Introduction to Software Licensing

The IDEAS Productivity project, in partnership with the DOE Computing Facilities of the ALCF, OLCF, and NERSC and the DOE Exascale Computing Project (ECP) has resumed the webinar series on Best Practices for HPC Software Developers, which we began in 2016.

As part of this series, we offer one-hour webinars on topics in scientific software development and high-performance computing, approximately once a month. The next webinar is titled Introduction to Software Licensing, and will be presented by David Bernholdt (Oak Ridge National Laboratory). The webinar took place on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 1:00 pm ET.


Software licensing and related matters of intellectual property can often seem confusing or hopelessly complicated, especially when many present their opinions as dogma. This presentation takes a different approach: getting you to think about software licensing from the standpoint of what you want others to be able to do (or not do) with your software. We started by developing a common understanding of the terminology used around software licenses. Then considered various scenarios of what you might want to accomplish with a software license, and what to look for in the license. We also discussed some pragmatic issues around actually applying a license to your software.