Last Thursday we were lucky enough to have Krista Khare, Program Manager with Comcast’s Open Source Practice, join us to lead a workshop on open source licensing. Bringing in experts from the community to lead talks or workshops is something we’re considering doing more often. So If you enjoyed Krista’s presentation, let us know.

We have some good news for those of you who were interested in the topic but couldn’t make it to Krista’s workshop: Krista was gracious enough to give us her presentation on open source licensing! We’ve uploaded it for you over at the Code for Philly forum. You can revisit it as often as you need to as you work on your Code for Philly project.

Important takeaways from Krista’s workshop:

  • Always use a license approved by the Open Source Initiative (there are currently 83)
  • All licenses come with certain obligations
  • The second your code is distributed (shared with a friend, uploaded to github), obligations of the license kick in
  • Just because your code is public doesn’t mean it’s open source, it must have a license to be open source

In the past, we’ve recommended MIT’s open source license to our volunteers. That’s still a pretty good fall back, but you can also use the site Choose a License to find an open source license that might be a better fit for your project.

We encourage all Code for Philly project teams to read up on open source licensing. We believe in the power of the open source community and in the importance of practicing good open source citizenship. That means doing our due diligence in knowing what licenses apply to the open source data or code we pull into our projects and also applying the right license to our open source projects before we make them public.

It’s about setting ourselves, our projects, and the rest of the open source community up for continued success.