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Bruce Perens: How Many Open Source Licenses Do You Need?

Feb 17, 2009, 15:32 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Perens)

[ Thanks to Jmaguire for this link. ]

"But the fact that there are 73 licenses is a problem. Many of those licenses are incompatible with each other. To understand the legal implications of mixing software under two of those licenses together in the same program, you'd have to learn 5256 different combinations!

"And the worst thing about this is, it's my fault! Well, partially. When I wrote the rules for Open Source licensing in 1997, as a policy document of the Debian project, not many people took what we then called "Free Software" seriously, and it was unthinkable that 73 different licenses that complied with my Open Source Definition would ever be written.

"Fortunately, you don't have to deal with many of those 73 licenses. When you need to distribute or modify software that is under one of them, you'll need to understand that one. And folks who are just users get off easy: you don't really need to read an Open Source license just to use the software, because the rules I wrote require that the license give you the right to use Open Source software for any purpose."

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