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Final Thesis: A Model of Open Source Licenses

Abstract: An open source license specifies all rights granted and obligations imposed to the user of the open source software. However, researcher and practitioners are faced with a large diversity of open source licenses. This can lead to a lot time and effort spent on examining the different licenses. Mistakes can lead to legal consequences.

Therefore, we used a sample study approach and developed a model of open source licenses from the acquired data to overcome this diversity. Licenses can be categorized in strong, weak, and non-copyleft licenses. They were also compared regarding their permissions, conditions, and limitations. The scope of examined licenses was limited to the ten most used licenses according to the Black Duck KnowledgeBase. Over the past years, a trend could be recognized from strong to non-copyleft licenses.

The resulting model reflects the various aspects of open source licenses mentioned above. Therefore, it enables researchers to identify conflicting licenses and practitioners to handle multi-licensed open source projects. It also helps practitioners to choose a specific open source license that is fitting for the requirements of the respective project.

Keywords: Open source licenses, open source license compliance, Copyleft

PDF: Bachelor Thesis

Reference: Nathalie Schnelzer. A Model of Open Source Licenses. Bachelor Thesis. Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2020.