New Book: Demystifying Open Source Licensing

2 minute read

I am writing a book to make open source licensing easier to understand! 

As an open source user and software engineering researcher, I have been amazed about how tricky this topic is and how easy things can go wrong. If you are a developer, you should definitively understand a bit more about open source licenses. Why is it important to study open source licenses in 2020? Some questions to think:

  • Do you know why Google banned the use of the AGPL license on any of its open source projects?
  • Do you know why GPL 2.0 license, one of the purest copyleft licenses around, has more than halved in usage in the last 10 years?
  • Do you know why it took about one year to change a license in the Eclipse project?
  • Do you know that one of the core maintainers of Lerna project was removed from the core team due to license misuses?
  • Do you know that you should run away from open source projects that don’t have any license?

Software licensing is a complex subject, which often requires expertise from other other areas far away from the software development arena. Indeed, most books regarding software licensing are also written by lawyers, which is not a problem itself, but the terms employed may hinder the understand of the software development community (I had a hard time understanding these books). Another problem is that developers may not always see any concrete implication of an eventual license misuse. 

The goal of this book is two-fold: First, we intend to make this complex license stuff simpler. Second, the book should highlight concrete examples of license problems (so developers could easily relate to their activities). 

By doing this, we expect that developers could better understand the importance of open source licenses and the context in which they could use or not one given software library (because of license concerns). 

The book is intended to be short (~100 pages) and will be ready around June, but it is open for pre-orders, for only $ 10.

##For whom this book is for:

  • If you are are developer and have to use open source software on daily basis, this book is for you!
  • If you are project maintainer and still struggle to understand what license you should use, this book is for you!
  • If you are a researcher interested in studying open source licensing issues, this book is for you!
  • If you care about open source, but don’t really understand open source licensing, this book is for you!

Got interested?

If this interests you, it would mean a lot if you pre-order your copy, online at You will receive the final book in your inbox as soon as it’s ready. If open source is not your thing, you could also help by sharing this blog post with your friends 🙏🏻

Important note: If you happen to not like the book, just reply to the download email within 30 days, and you’ll get a full refund. No question asked.

Finally, I will keep sharing my progress in writing this book on twitter.

Follow on if you want to be updated!