View Full Version : Trying to find a Free Software License

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?

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'.

March 20th, 2009, 08:59 PM
A suggestion: Creative commons licenses

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.

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.