[nycbug-talk] good explanation of BSD license

Bob Ippolito bob
Thu Oct 14 14:45:34 EDT 2004

On Oct 14, 2004, at 1:32 PM, Dru wrote:

> On Thu, 14 Oct 2004, Trish Lynch wrote:
>> On Wed, 13 Oct 2004, Dru wrote:
>>> I'm looking for a good URL explaining the benefits of the BSD 
>>> license for
>>> those who are unfamiliar with it. So far I've found this so-so
>>> explanation:
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_and_GPL_licensing
>>> Anyone aware of a better URL to either an explanation of the 
>>> differences
>>> between the two licenses or a whitepaper touting the benefits of the 
>>> BSD
>>> license? My audience will be government and mostly non-technical.
>> I once wriote an article o the BSD licenmsing for a layperson in an 
>> issue
>> of Open Magazine years ago. The magazine is now defunct, but some 
>> people
>> may retain copies....
>> mine are lost... so I can't find them...
>> however I think the one point that someone who is a BSD licensing 
>> advocate
>> can drive home is that modified works can be recopyrighted and
>> modifications kept internal, with no licensing clause that mandates
>> sharing the changes...
>> This is a big boon to both government and private sector development 
>> where
>> things can indeed remain internal or classified.
> Exactly. And that is the audience for this venue. I'll poke about 
> archive.org to see if they have a cached copy.

I prefer BSD/MIT style licenses because they give the developer (me 
goddamnit!) freedom to do whatever they need to do:

You can link to whatever you want.
You can distribute some, all, or none of the code to whomever you want 
to whenever it makes sense to do so and you won't get sued or 
slashdotted (in a bad way) because of it.
Saves money on development (you can recycle BSD code into anything you 
Saves on IP lawyer fees.
I also consider it to be more in line with the intent of open source 
(share because you want to, not because you're legally obligated to).

I only contribute to [L]GPL (Free as in Herpes) projects in the 
rare-ish circumstance when there isn't a more liberally licensed 
product that does the same thing.  When I do, it's rarely ever more 
than bugfixes or a port to my platform.  The intent of GPL style 
licenses, and probably even more so the personalities of the people who 
use the license on purpose, definitely rub me the wrong way and I 
generally feel like I've wasted my time the long run...   There is an 
occasional win though: Twisted <http://twistedmatrix.com/>, a project I 
contribute to, moved from LGPL to MIT recently.


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