Choosing A License

Thursday 26 May 2011 by Bradley M. Kuhn

Brett Smith of the FSF has announced a new tutorial available on the GNU website that gives advice about picking a license for your project.

I'm glad that Brett wrote this tutorial. My typical answer when someone asks me which license to chose is to say: Use AGPLv3-or-later unless you can think of a good reason not to. That's a glib answer that is rarely helpful to questioner. Brett's article is much better and more useful.

For me, the particularly interesting outcome of the tutorial is how it finishes a the turbulent trajectory of the FSF's relationship with Apache's license. Initially, there was substantial acrimony between the Apache Software Foundation and the FSF because version 2.0 of the Apache License is incompatible with the GPLv2, a point on which the Apache Software Foundation has long disagreed with the FSF. You can even find cases where I was opining in the press about this back when I was Executive Director of the FSF.

An important component of GPLv3 drafting was to reach out and mend relationships with other useful software freedom licenses that had been drafted in the time since GPLv2 was released. Brett's article published yesterday shows the culmination of that fence-mending: Apache-2.0 is now not only compatible with the GPLv3 and AGPLv3, but also the FSF's recommended permissive license!

Posted on Thursday 26 May 2011 at 08:15 by Bradley M. Kuhn.

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Both previously and presently, I have been employed by and/or done work for various organizations that also have views on Free, Libre, and Open Source Software. As should be blatantly obvious, this is my website, not theirs, so please do not assume views and opinions here belong to any such organization. Since I do co-own with my wife, it may not be so obvious that these aren't her views and opinions, either.

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