Homepage    |    Wiki    |    GitHub    |    Twitter

Any experience with non-commercial opensource licensing?

I want to publish an app (for book clubs) I wrote. I want to make it available for everyone, as long as it's for their personal, non-commercial use.
I have searched around, but found nothing satisfactory. So for now, I'm sticking with a simple disclaimer in the readme. I've noticed @laurent is doing the same thing with Joplin Server and that gave me the idea to ask here.

So, anyone have experience with these things? Any recommendations?

If you find anything good, I'd be interested too. When I've searched for it, It seems you can either pick an open source license, or go for a ten pages EULA. In the end I've settled on the "Free for personal use" license as I've seen it used in another project.

When you look at it, some companies even stay away from slightly more restrictive open source licenses like GPL. So I assume you should be safe with a license that says it's free for personal use only, and cannot be used commercially. At least it would be hard for a company to argue they can freely use and distribute your software.

1 Like

It's worth noting that non-commercial licensing is not considered open-source — open source means that anyone is free to use and distribute the code of the software without prior permission. (see the Open-Source Definition at opensource dot org) (I'm not saying you shouldn't license your software this way, I'm just saying the terms "non-commercial" and "open-source" inherently conflict with each other)

That said, the macFUSE project (osxfuse/osxfuse on github) recently moved to a license that prohibits commercial use that you could look at—it's a modified version of the BSD-3-Clause License.