Tuesday Jul 29, 2008

A Lunchware License?

This is my first blog for work, so I thought I'd kick it off with a note on open-source licensing.  I'm a fan of F/OSS but used to struggle when deciding between open-source licenses for my software.  For me, the battle was between the GPL, the revised BSD license, the MIT license, and the University of Illinois/NCSA Open Source License.  However, I tend to favor BSD-style licenses ("permissive licenses,") for the following reasons:

  1. For me, "free software" means that the licensed code can be incorporated into any application or library, including proprietary projects.  Proprietary software should be able to incorporate and modify free software and remain proprietary.  BSD-style licenses permit such incorporation: the GPL does not.
  2. BSD-style licenses are pithy: the GPL is not.

To complicate matters, I recently stumbled across a Wikipedia article on "beerware" and was instantly amused by its simplicity and liberalness.  After some more consideration, I decided that all of my software would be licensed under either a revised BSD license or a beerware-like license.  Unfortunately, I can't use the beerware license because I don't drink beer, so I created the "Lunch-ware License" for drys everywhere:

/\*
 \* THE LUNCH-WARE LICENSE
 \* I, <AUTHOR> <<EMAIL>>, wrote this file in <YEAR>.
 \* You can do whatever you want to do with it as long as you retain this notice
 \* verbatim.  If we meet some day and you think this stuff is worth it, you can
 \* buy me a lunch in return.
 \*/

I doubt that this license will be widely used. Whatever. :-)

About

I am a kernel developer at Sun Microsystems, Inc., working on zones and resource pools. This blog logs some of my thoughts regarding my work and the [mis]adventures that I have while working on Solaris.

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