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The Apache License is a permissive free software license written by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF).[5] The Apache License, Version 2.0 requires preservation of the copyright notice and disclaimer. Like other free software licenses, the license allows the user of the software the freedom 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. This makes the Apache License a FRAND-RF license. The ASF and its projects release the software they produce under the Apache License. The license is also used by many non-ASF projects.

Apache License
Apache Software Foundation Logo (2016).svg
The Apache Software Foundation logo
AuthorApache Software Foundation
Latest version2.0
PublisherApache Software Foundation
PublishedJanuary 2004
DFSG compatibleYes[1]
FSF approvedYes[2]
OSI approvedYes[3]
GPL compatibleVersion 2.0 is compatible with GPLv3,[2] but not with earlier GNU licenses.[4]
Linking from code with a different licenseYes



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 organisations changed. When Berkeley accepted the argument put to it by the Free Software Foundation and retired their advertising clause from the BSD license, Apache did likewise and created the Apache License v1.1 - a slight variation on the modified BSD license. In 2004 Apache decided to depart from the BSD model a little more radically, and produced the Apache License v2.

Version 1.1Edit

The 1.1 version of the Apache License was approved by the ASF in 2000. The primary change from the 1.0 license is in the 'advertising clause' (section 3 of the 1.0 license); 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.

Version 2.0Edit

The ASF adopted the Apache License 2.0 in January 2004. The stated goals of the license included making the license 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.[6]

Licensing conditionsEdit

The Apache License is permissive in that it does not require a derivative work of the software, or modifications to the original, to be distributed using the same license (unlike copyleft licenses – see comparison). It still requires application of the same license to all unmodified parts and, in every licensed file, any original copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices in redistributed code must be preserved (excluding notices that do not pertain to any part of the derivative works); and, in every licensed file changed, a notification must be added stating that changes have been made to that file.

If a 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.

Apache license version 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.

GPL compatibilityEdit

The Apache Software Foundation and the Free Software Foundation agree that the Apache License 2.0 is a free software license, compatible with version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GPL),[7] meaning that code under GPL version 3 and Apache License 2.0 can be combined, as long as the resulting software is licensed under the GPL version 3.[8]

The Free Software Foundation considers all versions of the Apache License to be incompatible with the previous GPL versions 1 and 2[9] and, furthermore, considers Apache License versions before v2.0 incompatible with GPLv3. Because of version 2.0's patent license requirements, the Free Software Foundation recommends it over other non-copyleft licenses, specifically recommending it either for small programs or for developers who wish to use a permissive license for other reasons.[10]

Reception and adoptionEdit

In October 2012, 8,708 projects located at were available under the terms of the Apache License.[11] 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,[12] including the Android operating system.[13]

As of 2015, according to Black Duck Software[14] and GitHub,[15] the Apache license is the third most popular license in the FOSS domain after MIT license and GPLv2.

The OpenBSD project does not consider the Apache License 2.0 to be an acceptable license due to its patent provisions.[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Apache Software License (ASL)". The Big DFSG-compatible Licenses. Debian Project. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Apache License, Version 2.0". Various Licenses and Comments about Them. Free Software Foundation. Archived from the original on 16 July 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  3. ^ "OSI-approved licenses by name". Open Source Initiative. Archived from the original on 28 April 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  4. ^ "GNU License List". Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  5. ^ New Media Rights (12 September 2008). "Open Source Licensing Guide". California Western School of Law. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 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.
  6. ^ "Apache License, Version 2.0". Apache Software Foundation. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Various Licenses and Comments about Them". Free Software Foundation. 14 January 2008. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  8. ^ Apache Software Foundation. "Apache License v2.0 and GPL Compatibility". Archived from the original on 15 January 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  9. ^ Free Software Foundation (28 February 2013). "Licenses". Archived from the original on 5 March 2013.
  10. ^ "How to choose a license for your own work".
  11. ^ "Projects at SourceForge under Apache License". Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  12. ^ "Standing Against License Proliferation". Retrieved 24 October 2009.
  13. ^ Android Open Source licenses
  14. ^ "Top 20 licenses". Black Duck Software. 19 November 2015. Archived from the original on 19 July 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 1. MIT license 24%, 2. GNU General Public License (GPL) 2.0 23%, 3. Apache License 16%, 4. GNU General Public License (GPL) 3.0 9%, 5. BSD License 2.0 (3-clause, New or Revised) License 6%, 6. GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1 5%, 7. Artistic License (Perl) 4%, 8. GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 3.0 2%, 9. Microsoft Public License 2%, 10. Eclipse Public License (EPL) 2%
  15. ^ Balter, Ben (9 March 2015). "Open source license usage on". Retrieved 21 November 2015. "1 MIT 44.69%, 2 Other 15.68%, 3 GPLv2 12.96%, 4 Apache 11.19%, 5 GPLv3 8.88%, 6 BSD 3-clause 4.53%, 7 Unlicense 1.87%, 8 BSD 2-clause 1.70%, 9 LGPLv3 1.30%, 10 AGPLv3 1.05%
  16. ^ "OpenBSD copyright policy". OpenBSD Project. Retrieved 25 April 2017.

External linksEdit