Make license/licenses field mandatory

Eric Hodel drbrain at segment7.net
Tue Oct 18 19:24:33 EDT 2011


On Oct 18, 2011, at 2:31 PM, Alex Chaffee wrote:
>> * ...with a personally crafted license?
>> 
>> If you can't give a name to your license? ("beer ware" and "WTF" licenses
>> are relatively new licenses that were given clever names.  If you're not
>> creative like me then uou can have the "Eric Hodel license")
> 
> So not to get all pedantic on you, but probably your beerware license is
> going to be worded differently from my beerware license, but if we both use
> the same term then... well, then what?

Then one (or both) of us is being a jerk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beerware

> What are the potential risks and ramifications, for either the publisher, or the site, or the site user? (I said I hadn't thought through this very much, right?)

Open source projects usually have code mingled from many different sources.  Ironing these out properly requires reading the license and looking through the source to see if different portions have different licenses.  It's up to the author to pick the license that matches something from the list or to choose a unique-enough name for a new license and register that somewhere.

The licenses list can only ever act like a sticker on the box.  Making it more than just a sticker is an attempt to solve a social and legal problem that is going to annoy authors.

> And then maybe later someone will submit a beerware license to spdx.org and
> suddenly the term "beerware" means something official, which isn't exactly
> what you or I thought it meant when we published it…

I don't think it is worth our time to worry about such a "what-if" scenario, the license attribute is just a sticker on the box.



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