The RuDi Licensing Model (CDDL)

Why I chose the CDDL licensing model, when the project was hosted at Kenai.com.

I avoided the whole discussion of licenses for years. Just not something I wanted to spend my time on. (I know it’s important. But I have limited brain cycles.) To set up this project in Kenai, however (its original home), I needed to make a selection from the 18 or 20 “recommended” license models.

Google is your friend. I typed in the names of several promising candidates, to find a page that compared them. This page, did a particularly good job, so I relied on it to make a decision: this page.

To summarize the points made in that page:

  • GPL licenses are “viral”, so they’re not friendly to a company that wants to use your stuff to make money. But they do ensure that all improvements and extensions go back to the community.
  • BSD licenses (and derivatives like the Apache license) are “use at your own risk” licenses. They’re business friendly, but do not ensure the growth of the code in the “software commons”.
  • The Mozilla license was really good, but had a couple of bugs.
  • The Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) claims to fix those bugs. In the process, it distinguishes between “derived works” (new files) and “modifications” (changes to existing files). You’re not required to contribute derived works back to the community (although you can — and should, whenever possible), but you are required to submit modifications back to the community for approval and adoption.

The CDDL seemed like the right idea, so that’s the license I chose. (I haven’t spent the time reading the license and consulting with lawyers to be sure that it actually does all that, but it sounds like it is trying to do the right thing, at least. So it looked like the best choice available at the time.)

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