i am glad to say that we are going to make Advanced Electron Forum (anelectron.com) an Opensource project, since we have a lack in developers and we think that this will make the development wheel turn much much better, we are going to post the source code to public in github, but we are not sure about the license that we are going to use, GPL gives too much freedom we don't want,

the only thing we want to prevent the user from doing is the forking, we don't want any forks or redistribution of the code without permission, so what to chose ?

  • 1
    I think you may be confusing 'open source' with 'free programmers'.
    – jkyle
    Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 22:15
  • That's not how open source works, sir. No one wants to work on something they aren't allowed to use.
    – Twipped
    Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 22:16

1 Answer 1


The Open Source Definition states that an open source license must allow the software to be freely redistributed and to allow derivative works to be made. If that is not what you want, you should write your own license. However, that license would not be considered open source, and hence your software could not be rightfully considered open source software.

One thing you can do however is require any forks to carry different names or version numbers, according to paragraph 4 of the open source definition

4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code

The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if 
the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with the source code for the 
purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit 
distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require 
derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.
  • 2
    If the idea is to attract outside development, I'd recommend sticking to an OSI-approved license. Fewer people would be interested in working on software for somebody else than one that's truly Free/Open Source. Open sourcing software to get free development help is something of a gamble anyway, but expecting to get free development for code the developer can't even redistribute is probably hopeless. Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 15:17
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    @David Thornley - I agree completely. You can't get something for nothing. Making software open source involves a trade-off. You get contributions at no (monetary) cost, and the community gets the right to redistribute and reuse. Trying to get the former without allowing the latter is unlikely to go very far.
    – Zhehao Mao
    Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 17:24
  • interesting, so what license requires the forks to use different version-ing and naming, and keep the licensee's name on the credits ?
    – SAFAD
    Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 6:09
  • I'm not certain. The OSD is just that, a definition. It is not a legal document. If there actually exists a license that uses this particular clause, it will be listed on this list. If you can't find one that suits your needs, you can write your own. Most of the licenses you see on the list were originally project-specific.
    – Zhehao Mao
    Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 14:16

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