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View Full Version : Trying to find a Free Software License



jbrown96
March 20th, 2009, 08:50 PM
Please consider this topic closed. I haven't thought through my ideas clearly enough yet. Jumped the gun a little bit.

I'm a junior in college, and I need to do a "Senior Design Project." Basically I have to design and implement a programming project next school year. I have a good idea, and I'm thinking if it is viable, I would like to start a company based on it.

My school is very open-source friendly (SLU, if anyone is wondering), and I talked to the department head briefly, but he didn't have a lot to add. Basically, the CS department requires that it is open-source, and they won't sign NDAs under any circumstances.

Without getting caught up in the details, my project is a traffic light control system.

Here's my idea for a license, and I'm looking to see if there are any current open-source licenses that are compatible.
1) I want it to be free (Free speech). Any derivative works have to be open-source as well. No one can hijack the software, modify, and take away my business.
2) I want to be able to charge for it. There will be hardware sales, so I would have some sort of revenue stream, but I'm worried about the software. I don't want to patent the software, but I would like some way to protect my investment. Anyone is free to examine, modify, "reasearch"/"tinker" with it, No restrictions on re-distributing the sources as long as the same license is applied. However, to have it function on a real traffic control system, a license must be purchased; this could be reworded so that any type of use on public infrastructure (what about toll-roads?) to alter the flow of traffic requires a license. I' sure a lawyer will have to word this, but I hope everyone understands the basic idea.

I guess I'm not really looking for a community to grow up around this, but I do think government transparency is very important (including any software the government uses), so that's basically my motivation.

I seem to remember running across a license like this before, but I can't seem to remember or find it again. Could anyone help? Any suggestions on what should/shouldn't be in the license?

FraggedLocust
March 20th, 2009, 08:57 PM
To me it sounds like your first idea contradicts itself. The nature of open-source is that everyone has the ability to change and modify your code as they see fit. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your use of the word 'hijack'.

lisati
March 20th, 2009, 08:59 PM
A suggestion: Creative commons licenses
http://www.creativecommons.org.nz/
http://creativecommons.org/

jbrown96
March 20th, 2009, 09:35 PM
I know what you mean FraggedLocust. It is sort of a paradox. The thing that I'm worried about is that IBM or some giant company that has a really snazy sales department and has a well-established reputation could use the code if it's viable and sell a competing product, using my code.

Just consider this topic closed. I need to think through my ideas a lot more, or else I'll continue to act like a horse's behind.

Bölvağur
March 20th, 2009, 10:26 PM
sounds like gpl 3 (http://gplv3.fsf.org/), or at least a little bit like how it was a year ago.