Software licenses discussion

Just curious if the main c4a repos or other brigades have settled on a default license. I understand circumstances may dictate a different license but while looking at a boiler plate repo (would also love suggestions for what other brigades have done here as well) for our NDoCH projects got me curious.


Most CfA repositories are licensed under MIT.

At OpenOakland, we had this discussion as well. Being conveniently located next to UC Berkeley, we were able to take advantage of advice from the authors of the BSD license. Here are some quotes from what they said.

Either the MIT or BSD license is good. The 2-clause BSD license is
claimed to be slightly more permissive, but they seem about the
same to me.

I would avoid the GPL license, especially version 3, as it makes
it (by design) difficult for commercial companies to use the software.

MIT is permissive like the Berkeley license. Apache is, likewise, but adds one useful feature: If anyone creates a patent and then uses it in Apache-licensed code that they distribute, anyone who receives that code or derivative works gets a license to the patent for free.

The likelihood of patent issues for you guys is small, but you’re doing open government work, so if you’re successful lots of others will pick up your code. On that basis, I absolutely believe that one of the permissive licenses (MIT, BSD, Apache) makes sense. And Apache buys you some extra protection on the patent issue.

All that said, OpenOakland has standardized on the MIT license for our projects. It strikes a good balance for us, and having a single way to do things allows our project leaders to spend their time on other things.


perfect, thanks @tdooner that is exactly what I was looking for. I was specifically curious if Apache was better than MIT for potentially working with gov tech but I believe MIT will be permissive enough for our work, especially as a default.