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What's the open source license that OSQA uses. What are the limitations of that license?
Answer by rick , Husband, father, coffee addict, dork · Mar 11, 2010 at 05:06 PM
OSQA is provided under the terms of the GNU Public License, version 3 (GPLv3). The GPLv3 license is recognized as an approved license by the Open Source Initiative, and it is widely accepted as a license that guarantees future openness and availability of the underlying source code.
Answer by evgeny fadeev · Mar 12, 2010 at 09:38 PM
GPL3 license I think states very clearly that anyone distributing the software (compiled object code) itself or software bundled with a device which is being distributed - must also provide the source code or instructions how to obtain it (details actually depend on the method of distribution).
GPL3 does not prevent (here is a reference) anyone from creating a closed source version and provide a public service based on that version (there is another license that prevents this - it's called AGPL3, but I've never heard anyone applying it). This is how many companies including Google get away with using heavily in-house modified Linux OS on their servers (well Linux is actually GPL2, but the same exclusion applies).
There are two main differences between GPL2 and GPL3 - one is the clause about the distribution of embedded software (together with a device) and second - requiring authors to give up patents on anything included into the GPL3'd software - this part I don't understand as well and may be wrong in the wording.
There are also changes in the language making it more friendly to non-US jurisdictions. For example they've changed word "distribute" into "convey". I guess some terms confuse even lawyers.