Here are the needs that software developers have expressed, that resulted in the decision to draft these licenses.
More on how PolyForm fits with open core licensing models.
This license is intended to allow for noncommercial use of software.
Good For: educators, researchers, or anyone else who wants to enable use for public benefit, but reserve rights to negotiate for commercial licenses.
The non-commercial definition is intentionally broad, to facilitate use at no charge by researchers, universities, and non-profit organizations, and well as private uses.
Not Good For: Vendors of educational or research tools.
If your software is made for use by such organizations (such as learning platforms or drug discovery software) and you want to charge for it, this license is not the right choice.
Good For: developers who want to enable potential customers to test and tinker with the software to evaluate its use. Making the source code available can help potential customers test integration before committing to a production license.
Developers would usually offer a commercial license for those who wanted to use the software for production purposes.
Good For: developers who want to enable free use and modification, but not distribution.
No Good for: developers who want to charge for end user licenses.
Developers might also offer a commercial license for those who wanted to distribute the software.
Good For: developers who want to enable free use by small businesses and non-commercial users.
Developers would usually offer a commercial license for larger businesses who wanted to use the software.
This license is intended to allow for noncommercial use of software, but not distribution or modification. This is the most limited Polyform license. The uses cases are similar to those for Non-Commercial.