Eyeball-Deep in Legalese

Posted Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 5:37 pm

I used to not have a problem when I wanted to release software. I’d just release it under the GPL (what we’d now call the GPLv2), and be pretty happy with that decision.

Now there’s GPLv3, and I’m really uncertain whether I like it at all. I understand that Tivoization is a serious problem, but I don’t quite understand the special non-consumer exemption for the anti-Tivoization clause. There are some other new and weird clauses the FSF has added, dealing with patents, and the WIPO Copyright treaty of 1996, and so on.

The GPL used to be pretty simple and elegant. Now? I recognize that the FSF is trying to make the best of a pretty bad situation. But their license has become something bizarre and awkward.

Theoretically, I could still use the old version. But that feels kind of odd, too, now that version 3 is out.

So now I have to look at things like the CPL, the Apache License, and so on. I’m already fairly sure I don’t want to use the MIT or modified BSD licenses; one of the things I liked about the GPL is that it keeps other people from dragging my open-source work into a proprietary package. I’m releasing it as open source for a reason, after all.

All of this is merely by of saying: I’m getting ready to release another software package. I’m not so sure the Creative Commons license I used on Hummingbird is quite as appropriate for this package, so I’m having to do some annoying research.

One Trackback

  1. By Kagan MacTane on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    On Twitter, Kagan MacTane said: New blog post: Eyeball-Deep in Legalese http://bit.ly/14KKRv
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