[@OKFNau] BudgetAus going open source

Mark McDonald i at ii.net
Tue Mar 4 10:15:20 UTC 2014

I'm totally not a lawyer and you should not listen to me under any
circumstances.  You should consult legal advice before deciding on
licensing decisions.

What made you decide to open source the code & data?  Do you feel
passionately about any aspects of OSS that you feel must be included in
your terms?  You should decide based on the tenets upon which you feel
strongly.  e.g. do you want to be attributed for derivative works? do you
want to ensure that all derivative works are also open source?  do you want
to make it somewhat restrictive, such that you could charge for a custom

A very quick and incomplete summary of some of the licenses around. This is
largely my interpretation and you should not take my advice as The Law.

GPL - Lets users run, copy, change & distribute your code.  Any
re-distribution or changes need to be under the same or a compatible
license.  Mandatory source distribution when using your code in another

Lesser GPL - Much like the GPL, but there is an exception for usage where a
3rd party app can link to your code (a compilation term, not a URL) and
distributed under a different (including closed-source) license.  Users
don't need to distribute your code if they haven't changed it.

MIT / BSD / Apache - These aren't all the same, but they're similar in that
they are super open and generally only require that you include the
original license and attribution.  Can be used in closed-source projects &
sold for cash if desired.

Creative Commons - Not really an open source license but might be
applicable for licensing your data.  Comes with a bunch of "switches" where
you can choose to allow or disallow commercial use, attribution and
derivative works.  If you turn them all off, you get CC0, which is complete
and total public domain.

AGPL - This is a little more controversial.  Staunch free software
advocates will back it, stating that it has the most "copyleft" terms.  On
the other side, it's restrictions around requiring source code distribution
when used over a network may mean it's not practical for most users.

Make sure that you have 100% ownership of the source and data too.  If you
have derived your data or code from someone or somewhere else, you may be
subject to their licensing requirements.  Same for your code, if you've
used 3rd party code, you may need to take their licensing into

One piece of advice is do NOT try and create your own license.  You need to
get your warranty clause right & will likely cause more harm than good.
 Pick an existing license.

And like I said, IANAL so will have made a mistake or two here I'm sure :)

Good luck!

On 3 March 2014 08:17, Rosie Williams <budgetaus at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
> I've made a decision to open source the BudgetAus code (and data). I'd
> like feedback about which licence to use and the pros and cons of different
> licences or any other advice people have.
> If you wish, comments can go onto the forum at
> http://infoaus.net/forum/discussion/11/federal-budget#Item_7 if you want
> other people interested in budget transparency to read them.
> thanks
> Rosie
> Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)
> Founder & Developer InfoAus.net
>    ABN 90 345 143 783
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Mark McDonald
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