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The authority for designating licenses that comply with the essential freedoms required by FOSS is the Open Source Initiative.

Some common FOSS licenses include:

License Comparison

A comparison of some FOSS licenses across some common criteria is shown in the table below. Note all FOSS licenses satisfy the first four conditions.

  Source must be free Must retain copyright notice Modifications covered under license Can sell executable without restriction Cannot use for software or data locking Code that reuses covered under license Code that is combined covered under license Linked code covered under license New updates to license will apply Patent retal-iation, loss of use if suit brought Can sell source code
GPL V3 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y if shared data structures, N if separate programs - Y - -
LGPL Y Y Y Y - - - - Y - -
Mozilla (V1.1) Y Y Y Y - - - - Y Y -
BSD Y Y Y Y - - - - - - Y

Y = Yes, "-" = No