The Approved Open Source Licenses never looked better

License page

A license-review project has been underway with the goal of creating a systematic and well-ordered database of all the licenses that have been submitted to OSI for approval since the time of the organization’s founding. Giulia Dellanoce was brought on as an intern to complete this Approval Registry project, and we’re very thankful for her work in completing this mission.

The OSI Approved Licenses database is now available on the OSI website!

The Open Source community needs a resource to confidently and easily identify licenses that have gained OSI approval, and now they have it. This Approval Registry offers a comprehensive and authoritative listing of all licenses so organizations know that the license they choose for their project allows their software to be freely used, modified, shared and monetized in compliance with the Open Source Definition.

The building of the Approval Registry required the review of decades worth of material, including:

  • Review of the public license review mailing lists from 2008 – 2023
  • Review of the license discuss mailing lists from 1999 – 2007
  • Review of the public board meeting minutes 2005 – 2023 

The license pages have been updated to include the status of each license, whether it has been approved, withdrawn, voluntarily retired or rejected by the board. The metadata of each license has also been updated with links to relevant documentation. 

More valuable licensing information to come

There are plans for future expansion of this project, as the work is never done. Greater details about licenses will continue to be added. As licenses move through the process of being considered for OSI approval, a current status will be listed in the database. Also, OSI has assembled a listing of non-approved licenses for easy searching that will be located on the website at a future date. 

Another future expansion is the development of an API service that can answer questions like “is this license approved?” There is already a community-contributed API service but it’s not carefully maintained to match the actual list. If you have uses for consuming the database of Approved Licenses via API please get in touch.

If you think we’ve missed something, a license page looks wrong or you have access to email board archives from the past, please let us know. File a ticket or contact us.

Thank you to Giulia for this important work, and to Slim.AI for the donation to OSI that supported this project so they and other companies can have a trustable, centralized list of Open Source Approved License®.


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