[Haskell-cafe] Hmm, what license to use?

ajb at spamcop.net ajb at spamcop.net
Sun Sep 28 07:20:14 EDT 2008

G'day all.

Quoting Magnus Therning:

> Recently I received an email with a question regarding the licensing
> of a module I've written and uploaded to Hackage.  I released it under
> LGPL.  The sender wondered if I would consider re-licensing the code
> under BSD (or something similar) that would remove the need for users
> to provide linkable object files so that users can re-link programs
> against newer/modified versions of my library.

Generally speaking, the Haskell community releases general-purpose
libraries under a BSD-like licence.  Programs are generally either
released under the BSD-like licence or the GPL.

The reason that we generally use the BSD-like licence for libraries
is that libraries are intended to be maximally reusable.  Hence, the
de facto standard is a licence that allows for maximum reuse.

There's nothing wrong with releasing a Haskell library under the LGPL.
The biggest risk in doing so is that not everyone will use your library.

The risk in picking yet another licence, one that satisfies your
opinions on software freedom, is even more confusion.  If the usual
BSD-like licence doesn't do it for you, I would be concerned about
adding yet another licence into the mix if you don't have to.  Just
use the LGPL, and add explicit exceptions if it makes you feel better.

We know where we stand with GPL, LGPL and BSD.  More licences causes
more confusion.

Andrew Bromage

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