I'm thinking of giving away the source code for an internal application but I need to know what to do with regards to licensing. Should I wait for GPLv3 or should I go with any one of the licenses out there? I want it to be free for everyone to use, I want others to contribute and I don't want to have to worry about legal hassles.

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The current GPLv2 will accomplish your goals, and prevent anyone from taking the source code private. You may have to wait a long time for GPLv3, so go ahead with v2 now. As long as you own the code copyright or have the consent of the copyright holders, you can always re-license under version 3 when/if it appears. If you have specific needs that GPLv2 does not satisfy, then you might have to pick another license.

There is considerable value in the GPL because it is well-known and many developers will not work under other licenses.

This was first published in January 2007

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