Software Licensing Opinions

POSITIVE (Last Updated: 2022-05-03)

Licenses which are simple, easy to understand for everyone, and don’t place undue burden on developers or users. My preferred licenses are: the Unlicense, CC0, the ISC/MIT/BSD-2-clause Licenses, and CC-BY.

Copyleft Licenses

NEGATIVE (Last Updated: 2022-05-03)

They utterly fail at their stated goal, instead reinforcing copyright as a tool to get one’s way and protect one’s “intellectual property”. This results in much more hassle for developers with no true real-world gain compared to anti-copyright or copycentre licenses. Read A Critique of Free Software and Free Software is an Abject Failure for more on this topic.

“Ethical” Licenses

NEGATIVE (Last Updated: 2022-05-03)

Licenses that attempt to control how one can use software without any real basis in law or reality. They are, practically, just proprietary source-available licenses that don’t achieve anything meaningful.


NEGATIVE (Last Updated: 2022-05-03)

Organizations that place themselves in the position of deciding what is and isn’t an “approved license”. Not only are they run by people famous for bikeshedding and doing next to nothing actually useful for the industry (remember the FSF sending a hard drive to Microsoft telling them to put the Windows 7 source code on it?), they can’t even make consistent decisions about the licenses they approve (e.g. the SSPL is just a stronger AGPL, but they both call it “non-free”).