Licenses in The Networked Information Economy Essay examples

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Free and open source software has become an integral part of the modern internet age. As a result of the threat posed by copyright laws sponsored by proprietary software companies, the free software community has developed many software licenses to combat copyright and protect the developer. Many open source licenses have ben used by developers to release their programs to the community. Some of the most popular licenses are the Apache License, the GNU General Public License (GPL), and the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). Each of these licenses gives different rights for the licensor and the user of the license. Each license also has implications on the availability of the code to the future developer community. The GPL more …show more content…
The LGPL is a less restrictive copyleft license based, for the most part, on the GPL. One main difference between the two licenses is the fact that the LGPL allows the use of its licensed libraries to be used in proprietary software as well as free software (Free Software Foundation, n.d.). Programs that are licensed under the GPL include the Qt application development system, the RhythmBox music player, and the Blender 3d modeling program. Programs licensed under the GPL have a wide developer base and a wide variety of improvements because anyone can access the source code and release changes to the community.

The Apache Software License was developed by the Apache Software Foundation as an alternative to the restrictions of the GPL. The Apache License is a much less restrictive license than the GPL or the LGPL. The main difference between the two licenses is that code under the Apache License can be used in a proprietary program (Wilson, 2005a). Another difference in the Apace License is the fact that users of programs licensed under the Apache License do not have to contribute their changes back to the community, as with the GPL (Metz, 2012). Aside from the Apache web server, Google's Android Operating System and Hadoop—a networked data processing program—are licensed under the Apache License (Metz, 2012). Some proprietary software