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How (and Why) To Wrap Your Head Around Free Software Licensing

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Open source software is being taken seriously as a viable alternative to expensive proprietary applications but it's important to realize that, like its commercial brethren, it comes with a license for use. It's also important to remember that all open source licensing is not created equal.

Free software licensing is quite complex and I recommend browsing for the most up-to-date and complete information. According to Eran Strod, director of product marketing at Black Duck Software, around 70% of open source code is licensed under the GPL, something you'll want at least a passing familiarity with.

Although the GPL is popular, it's not the only game in town.

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