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Open Source Software (OSS) Resources

The University of California supports the use and creation of open source software (OSS). Staff, faculty and students compose a diverse community of users, developers and contributors who create and collaborate on OSS projects. Tools are regularly developed on and distributed from Locations, and members of the UC community may download various applications that have OSS licenses or release projects under a myriad of OSS licenses.

The OSS Workgroup was assembled in 2017 to update and finalize tools to help UC OSS users and contributors understand relevant rights and responsibilities, recognize differences between a number of open source licenses and provide guidance on the appropriateness of various OSS licenses in the University environment.

Ideally, UC staff and faculty seeking to open source UC-owned software should comply with the particular processes and forms in use at their campus and should work with the appropriate authorized licensing or copyright official, as required. We hope that, regardless of the direction of the approach, the creators/users of OSS software and campus delegated authorities can have a meaningful conversation about access and are in agreement regarding future plans for a particular piece of code or project to maximize the effectiveness of the work being done and the ability to adhere to the University’s mission.


The outcomes of this Workgroup are available for use within and the benefit of the UC system. We encourage Locations to distribute and tailor the documents so they may reach their full potential in the UC-OSS community.

The OSS Chart and accompanying guidance documents below are intended to be tools by which the University can facilitate compliance with the terms and conditions of the pertinent license, laws and internal policies for each of its OSS Contributions, each of its OSS Distributions and each of its OSS Uses through the education and broad guidance of both OSS programmers/users and campus delegated authorities.

The OSS Chart provides an at-a-glance view of the most commonly used OSS licenses and circumstances in which developers might use or distribute OSS software. The licenses recommended by the Workgroup are listed first. Other Licenses can have  complications and are listed second. These licenses require Locations to carefully consider the circumstances before use.  

The OSS Chart Companion can help the OSS community navigate and assess relevant open source licenses collected and organized by key criteria in the OSS Chart.

The Guide to Managing Open Source Software at UC also features a section that outlines, for authorized licensing officials, how to field and triage OSS inquiries and conduct due diligence for project-specific OSS approval.

The OSS Workgroup Final Report provides an analysis of relevant issues and recommendations on how the University should address the use of these popular OSS licenses.

Supporting Materials

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