Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Truly Free Licenses

Author:Brett Glass
Posted:8/25/2000; 9:52:27 AM
Topic:A softer GPL?
Msg #:20202 (In response to 20168)
Prev/Next:20201 / 20203

Freely redistributable source code should be licensed under what I call a "truly free" license.

Such a license should be as short and simple as possible. It shouldn't contain unnecessary red tape or legalese. It should be clear, unambiguous, and easy to interpret. In particular, it should "free" you of the need to consult a lawyer, or of any worries that you might not be doing the right thing.

Finally -- and most importantly -- a truly free license should place no restrictions on what you do with the code, but only on what you can do to the author. For example, it should be able to prohibit you from claiming that you wrote the code yourself, or that the author did not. And it should be able to prohibit you from suing the author for bugs or their consequences. I'll post some examples of truly free licenses below.

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