Quick Reference For Choosing a Free Software License

Forrest J Cavalier III forrest at mibsoftware.com
Thu Aug 9 13:13:23 UTC 2001

Rod wrote:
> Oh, my! I most defintely do not want to discourage you, and the chart is not
> a bad idea, but your commentary is written as if you ARE dispensing legal
> advice. 

Rod, you are a very frequent contributor to the list, and I
don't want to discourage you.  But... you have never criticized
a non-lawyer for posting to license-discuss.  What is 
different about a web page?  It has a very clear, prominent
statement that the author is not a lawyer and it is not legal
advice (even though such statements are not required.)

This is a great resource!  I like the page as it is, legalistic
wording and all.

To make it an even better resource, can I suggest:

   - Provide links/references for the "some people think" or
     other opinions.  This is what readers will need to
     track down case law and form clearer opinions.

   - For the "community likes it" item, use the counts of license
     types at sourceforge.net and/or freshmeat.net.  GPL is the
     most popular, so you can remove the '?' for that one I think.

   - Add more licenses.  (I wouldn't try to expand the table
     horizontally, just vertically.)  Are you going to do only
     Free software licenses, not Open Source?

   - Put the "Explanations of columns" further up on the page, and
     set it as <H1>

   - Change the "Does not restrict You!" to be "Does not restrict
     the copyright holder."  (Software users, not just authors,
     will be reading the page too.)  I think the paragraph following
     is mostly ok, but the first sentence has the opposite meaning
     from what you intend.

   - The page isn't overly long right now, but if it grows, you
     might want to split some of the sections into separate HTML

Keep up the good work!

Forrest J. Cavalier III, Mib Software  Voice 570-992-8824 
http://www.rocketaware.com/ has over 30,000 links to  
source, libraries, functions, applications, and documentation.   

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