The Apache License is a permissive free software license written by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). It allows users to use the software for any purpose, to distribute it, to modify it, and to distribute modified versions of the software under the terms of the license, without concern for royalties. The ASF and its projects release their software products under the Apache License. The license is also used by many non-ASF projects.
The Apache Software Foundation logo
|Author||Apache Software Foundation|
|Publisher||Apache Software Foundation|
|GPL compatible||Only version 2.0 is compatible with only GPLv3.|
|Linking from code with a different license||Yes|
Beginning in 1995, the Apache Group (later the Apache Software Foundation) released successive versions of their well-known httpd server. Their initial license was essentially the same as the old BSD license, with only the names of the organizations changed. When Berkeley accepted the argument put to it by the Free Software Foundation and retired their advertising clause from the BSD license. In 2000, Apache did likewise and created the Apache License 1.1, in which derived products are no longer required to include attribution in their advertising materials, only in their documentation. Individual packages licensed under the 1.1 version may have used different wording due to varying requirements for attribution or mark identification, but the binding terms were all the same.
In January 2004, ASF decided to depart from the BSD model and produced the Apache License 2.0. The stated goals of the license included making it easier for non-ASF projects to use, improving compatibility with GPL-based software, allowing the license to be included by reference instead of listed in every file, clarifying the license on contributions, and requiring a patent license on contributions that necessarily infringe a contributor's own patents. This license requires preservation of the copyright notice and disclaimer.
The Apache License is permissive; unlike the so-called copyleft licenses, it does not require a derivative work of the software, or modifications to the original, to be distributed using the same license. It still requires application of the same license to all unmodified parts. In every licensed file, original copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices must be preserved (excluding notices that do not pertain to any part of the derivative works.) In every licensed file changed, a notification must be added stating that changes have been made to that file.
NOTICE text file is included as part of the distribution of the original work, then derivative works must include a readable copy of these notices within a
NOTICE text file distributed as part of the derivative works, within the source form or documentation, or within a display generated by the derivative works (wherever such third-party notices normally appear).
The contents of the
NOTICE file do not modify the license, as they are for informational purposes only, and adding more attribution notices as addenda to the
NOTICE text is permissible, provided that these notices cannot be understood as modifying the license. Modifications may have appropriate copyright notices, and may provide different license terms for the modifications.
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, any contributions submitted by a licensee to a licensor will be under the terms of the license without any terms and conditions, but this does not preclude any separate agreements with the licensor regarding these contributions.
The Apache License 2.0 makes sure that the user does not have to worry about infringing any patents by using the software. The user is granted a license to any patent that covers the software. This license is terminated if the user sues anyone over patent infringement related to this software. This condition is added in order to prevent patent litigations.
The Apache Software Foundation and the Free Software Foundation agree that the Apache License 2.0 is a free software license, compatible with the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 3, meaning that code under GPLv3 and Apache License 2.0 can be combined, as long as the resulting software is licensed under the GPLv3.
The Free Software Foundation considers all versions of the Apache License to be incompatible with the previous GPL versions 1 and 2. Furthermore, it considers Apache License versions before 2.0 incompatible with GPLv3. Because of version 2.0's patent license requirements, the Free Software Foundation recommends it over other non-copyleft licenses.
Reception and adoptionEdit
In October 2012, 8,708 projects located at SourceForge.net were available under the terms of the Apache License. In a blog post from May 2008, Google mentioned that over 25% of the nearly 100,000 projects then hosted on Google Code were using the Apache License, including the Android operating system.
The OpenBSD project does not consider the Apache License 2.0 to be an acceptable free license because of its patent provisions. The OpenBSD policy argues that when the license forces one to give up a legal right that one otherwise have, that license is no longer free.
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The ‘BSD-like’ licenses such as the BSD, MIT, and Apache licenses are extremely permissive, requiring little more than attributing the original portions of the licensed code to the original developers in your own code and/or documentation.
- "Apache License, Version 2.0". Apache Software Foundation. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
- "Various Licenses and Comments about Them". Free Software Foundation. 14 January 2008. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
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- Stein, Greg (28 May 2008). "Standing Against License Proliferation". Google Open Source Blog.
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- Balter, Ben (9 March 2015). "Open source license usage on GitHub.com". GitHub.
- "OpenBSD copyright policy". openbsd.org. OpenBSD Foundation. 28 May 2019.