License Zero

gainful open software development

September 21, 2019

Blue Oak for Permissive retiring Charity in favor of Blue Oak

I’ve just updated the standard agreement for paid relicensing onto permissive terms to require relicensing onto the terms of the Blue Oak Model License 1.0.0, rather than Charity. I’ve updated the relevant part of the guide, too.

A few reasons for the change.

First, Blue Oak has seen far more adoption, as well as SPDX standardization. I think Blue Oak is going to catch on as the permissive benchmark license of the future. It’s just that good. Every section fits in a tweet.

Second, the next version of Parity, 7.0.0, will be structured much more like Blue Oak. That’s going over very well with readers. The hard length limit I’ve kept on Parity so far was key to keeping it short, readable, and dense, but now that we’ve defined scope with discipline, it’s time to maximize readability, and double down on clarity. The rewrite is already a huge leap forward.

Last, I think the greater permissivity of Blue Oak better tracks what people and companies will have in mind. Unlike Charity, Blue Oak doesn’t require attribution by name in copies. Unlike Charity, Blue Oak doesn’t terminate licenses for those who bring patent claims against the software. Those kinds of terms can be, and often are, very appropriate. But the deal I find both potential licensors and potential sponsors envision involves as much permissivity as possible. Blue Oak better tracks what folks who don’t read legal terms expect.

I am a founding member of Blue Oak Council, which drafted and published the Blue Oak Model license.