Pick a License, Any License

I hate software licenses. When I read a software license, what I see is a bunch of officious, mind-numbing lawyerly doublespeak. Blah, blah, blah.. kill me now.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/04/pick-a-license-any-license.html
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If you prefer the WTFPL license so much, why do you require those who ask to use your code to keep your name and url in the comments?

Continuing my comparing anything to anything else theme: Software Licenses are like a**holes.

Some are more liberal in what they accept than others.
Some allow use for profit. Others allow only non-profit usage.
Some allow them to be used for anything at all. Others restrict usage to a specific set of circumstances.
Some encourage sharing. Others are closed.

Thank you for that nice Information about this license


Isn’t releasing works as public domain a gray area? There are no specific provisions for people to do so whereas it’s clearly defined that any work released is copyrighted. If someone releases some code as public domain and someone else uses it and the other guy changes his mind, they’ll have to duke it out in court. If that person had instead licensed it under open-source, then the person who wants to take it back won’t have any leg to stand on.

hey you, is this blog licensed by WTFPL? just kidding. =]

Theses licenses are TOO weird, I prefer the ‘normal’ license… ‘The source is mine, is private and you must not mess with that’.

I thought that GPL CAN be used in proprietary software.
The “only” limitation is that binary distribution of GPL derivative work has to coincide with source GPL.

If I understand this correctly GPL derivative work can be used in some web-server or an internal research project as long as there is no binary distribution of the project.

The BSD license actually has three clauses. And that’s the “new BSD license”, aka the “three-clause BSD license”; there’s an older BSD license, deprecated by Berkeley, that includes an “advertisement clause”. See the Wikipedia article you linked to.

That picture of license is actually license allowing company to develop equipment for nuclear stations.

Where did you find the picture of the Russian document?

“GPL … Take that, capitalism!”

This makes the oft-repeated mistake that a copyleft license, by ensuring that every user can take the product to anyone they like for improvment, thus encouraging a level competitive playing field for those services, is somehow against capitalism.

It takes a whole lot of delusion about what capitalism means to think that encouraging competition is somehow against capitalism.

Jeff, THANK YOU. Finally someone made a short, human-readable list of sofware licenses. I cannot count the hours I’ve spent googling for something like this. I just hope this post gets indexed by Google and shown next time somebody googles for “software licenses list WTF help confused”.

@bignose: Capitalism isn’t about competition, it’s about making money. It’s much, much harder to make money by writing software under the GPL.

Real capitalists - the ones who actually make lots of money - know that the end point of competition is to destroy all the other competitors.

Beer-ware license FTW!

Speaking as an open source developer about to release a framework into the wild, I have been thinking about licenses a lot lately too. At this stage I may opt for the BSD license as it is permissive, meaning that my framework can be used in comercial, propriety software, most of which I will be producing myself, so I will need to ensure that I give myself correct permission to use my own open source framework in my non-open source commercial applications (or something to that effect!).

GPL promotes evolution, but not capitalism.

GPL allows a popular product to develop an unnatural saturation which diminishes market value.

GPL allows a popular product to evolve at such a rate that could cause potential users to become timid about adopting the product.

GPL allows an unpopular product to stagnate which diminishes the ability to “coerce” the end user to spending money on upgrades.

And in case you are still not convinced…
GPL is the devil.

The money to be made with GPL is in the software maintenance contract for a product after it’s developed, not the actual development of the product. Given a choice of getting $1 from 1000 people or getting $1000 from 1 person, prudence says to spread the risk and take the $1 from 1000 people.

Licenses are no good if no one enforces them, but enforcing them is very difficult. I wrote a blog post on the topic recently…

My proposed license for computer programs:

Clause 0.) You can use this program for anything
Clause 1.) It’s not my fault if something goes wrong
Clause 2.) If you want to distribute this program, you have to distribute everything that you got with it
Clause 3.) If you want to copy something, you’ve got to give me credit. If you modified it, you have to give me credit for the base code.

Simple, to the point, and NO legalese!

I’m not even going to get into the many religious issues of software licensing […]

But… These issues are the most important ones! Why else so many people would like to make religions out of them? Sure, there’s no possible way to end such a debate, which can get annoying, but they get you out of one’s narrow minded technical view and offer you perspective on the actual impact writing software can have.

As the old saying goes, if you don’t care about politics, politics will take care of you.

I like (and generally use) the Creative Commons licenses. Easy to understand for everyone involved.