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License is a legal text by which we grant some of our exclusive rights (e.g. copyright or patents) over intellectual works to others. To us a license is what enables us to legally implement free (as in freedom) software (as well as free culture): we attach a license to our program (or other work) which says that we grant to everyone the basic freedom rights to our software/work with optional conditions (which must not be in conflict with free software definition, e.g. we may require attribution or copyleft, but we may NOT require e.g. non-commercial use only). Licenses used to enable free software are called free licenses (open source licenses work the same way). Of course, there also exist non-free licenses called EULAs, but we stay away from these -- from now on we will implicitly talk about free licenses only. Licenses are similar to waivers.

You shall always use a free license for your software.

There exist fun/parody licenses like WTFPL (Do What the Fuck You Want to Public License) -- these are cool as a fun meme, though legally they may be invalid as they are too vague and the language could just make it look like a statement not meant seriously to the court, anything licensed this way should rather be seen as a licenseless work. It's better to not seriously use these, or if you do, dual license alongside with some "serious" license.

Free licenses are mainly divided into:

At LRS we highly prefer public domain waivers such as CC0 instead of licenses, i.e. we release our works without any conditions/restrictions whatsoever (e.g. we don't require credit, copyleft and similar conditions, even if by free software rules we could). This is because we oppose the very idea of being able to own information and ideas, which any license is inherently based on. Besides that, licenses are not as legally suckless as public domain and they come with their own issues, for example a license, even if free, may require that you promote some political ideology you disagree with (see e.g. the principle of +NIGGER).

Some most notable free licenses for software include (FSF: FSF approved, OSI: OSI approved, LRS: approved by us, CF: copyfree approved, short: is the license short?):

license type FSF OSI CF LRS short
Apache 2 permissive, conditions + + - - -
AGPL network copyleft + + - - -
BSD (0,1,2,3) permissive + + some - +
BOML permissive - - + - +
CC0 PD waiver, no conditions + - + + -
GPLv2, GPLv3 copyleft (strong) + + - - -
LGPL copyleft (weak) + + - - -
MIT permissive, credit + + + + +
MIT-0 permissive, no conditions - + +? + +
Unlicense PD waiver, no conditions + + + + +
WTFPL permissive, fun + - ? - +
zlib permissive + + - - +
0BSD permissive, no conditions - + +? + +

Some most notable free licenses for general artworks and data (not just programs) include:

How To

If you're a noob or even an advanced noob and want to make sure you license correctly, consider the following advice:

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