Overview of free software licenses (for dummies)


Does anyone know of a reference that explains the different open-source licenses in easily understandable, non-legalese terms?

Specifically I'm looking for information about what it means to me when I'd like to use and redistribute some (open-source) library with my own products, e.g. something like this:

  • a library distributed under license X
    • can be modified, used and redistributed without restrictions, even in commercial, closed-source products
  • a library distributed under license Y
    • may not be modified, but can be redistributed with a commercial, closed-source products
    • it is required to mention the fact that a product makes use of that library (e.g. by adding some license file, etc)
  • a library distributed under license Z
    • may only be used by projects which are also distributed under the same license

Best Solution

This is going to be a big grave dig, but after reading this question I can't help but to slip this link here:


^Lookup any software license summarized in plain english (What you can, cannot and must do).