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I mean under which license is the source code available? I'm not sure if Unity is free software

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Quoting the upstream page at Launchpad:

Unity is free software, you are encouraged to use whatever pieces of it suit you.

[...]

Licenses: GNU GPL v3, GNU LGPL v3

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If you disagree with upstream's contribution terms that's only bad for upstream but doesn't really affect the project's licensing (AFAIU, IANAL - hooray for acronyms! :P) –  htorque Oct 28 '10 at 12:25
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That is not true. Contribution agreements are one thing - the problem with contribution assignments (irrelevant that it is questionable if they are possible within the EU), would allow an upstream to go to an open core system, which affects the project's licensing and the inability of the user to have access to the non-open code! –  txwikinger Oct 28 '10 at 12:35
    
Sure, with only one copyright holder (if that's even possible, as you have hinted) that risk exists, but my point was that Unity doesn't automatically become non-free because of that risk. Right now the code is free and nobody is forced to assign anything to Canonical. –  htorque Oct 28 '10 at 13:50
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I'm on record as saying there is no plan for proprietary extension to Unity. The contribution agreement means we can craft custom terms in cases where OEM's or partners like Intel can't accept GPLv3, it also means we can move to GPLv4 if it's better in due course. There's no basis for challenging the "free" credentials of Unity because it's firmly lead by Canonical and uses a contribution agreement. –  Mark Shuttleworth Nov 4 '10 at 14:02
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Unity is available under the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3.

It is certainly protected by copyright. All creative works are - including those released under a free software or 'copyleft' license.

As far as I am aware Canonical hold no patents of any kind - of course it is possible other companies may claim it infringes on their patents.


There has been concern though with the Canonical Contributor Agreement - I've included a brief description below:

In the agreement, the contributor assigns copyright to Canonical, and Canonical simultaneously grants the contributor a very broad license back, so that the contributor retains full rights to re-use, distribute, and continue modifying the contributed code.

Some members of the free software community are concerned that in the future Canonical (or a company that takes over Canonical) could re-license Unity under a non-free license. Others see this as highly unlikely.

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IMHO the question is not whether it's likely. The question is whether it is legally possible. –  dorfbewohner Oct 28 '10 at 13:58
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