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Licenses in ten words or less

Posted by kirillcool on June 7, 2007 at 8:48 AM PDT

Following my yesterday's entry on the letter and spirit of software licenses, i started thinking about translating the intent into the words. Some manage to do it in a few sentences, some require sizeable chunks of Amazon forests to be printed. But i say this - if you can't express your intent in less than ten words, just pick an existing license. So, here is my take on the three licenses that i understand best:

  • BSD - do whatever you want, just mention my name
  • LGPL - you change it, you give the source back
  • GPL - you take it, you give all your source

Going through EPL, MPL, CDDL, ASL and a variety of others, i see a lot of words about patents, indemnification, and general hand-waving about issues that were never taken to the court (as far as i know). And now, here are my favorite acronyms that everybody uses in conjunction with the license discussion:

  • IANAL
  • IMHO
  • AFAIU

Note that these are usually followed by grand statements that divide the good from the bad, the white from the black and the world from Microsoft :)