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gorilla / Licensing


What kind of license should gorilla use? X11? WTFPL? Something else?

I'm hesitant to use a GPL because of all the shit that's been happening on the Mercurial mailing lists recently.

People want to call Mercurial's internals for an Eclipse plugin, but the GPL and EPL are incompatible so they're stuck parsing the command-line interface. Others want to reimplement Mercurial in Java under a BSD license, which probably wouldn't stand up in court if mpm wanted to go after them for it.

Paul: Hopefully there's nothing to prevent them from reimplementing hg in another language. I'm pretty sure that no license could prevent that. I'd be very off-put if the hg community wanted to prevent that anyway, we are dealing in free-software after all. I really like the totally free licenses like MIT and BSD. I'm not a huge fan of the restrictions of the GPL or AGPL.

Steve: See Mercurial's LicenseFAQ page, and a mailing list message.

Paul: Interesting. My opinion of hg is suddenly somewhat lower than it was. I still love using it, but I can now understand the Python community's hesitation toward it. My experience within the Python community so far has been that they like actual freedom, and thus copy-left isn't compatible with their philosophy. That's a generalization obviously, but I know that at least the Django guys shy away from GPL'd code.

That said, we will only be using the hg CLI, and will therefore not be considered derivative, and can license our code however we wish. Since this will be mostly for developers, I think a developer-friendly license like the MIT would be best. As you can see, the HG guys apparently like using the GPL to restrict developers, but not users. I favor restricting no one.

See Jacob's post and the ensuing discussion

Steve: I think Matt's idea is that he never wants to see a closed-source proprietary version of Mercurial created because users could wind up having their data in a locked-away, inaccessible-except-by-reverse-engineering form.

For this project, I agree with you on using a more permissive license. As you said, we'll only be using Mercurial through the command-line UI so that's not an issue.

I'm leaning heavily toward X11. Does that sound good?