This book starts with the basics of contracts and licensing, proceeds through the details of the licenses, and concludes with a discussion of the implications of these licenses for organizations and for projects. You don't need to read the book from start to finish, and it's quite reasonable in some cases to read only the parts that apply to the licenses that interest you. This book has seven chapters:
- Chapter 1, Open Source Licensing, Contract, and Copyright Law
This chapter takes a look at the traditional foundations below open source licensing, including contracts and copyrights, with a brief look at patents and warranties.
- Chapter 2, The MIT, BSD, Apache, and Academic Free Licenses
This chapter takes a close look at licenses that specify terms, which allow the redistribution of source code but place few limits on its commercial use.
- Chapter 3, The GPL, LGPL, and Mozilla Licenses
These licenses specify terms that are designed to keep source code and derivations of that code openly available for further community development.
- Chapter 4, Qt, Artistic, and Creative Commons Licenses
This chapter looks at some licenses that take their own paths, reserving rights to the creator of a project, and, in the case of Creative Commons, licensing content that isn't necessarily code.
- Chapter 5, Non-Open Source Licenses
While free and open source licenses are the focus of this book, understanding proprietary licenses can also be important, especially as companies like Sun and Microsoft work on approaches that reserve many of their rights while attempting to reap some of the benefits of more open development models.
- Chapter 6, Legal Impacts of Open Source and Free Software Licensing
Using or publishing software under a license creates obligations. This chapter examines how those obligations work and what their consequences may be, as well as questions of mixing licenses or publishing software under multiple licenses.
- Chapter 7, Software Development Using Open Source and Free Software Licenses
The licenses are important, but their use makes them valuable. This chapter looks at how these licenses have been used and are being used on software projects, as well as how to choose from the many licenses available and what to do if you feel you must draft your own license.
- Appendix A, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs License
The Appendix contains the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 License, which sets terms under which this book may be freely distributed.
If you want to get an overview of all of the options in free and open source licensing and development, then it probably makes sense to read the book straight through. If you just want to look up a few licenses, it may make sense to pick up foundations in Chapter 1 and read the relevant sections in Chapter 2 through Chapter 5, and then look over Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.