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License to restrict too many forks

wolfiton profile image wolfiton github logo ・1 min read  

Hi everyone,

I want to create a project that can be used free but do not want to fall in the rabbit hole of excessive forking.

I would like to allow forking only too people that want to contribute to the project.

Also, I want to make sure that people will not be tricked by others to pay for something that is free.

So I was thinking of creating a requirement for all the projects that use it to have a powered in the footer.

What license can make this happen or do you have any suggestions regarding this?


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People will only (usually) fork your project if it doesn't do what they want it to do, if you are open with then and accepting of useful pull requests there is no need to fork the project.

Forking is expensive (and divisive) so there is no incentive to do it unless there is a major problem that they want to "fix" and you won't let them. I've been working on open source projects for 25 years now and have only seen one fork in that time ( so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

The biggest issue I find with open source projects is getting people to contribute to them in the first place. If you look at my repos you will see that most have 1 or 2 stars and a couple of "forks" which indicates a collaborator.


My project is a bit different I had in mind to build a CMS like WordPress but not in PHP and with a more performant database schema.


I think this will be hard to achieve. There are a lot of reasons for this, including things such as derivatives that might run on other platforms (possibly without a screen).

My advice would be to choose between two options. Either, go closed source (but free to use) if you want to keep control, or go open source (using a traditional license) and give up that control knowing that people might fork your project a lot.

(Of course, unless your project gets really big, the number of forks - and their scope - will probably be limited in practice.)


Thanks @jasperhorn , I will keep your suggestion in my mind

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