Thoughts on Licenses

The choice of software license is contentious even among developers with similar ideologies. The main schism is between those advocating permissive licenses (e.g. MIT) and copyleft licenses (e.g. GPL).

While I agree with much of Stallman’s philosophy of software, I take issue with using licensing as a way to enforce this ideology upon others.

Freedom zero of Stallman’s philosophy is the “freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose.” I hold this as essential because I believe software should be devoid of moral prescriptivism (although Douglas Crockford would likely disagree on this point).

I believe this to be true not only of running software, but distributing software. I wish not to impose the free software philosophy on other programmers even if I consider access to source code important.

Therefore I do not use the GPL.

A public domain declaration seems like a simple and reasonable approach to releasing software. Both stb and djb have interesting discussions on the subject.