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ChooseALicense.com aims to provide accurate, non-judgmental, and understandable information about popular open source licenses in order to help people make informed decisions about the projects they start, maintain, contribute to, and use.
We catalog select open source licenses with a Jekyll collection (in
_licenses). The catalog is used to render ChooseALicense.com and is regularly vendored into Licensee, which GitHub uses to provide a license chooser and license detection, a licenses API, and to display license descriptions and metadata.
- Be accurate, non-judgmental, and understandable. Our goal is to help you find a license that meets your goals.
- The homepage should have just enough to help most folks make a decision about what license to use for a project they contribute to.
- For the rest, the site will contain additional information about licenses common to specific communities and situations.
- Collaborate with and reinforce other licensing best practices and standards projects.
- Not comprehensive. Seems like an odd goal, but there are a bajillion licenses out there. We're going to have to filter that down to a small list of those that matter.
Run it on your machine
It may be the case that your system doesn't have the required dependencies. You will need
make installed on your computer.
For MacOS, use Homebrew to update your dependencies (install Homebrew from https://brew.sh/):
brew install make cmake
For Linux/Ubuntu, use the
apt-get tool to install the dependencies:
sudo apt-get install make cmake
Installing and Running the tool
Note that the third command (
./script/bootstrap) may require you to use
sudo access for installation. Add
sudo right before the third command, if need be, but don't use root access.
git clone https://github.com/github/choosealicense.com.git cd choosealicense.com ./script/bootstrap ./script/server
http://localhost:4000 in your favorite browser.
Adding a license
For information on adding a license, see the CONTRIBUTING file.
Licenses sit in the
/_licenses folder. Each license has YAML front matter describing the license's properties. The body of the file contains the text of the license in plain text. The available metadata fields are:
title- The license full name specified by https://spdx.org/licenses/
spdx-id- Short identifier specified by https://spdx.org/licenses/
description- A human-readable description of the license
how- Instructions on how to implement the license
using- A map of 3 notable projects using the license with straightforward LICENSE files which serve as examples newcomers can follow and that can be detected by licensee in the form of
permissions- Bulleted list of permission rules
conditions- Bulleted list of condition rules
limitations- Bulleted list of limitation rules
featured- Whether the license should be featured on the main page (defaults to false)
hidden- Whether the license is neither popular nor fills out the spectrum of licenses from strongly conditional to unconditional (defaults to true)
nickname- Customary short name if applicable (e.g, GPLv3)
note- Additional information about the licenses
redirect_from- Relative path(s) to redirect to the license from, to prevent breaking old URLs
The licenses on choosealicense.com are regularly imported to GitHub.com to be used as the list of licenses available when creating a repository. When we create a repository, we will replace certain strings in the license with variables from the repository. These can be used to create accurate copyright notices. The available variables are:
fullname- The full name or username of the repository owner
login- The repository owner's username
project- The repository name
description- The description of the repository
year- The current year
projecturl- The repository URL or other project website
The license properties (rules) are stored as a bulleted list within the licenses YAML front matter. Each rule has a name e.g.,
include-copyright, a human-readable label, e.g.,
Copyright inclusion, and a description
Include the original copyright with the code. To add a new rule, simply add it to
_data/rules.yml and reference it in the appropriate license.
commercial-use- This software and derivatives may be used for commercial purposes.
modifications- This software may be modified.
distribution- This software may be distributed.
private-use- This software may be used and modified in private.
patent-use- This license provides an express grant of patent rights from contributors.
include-copyright- A copy of the license and copyright notice must be included with the software.
include-copyright--source- A copy of the license and copyright notice must be included with the software in source form, but is not required for binaries.
document-changes- Changes made to the code must be documented.
disclose-source- Source code must be made available when the software is distributed.
network-use-disclose- Users who interact with the software via network are given the right to receive a copy of the source code.
same-license- Modifications must be released under the same license when distributing the software. In some cases a similar or related license may be used.
same-license--file- Modifications of existing files must be released under the same license when distributing the software. In some cases a similar or related license may be used.
same-license--library- Modifications must be released under the same license when distributing the software. In some cases a similar or related license may be used, or this condition may not apply to works that use the software as a library.
trademark-use- This license explicitly states that it does NOT grant trademark rights, even though licenses without such a statement probably do not grant any implicit trademark rights.
liability- This license includes a limitation of liability.
patent-use- This license explicitly states that it does NOT grant any rights in the patents of contributors.
warranty- The license explicitly states that it does NOT provide any warranty.
The content of this project itself is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license, and the underlying source code used to format and display that content is licensed under the MIT license.