me you're not 100% behind the philosophy and goals GPLv2 was meant to advance. (Many people aren't BTW.) So in your case I would consider Apache not being 100% compatible with GPLv2 a plus.

Like was said earlier - no perfect license, just better licenses, depending on the goals. 8)