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I could license you to use this software, but then I�d have to kill you

May 19, 2010, 10:33 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Phil Odence)

"If open source struck you as strange when you first heard of the concept, you don't know the half of it. Developers, exercising their legal right specify their own licensing terms, have come up with some pretty wacky stuff. Fact or fiction? Some software is only legal to use after you are dead.

"Just shy of 2000 different licenses cover the 230,000+ projects in the Black Duck Knowledgebase. It's important to note that the top 10 licenses cover 93% of all projects and the top 20 almost 97%. Well over 60% are GPL. So, the vast bulk of projects are under a small number of well-known licenses, and that's a good thing. But the other 3% of projects and 1980-odd licenses (and there are some odd ones!) clearly constitute a "long tail." Join me, won't you, for a journey to the outer reaches of that tail.

"Some licenses just sound weird. A good example is the Iggy Wanna license. It sounds like a town in Pennsylvania, though I suspect it's probably a reference to Iggy Pop's I Wanna be your Dog. Beyond the title, the rest of the IWL reads like a normal license."

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