Proposal for a source available software licence non commercial, except if there is a contract

I searched for a licence that would allow to sell source available software … I found none!
(Creative Common is discouraged for software). I think there are currently a lot of discussion
about the “economy” around software developed on the spare time of programmers …

I put a few idea together and got something there: GitHub - craff/sancand

if you agree with the idea, especially if you are lawyer! please contribute. Clearly this needs a lot of work
before one can distribute software with this licence.

Please forward this mail to any relevant channel you wish.

I use the GPL and sell the program in the :green_apple: App Store.

Either publish your software or don’t. It doesn’t need to be free as in free beer though.

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Hi, this is off-topic for an OCaml discussion forum. Thanks.

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Sure you can sell GPL software. And I can sell your software too, as long as I respect the GPL.

Isn’t licence discussion on topic for any programming language group?

Not necessarily. If it’s about a license of a specific OCaml-based project, then yes. If it’s about software licensing of projects in general, then I’d say no. There are other forums dedicated to discussing licensing. Otherwise where do we draw the line? People who want to sell software also need payment processing systems, should we talk about that here?


@yawaramin my example wasn’t an OCaml project, but I have such upcoming and am interested in monetizing.
Indeed I will need payment detection built in OCaml and will need a license that makes sense.

Can you elaborate a bit on the harm of a thread like this one? I mean the stickers I mail around the globe aren’t programming either.

I have no intent to argue, I am just curious.

It’s not about harm, it’s about etiquette. People want (at least I hope) that topical forums stay on topic, otherwise they will have to wade through irrelevant threads every time they’re looking for something specific. One would hope, I think, to find OCaml-focused discussions on an OCaml forum. This should not be a surprising hope.

About the stickers, those are specifically OCaml stickers. If someone started posting e.g. ‘I :heart: Programming’ stickers here I’d have the same objection.


I think it is verging on harm since license “discussion” is the stuff of troll bait. It invariably ends up with non-lawyers arguing with non-lawyers about legal issues which they do not understand, going round and round in circles. If you want to discuss licenses contact your company’s legal department.

In this case the OP does not appear to be trolling since (s)he has taken the trouble to open a git repo. I think making an announcement of the repo would be acceptable on this forum, if it invited further discussion as an issue of the repo only; but such further discussion is not I think wanted here for the reasons you mention.

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Ok, you can remove the topic, or I will do it when I am back in front of a computer. If you have any pointer to a forum with good lawyers…


Hi Christophe,

I disagree with the discussion not being welcome here but I agree that licensing is a topic for lawyers. For instance reviews licenses, but they must conform to their definition of open-source. Note that some people are successfully selling GPL software on platform app stores, alongside free channels.

I agree that lawyers are necessary and that I should not be writing a licence (and I want some lawyer to look at it and will definitely look at Thanks for this pointer.

As I said before I am fully aware that you can sell GPL software. What I do not like is that any one can sell any GPL software. I want a licence that ensure remuneration of authors unless they renounce to it explicitely.

Moreover, look at the purpose of my proposed licence to see how “strange” it is … It is not just about copyright protection, it is also some kind of constitution that is enforced about the managment of the software. It tries to protect both the users and the authors.

Maybe look at the dual license scheme of nmap.

When I was looking into licenses for darklang (eventually settled on a custom license), we came across the Polyform set of licenses, which is intended to be like CC but specifically for software.

To my knowledge, they’re well regarded and made by experienced professionals.