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Licensing resource series: The most popular resources for 2016

by Donald Robertson Contributions Published on Dec 29, 2016 03:04 PM
This is the latest installment in the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) Licensing & Compliance Lab's series highlighting licensing resources.

With 2016 drawing to a close, we thought it would be interesting to look back on the resources that garnered the most attention throughout the year. While this series generally focuses on drawing attention to perhaps lesser known and older resources, we wanted to end the year by looking back on resources that many users already know and love.

With the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) still being one of the most popular free software licenses in the world it's unsurprising that people have lots of questions on how it works. The FAQ is a nice resource focusing on the older license, and even as many projects upgrade to or choose the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3) for their projects, it's still great to see so much interest in understanding version 2.

While this resource was already covered in our inaugural edition of this series, it ended up making the top list as well this year. Once you understand the GPLv2 in detail you can quickly get up to speed on the latest version of the license with this simple guide.

And once you have the basics down, this very detailed FAQ can fill in the picture for you. As GPLv3 adoption continues to spread, this resource has grown in popularity to eclipse the similar FAQ for the GPLV2.

Once you understand the various versions of the GPL, it's time to get some freely licensed software. To make this task simple, the Free Software Foundation publishes a list of endorsed distributions. These distros are guaranteed to come with only free software, so you can have a computing system you know is under your control.

Of course, there are many more resources available when it comes to licensing. This page is a great review of what resources are available, while giving users an overview of free software licensing.

But far and away the most popular resource we make available is our directory of free software. The Directory lists over 15,000 free software packages making it easy for users to find the software they need.

We hope you liked looking back on some of the most popular resources we make available. While free software licensing isn't terribly hard, having these tools and guides makes our more than thirty years of experience available for all. Resources like these are made possible thanks to the users who support our work, here's what you can do to help:

*Enjoy this article? Check out our previous entry on License Violations and Compliance

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