Choose an Open-Source Code License

Whether you create a new code repository on GitHub, or fork a copy of someone else’s code, you should understand the basic concepts of a software license. Developers have the option to add a LICENSE file to their GitHub repo, which explains what other people can (or cannot) do with their code.

On GitHub, free repos are publicly viewable and forkable by other users, so the platform encourages the use of open-source licenses. One example that is commonly used for code templates linked to this book is the MIT License: it allows anyone to copy, modify, and redistribute the code, as long as they credit the author(s) and do not hold them liable. Learn more about different types of open-source code licenses at

Learn more

Licensing a Repository, GitHub Help page,