If you've been working with open source software for any amount of time, chances are you've seen licenses attached to the projects you've used (or even contributed to). There's quite a few of them out there and it can be confusing as to what's actually covered by them and how it effects you directly. In this recent post to Kyle E. Mitchell's site he explains, line-by-line, one of the most common Open Source licenses: the MIT license.
The MIT License is the most popular open-source software license. Here’s one read of it, line by line.
If you’re involved in open-source software and haven’t taken the time to read the license from top to bottom—it’s only 171 words—you need to do so now. Especially if licenses aren’t your day-to-day. Make a mental note of anything that seems off or unclear, and keep trucking. I’ll repeat every word again, in chunks and in order, with context and commentary. But it’s important to have the whole in mind.
He then walks you through the different sections of the license, explaining what it all means:
- License title (header)
- Copyright notice (header)
- Grant scope (license grant)
- Conditions (license grant)
- Attribution notice, warranty disclaimer and limitation of liability
There's a lot of detail here but in the end you'll definitely understand the license in and out. He ends the post with links to a few other resources that have helped him better understand source licenses.