[Mono-list] Open sourcing an application

Jonathan Pryor jonpryor at vt.edu
Mon Apr 17 06:43:41 EDT 2006

On Sun, 2006-04-16 at 18:56 -0700, Paul Oremland wrote:
> Is there a place that has a step by step guide to open sourcing an 
> application?

Not that I'm aware of.  Usually all that's necessary is choosing a
license, creating a .tar.gz of your sources, and inserting your license
into that .tar.gz with the filename COPYING.  A README would also be

Automake also suggests the files INSTALL, NEWS, AUTHORS, and ChangeLog.

In general, the best bet is to take an existing open-source project
similar to yours and follow their structure.

> Specifically I'm looking for:
> - what types of headers do source files need

None are required -- just look at the Linux sources, which frequently
have no license mentioned at all, just copyright statements (iirc). :-)

However, it's useful to have the file's license within the file header
(to make things explicit), or to say "Please see the license in <<INSERT

Obviously you'll need a copyright statement in the file as well.

> - what files need to be distributed with the source (I.E. any license 
> files?)

This is mentioned above, but a copy of your chosen license should be
included with your sources.  A README, INSTALL, AUTHORS, and ChangeLog
files are also recommended.  If you use Automake or Autoconf, they may
require additional files as well, depending on how you invoke them.

> - How to get "Open Source" certified.

Projects aren't certified, licenses are (to the extent that anything is
"certified").  If you choose a license that's well known, such as
MIT/X11, GPL, or LGPL, you should be fine.

> Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Are there other things I need to 
> consider?

Project hosting.  It might not matter now, but if you get any
significant assistance on your project, you'll likely need
CVS/subversion/etc., a mailing list, bugzilla, and all the other
"trappings" of the modern open-source project.  SourceForge.net has
previously help with some of this, but I've occasionally heard that
they're flaky, so you might want to look into other sources as well.

Plus, you'll obviously need a location to allow people to download your

 - Jon

More information about the Mono-list mailing list