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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] WTFPL Worse License Ever?

From: Mark Holmquist
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] WTFPL Worse License Ever?
Date: Sat, 19 Dec 2015 10:02:47 -0600
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:38.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/38.3.0

On 12/18/2015 08:32 PM, Julien Kyou wrote:
[0]meaning only this document not the licensed materials?

Yes, the first "Do WTF you want" clause is about the license, not the works being licensed under it. That means the license is also modifiable and adaptable.

[1]so basically closing the source is ok?
> I was not really asking this, so much as pointing it out

Yes - this is the biggest difference between a copyleft license and a permissive license, and it's nothing new, and there's nothing wrong with it necessarily. I'd argue that the community of programmers often doesn't pull source code into secret, but if they absolutely need to, they have that freedom.

(I realize it was a rhetorical question, but since it's also a contention that allowing downstream to close the source is *necessarily* an issue, I answered it anyway)

Absolutely, I agree 'permissive-non-copyleft' has a place but for most
things I'd sooner just slap a GPL on and be done

The GPL, for all the good it does in the world, is a more complex license to administer and enforce. You must include license headers in all of the files in your project, for example, which may not be a viable option for some, or may be a step that others ignore.

To enforce the GPL, especially the parts about including a GPL'd library in a compiled binary of a larger project, requires a lot of sleuthing, or to simply rely on the goodwill of other programmers. The latter solution usually works pretty well, but if the Free Software movement asserts that non-free software is unethical, surely they're capable of ignoring license terms.

And, if you're working on a project that *is* non-free, but you want to release a library that you wrote for it as free software, you can release it under a permissive license (though admittedly, a company probably wouldn't want the WTFPL exactly, though it is modifiable, so they could transform it to say "You just DO WHATEVER YOU WANT TO.") with relative ease, and avoid a lot of overhead of making sure you're complying with every single provision of the GPL or whatever other document you had discovered.

I guess I'm just adding examples to your statement that permissive licenses "ha[ve] a place", but I felt it would be useful. I often fear this mailing list is getting a little tone-deaf.

> Anyways, I just don't like seeing open-source being abused. So when I
> learnt of this zero clause license, I felt sick.

How is this an abuse of open-source? It's a valid open source license.

Mark Holmquist

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