CTAN Comprehensive TeX Archive Network

The Catalogue License Definitions

Nearly any software is distributed under some kind of license. The CTAN Team tries it's best to list the package under the correct license. Nevertheless you should consult the package documentation for the precise formulations.


Here we list the licenses used by -related software as recorded in The Catalogue (created by Graham Williams and maintained by the CTAN team). General information about categories of licenses is available from the GNU project.

The license conditions are not designed to restrict what may be submitted to CTAN. Rather, the license information should make life easier for redistributors of and related software: in general, software under one of the non-free license terms listed below should not be included in a distribution. Most material on the archive may be used without further ado; the only exceptions are nocommercial software, (whose use in a commercial environment is forbidden), and some (but not all) shareware.

The CTAN team tries to ensure that the license information in the Catalogue is accurate, and maintains it with input from authors and others, but the sheer size of the Catalogue makes it difficult to maintain a watching brief on all licenses. Thus, while the team believes that the data presented are mostly correct, we advise careful checking if license information is to be used in “legally delicate” situations.

The Licenses

Free software satisfies the criteria contained in the Debian Free Software Guidelines which provides the basis of the Open Source Free Software Guidelines. This software may be freely used, modified (hence source must be available), and distributed (e.g. on distributions like  Live and MiK). It is generally copyrighted to legally protect it. Users are usually given an explicit license to copy, distribute, and/or modify the software. Authors of free software may invite users to make monetary donations if they wish, but can not oblige them to do so, or else the software becomes nonfree. Free software may rely on nonfree software for extra functionality, but provides useful functionality without that nonfree software. Further information on free software is available from GNU.

While one category would be sufficient (just “free”) we identify licenses, important for users, that satisfy common notions of free software:

Free Licenses

3-clause BSD License
Apache License, version 2.0
BSD License
BSD Style License
CC BY 1.0
CC BY 2.0
CC BY 3.0
CC BY 4.0
CC BY-SA 1.0
CC BY-SA 2.0
CC BY-SA 3.0
CC BY-SA 4.0
CC0 1.0
Free Documentation License
Free license not otherwise listed
GNU General Public License
GNU General Public License, version 1
GNU General Public License, version 1 or newer
GNU General Public License, version 2
GNU General Public License, version 2 or newer
GNU General Public License, version 3
GNU General Public License, version 3 or newer
GNU Lesser General Public License
GNU Lesser General Public License 2.1
GNU Lesser General Public License 3
ISC License
Knuth License
MIT License
Open Publication License
Perl Artistic License, version 2
Public Domain Software
Simplified BSD License
The GUST Font License (GFL)
The GUST Font Source License (GFSL)
The Project Public License
The Project Public License 1
The Project Public License 1.2
The Project Public License 1.3
The Project Public License 1.3a
The Project Public License 1.3b
The Project Public License 1.3c
The SIL Open Font License

Non-Free Licenses

CC BY-NC 1.0
CC BY-NC 2.0
CC BY-NC 3.0
CC BY-NC 4.0
CC BY-ND 1.0
CC BY-ND 2.0
CC BY-ND 3.0
CC BY-ND 4.0
Do Not Sell Except by Arrangement
License that prevents distribution
No Commercial Use
No Source Available
Perl Artistic License
Shareware: A fee is required
Unknown Status, No Information Available
‘Collection’ License Tag
‘Digest’ License Tag
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