Hey, open-source folks! :) Which downsides/risks do you see in just releasing software under CC0, compared to more restrictive licenses like MIT or GPL?

Whoa, thanks for input, everyone, that was really valuable!

Some people raised concerns about the lack of liability waiving, but I just learned that the full text of CC0 also contains those:

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Even more compact software licenses also look appealing, like 0BSD, the Unlicense or the WTFPL Downside: people might not necessarily know them.

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@blinry Well, all the usual problems with MIT including corporate abuse of your project, but also the total lack of anti-patent protection which comes with even some of the weaker licenses.
Also, I'm not sure what value those indemnity clauses "provided without warranty etcetera" actually have in practice, but CC0 probably does not have those.

@cathal @blinry CC0 is designed for artistic works rather than software, so you might as well use the more amusingly worded WTFPL. If you don't mind the code being used in proprietary software without attribution (which is a valid position), go for either one.

@cathal @blinry what sort of corporate abuse are you talking about?

If I choose MIT I’m completely aware that a company can use my code for profit (I don’t mind).

@cathal @blinry thanks I asked a question about the corporate abuse. I just wanted it explained is all, I don’t know much about this licence shiz

@cathal @blinry because surely it isn’t corporate “abuse” if you specifically choose that licence being aware of what it entails

@blinry Big (or small) corporations could take your code and make money with your work. That is my fear...

@snaums @blinry
FOSS is a principled stance, and appropriate for big community projects, but if it's a little library or a code snippet, what is there to fear? You might make someone's job easier! Or make some commercial software slightly better! Oh no! Your work is still public, and you weren't going to sue them anyway.

@snaums @blinry all “open source” licences allow someone else to make money with your code. Some big corps don't like the share alike parts of (e.g.) AGPL, so if you want to discourage them, use that.

There's “NC” versions of the CC licence, but that's fraught with issues (Is the BBC commerical? If I put a patreon link on my website am I now commerical? etc)

@blinry MIT and GPL are already very different beasts. I personally stand clear of the GPL as much as i can, simply because i'm no lawyer, and you need to be to understand it fully imho. The main problem i have with CC0 is that you wave as much rights as you can under the law. That means CC0 means very different things in different countries. It seems simple, but in practice it's just as complicated as the laws of all countries involved combined.

@tauli @blinry "CC-0 means different things in different countries", yes, but that's the case with all licenses. CC-0 is only the extreme edge case for that :)

@blinry GPL code stays GPL code forever and can't be linked with proprietary code. There are also much more licensing terms to understand and follow.
The MIT and BSD licenses are very short and understandable, and practically only require attribution. I think in most practical uses, the difference between MIT/BSD-style licenses and CC-0 is next to none.

@blinry companies taking your product and selling it with a bigger marketing budget while you get nothing in return :blobcatpan: its why ex. mongo and cockroach changed their licenses.

I tend to simplify: for Europeans EUPL (legally approved in 27 member states, shorter and maintaining court in the EU), for rest of the world AGPL. CC0 was not written for software.

@vv01f Interesting! Do you have an example where that EUPL+AGPL pattern is used?

Nope, just saw (optional) dual licensing for commercial usage, but interesting idea. I didn't mean both for the same product, just for project sitting in EU: EUPL (example: GitHub/twdes/des), sitting in US: AGPL…

@vv01f do you see any problems setting non-network software under AGPL?

Nope,actually literally anything can be reused as a service via networks,that's why I think good old GPL is not exactly what people want.

@blinry that Creative Commons is not written for software. I use "the unlicense" to set my software in the public domain.

@blinry apparently CC0 seems to be okay for software. The FSF recommends CC0 for people wanting to put software in the public domain. Even though they discourage to put software in the public domain.
That's what I just learned.

@blinry It could be used by a company in their proprietary product so that they make money without giving anything back to the community.In the worst case scenario,they could even create a proprietary fork of your project and get a lot of market share that the original open source software had before.Then it's a danger for free software.

@winniehell Help my software have the biggest positive impact it can, by not preventing any potential use. (While at the same time protecting contributors from liability.)

@blinry Do you care how people have access to your software? Or you be fine with non-contributors selling your software? And would you explicitly exclude people from using your software?

@winniehell If someone would start selling it, and many people would buy and use it (for some reason) because of that effort, I think I'd be happy, and prefer it to a situation where fewer people are using it. I think none of the common open source licenses prevent that.

Excluding specific people from using it seems really hard. Sometimes, preventing people from weaponizing software would be desirable? But again, none of the common licenses do that, I think.

@blinry I think it's the other way round: there are licenses who try to prevent software being weaponised, but they are not deemed as "open source" according to the open source definition [1] ("No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor"), so people are actively discouraged by evangelists to use it, therefore these licenses are not common. Take the original JSON license [2], for example.


@blinry CC0 & MIT are very similar, and it's GPL which is the bigger difference.

All allow commerical reuse by someone else. But GPL requires that anyone who distributes a derived work of your code, must share the changes they made under GPL as well, whereas MIT/CC0 don't require them to give out their improvements. If you include GPL code into a large software project, then the whole thing must be GPLed (not so with MIT)

@blinry This is why Microsoft called the GPL "viral", even today Google are strict about their software devs using GPL code.

So, are you OK with your code being used in non-open-source software? If yes, use either, if you (like me) don't like it, then go for GPL.

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