Free World Licence

Developer And Distributor Checklists

The Free World Licence, while conceptually simple, is complex in execution, and there are many issues to which developers and distributors must attend. To simplify this task, I have prepared some checklists that you can use to remind yourself of the requirements of the licence in various situations. In the sections below, the term "software" means software released under The Free World Licence. These checklists mainly focus on the things that you must do (and which are easy to forget) than the things that the licence says you must not do.

IMPORTANT: These checklists do not constitute legal advice by Ross N. Williams or any other party, and accordingly are not intended to be, nor should be relied upon as, a substitute for legal or other professional advice in relation to The Free World Licence. Where there is a conflict between a checklist (and, in particular, an omission) and the licence itself, the text of the licence prevails.

If You Refer To The Free World Licence

* You must not refer to The Free World Licence as an "Open Source" licence or to software released under the licence as "Open Source Software" (Clause Note). See also the Rejected by Eric Raymond page.

* Don't forget to include the licence's version number if it is a formal reference to the licence.

If You Use The Software

* You must not compile it (Clause 3.2) or run it (Clause 3.1) on a non-free platform (Clause 1.4).

* You must not incorporate any part of the software into any other software not also released under The Free World Licence (Clause 4.6).

If You Pass Copies Of The Software On To Others

* You must provide the recipient with a copy of The Free World Licence (Clause 4.1).

* You may not charge for the software itself (Clause 2.5 and Clause 5.13). However, you may charge a distribution fee (Clause 4.3) and/or a warranty fee (Clause 4.4).

* If you choose to pass on executables only, you must provide information on where the recipient can obtain the source code (Clause 4.2).

* You must not represent that the recipient has more or less rights than they do (Clause 4.8).

If You Modify The Software

* If you modify a module, you must add a notice providing your name, the date of the change, your email address, and a brief summary of each change (Clause 5.4).

* If you modify the software, you must add an interactive notice stating that the Program has been modified since its Official release, a statement that an official version is available, and sufficient online contact information (e.g. official web address) for obtaining the Official version, as provided by Original Licensor (Clause 5.5).

* You must name any executables you produce with a name different from the official version of the software (Clause 5.6).

If You Release Your Own Software Under The Free World Licence

* Be sure that you are comfortable warranting that you have sufficient copyright in the software to license it under this licence (Clause 2.6).

* You must provide sufficient contact information (Clause 4.5).

* You must add an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty in each module (Clause 4.1).

* You must add interactive notices (Clause 4.9). This is extremely important because, among other things, it provides legal protection for you, and supports the creation of the licence contract.

* Your end-user documentation must include an acknowledgement that you wrote the software (Clause 4.11). It's important to put this in so that someone has to explicitly remove it later to get rid of it.

* If you own a trademark on the program name, you should issue a public licence for use of the trademark that states the conditions under which you wish to allow it to be used in relation to the software (Clause 5.7). If you do not wish the trademark to be used to refer to the free version of the program, then you should choose a different name for the free version.

* If a module is covered by a patent owned by you, then you must add a notice about the patent in each module the patent affects, and in the module's documentation, or you will be automatically granting a free licence to your patent (Clause 5.14).

* Don't rely on this list! When you're about to release your software, read the licence carefully to ensure that you haven't missed anything.

*  See a list of software released so far.

*  Or find out why RMS denounced the FWL!

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