How to pick an open-source software license.

Forrest J. Cavalier III mibsoft at
Wed Mar 9 17:36:27 UTC 2005

Picking a license for new code is easy if you follow this advice:

First observe that you need a well-accepted generic one drafted
by a competent lawyer that fits your requirements (which may or
may not include compatibility with other code.)

Next tell your legal counsel to read, understand, and recommend one
of the BSD, GPLv2, or Rosen's AFL or OSL.

Ask for their recomendations on a dual-licensing strategy.

There.  Done. Go back to coding.

My take is that corporate lawyers are good for consultations.  But watch
them very, very carefully if they attempt to do anything original.  And if
they start telling you that none of those 4 licenses are acceptable,
and that they can write a better license, dismiss them on the spot unless their
last name is Moglen or Rosen.  They are overestimating their competance to
write a license that will be both good for the courts and good in the
marketplace, and probably overestimate their competance in other ways too.

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