Friday, February 22, 2008

An open source license that's easy on the conscience (and your cholesterol)

Finally! An open source license that's more interesting than the Beerware License! For the uninitiated, the Beerware License (latest Revision 42) was written by Poul-Henning Kamp, “UNIX guru at large”. This humorous license grants users the right to use Beerware-licensed source code in exchange for buying Kamp a beer (or other such adult beverage) if they should ever meet him at a neighborhood watering hole.

A much more serious open source license in the ExtTLD license. According to Matt Asay at CNET, “The ExtTLD license has some restrictions that might make even Richard Stallman blush.”

Here's why: Software or components under this license cannot be used in connection with the development and manufacture of products that involve animal testing, products whose ingredients might come from testing on animals, or genetically modified organisms involving animal genes.

That means your software engineers can't be involved in animal testing, and neither can your company's products or services. (“Animal products" are defined as “meat, seafood, honey, fur, silk and eggs” -- a vegan’s odium list.) Also explicitly excluded is participation in animal-based sports, such as rodeo riding, and the transport of animals. That means the transportation or haulage sector, and anybody developing satellite navigations systems and applications, is explicitly excluded.

Is the ExtTLD license an open source code license or some strange variant? What’s clear is that it is the healthiest license and easiest on the conscience.

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