Free Software and Content Licenses You Should Totally Use

Free Software and Content Licenses You Should Totally Use

When I start a new code project, I usually release it under the MIT license, because I like permissive licenses. There are several others with more or less the same implications, I could use, but why bother about it too much?

Looking at potential alternatives it turns out that there are a few compelling options to consider. Let's check out a few.

Beerware

The Beerware license may be the most rewarding of all software licenses. If you've created an indispensable piece of software and are not the only one who thinks so, people you haven't known before will suddenly invite you to a beer.

The license is very permissive and since beer donations are voluntary it is a free license. What you create is essentially in the Public Domain, but copyright is retained.

The original version of the license is from Poul-Henning Kamp who is serious about Beerware and thinks the GNU license is a joke.

Beerware License Text

/*
 * ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 * "THE BEER-WARE LICENSE" (Revision 42):
 * <phk@FreeBSD.ORG> wrote this file. As long as you retain this notice you
 * can do whatever you want with this stuff. If we meet some day, and you think
 * this stuff is worth it, you can buy me a beer in return Poul-Henning Kamp
 * ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 */

WTFPL

As with Beerware, projects released under the WTFPL (Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License) are effectively in the Public Domain. Its explicit license text below, is probably the reason why the WTFPL is prevented from achieving widespread adoption.

WTFPL License Text

           DO WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT TO PUBLIC LICENSE
                   Version 2, December 2004

Copyright (C) 2004 Sam Hocevar <sam@hocevar.net>

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim or modified
copies of this license document, and changing it is allowed as long
as the name is changed.

           DO WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT TO PUBLIC LICENSE
  TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR COPYING, DISTRIBUTION AND MODIFICATION

 0. You just DO WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT TO.

The diffmark License

If you are extremely uncertain whether your code will wreak havoc over the victimuser's computer, the license from the diffmark project could be a good choice. Besides from also being very permissive, it's probably the most succinct license text you'll find.

diffmark License Text

1. you can do what you want with it
2. I refuse any responsibility for the consequences

Other Free Licenses

There are dozens of free software licenses you can use for different types of projects. Two more notable ones not targeted at software are the Against DRM license, a free content license that explicitly prevents the use of DRM, and the CrimethInc. N©! license, the choice for the anarchist who does not want the work to be used by any corporation or government body.

If you are in the lucky position to create stuff you give away for free, what is your favorite license or don't you care about them at all?




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