Python, licenses and CVS (fwd)

Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters mertz at
Mon Nov 26 08:57:09 CET 2001

Hans Nowak <wurmy at> wrote:
|I'm currently developing a program (in Python, obviously) and plan to
|publish it. Before I do so, though, I would like to have some opinions
|on the following:
|- should I use a license / copyright notice?
|- if so, which one would you recommend?

YES, you should have a notice.  As other folks have written, the code
automatically has a copyright.  If you want anyone to be able to do
something with your code, you need to indicate that.

Personally, I prefer to release my code into the public domain.  But in
order to do so, I create (and must do so) a prominent notice SAYING that
the code is released to the public domain.  Of course, being public
domain, I can't require that anyone preserve that notice (but that's
what I want too).  Some licenses say that derived works must keep the
same license, while others let the modifier change the license, so
public domain isn't so different from certain licenses.

Which license YOU should use (or lack thereof for public domain) depends
on what you want to happen.  That's for you to decide.  Several people
have posted pointers to discussions of these issues.  I agree that using
a well-known license is the best idea.  Here are some general options:

  GPL - Anyone can use at the code.  Any derived works must be GPL.
  BSD - Anyone can use YOUR code.  Derived works may have different license.
  Public Domain - Anyone can do whatever they want.  No copyright claim
        is made to the code at all, and the default copyright is eschewed.
  Proprietary - Only the listed people can use your code, and only in
        the listed circumstances (such as "consideration", i.e. paying
        you money).  Derived works may only have the licenses that you
        explicitly say they can have.

There are other Free or Open licenses.  But the first three things
listed are very popular choices.

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