license preamble template

Xah Lee xah at
Sat Mar 4 19:21:11 CET 2006

I noticed, that in just about all emacs programs on the web (elisp
code), it comes with this template text as its preamble:

;; This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
;; modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as
;; published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at
;; your option) any later version.

;; This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
;; WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
;; General Public License for more details.

;; You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
;; along with this program; see the file COPYING.  If not, write to
;; the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330,
;; Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.

Concerned parties and the FSF foundation, please remove the middle
section of this template. That section is mainly for lawyers, for
programers to protect themselves in the context of modern society's law
system. Legally speaking, that section is redundant because it is in
the GNU General Public License itself. The effect of that section in a
license summary is fueling the habit and sanction of irresponsible
programing we see all around us.

In place of that section, i'd propose replacing it with the following

«This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful. The
author(s) has responsibly produced it, and will take reasonable
responsibilities with regards to the program's intended purpose and
workability. For legal aspects of WARRANTY, please see the GNU General
Public License for more details.»

Regarding these issues, please read:

Responsible Software Licensing

Responsible Software Licensing & the Free Software Foundation

   xah at xahlee.org

More information about the Python-list mailing list