Subject: [repost] [ For Approval: The beer-ware license]
From: Joerg Wunsch <>
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2008 10:39:32 +0100
Fri, 11 Jan 2008 10:39:32 +0100
I've been originally posting this request more than three years ago,
but never got the slightest response.  Since there's a formal approval
process now, I'm trying again.  My old mail is below for reference.

I'm acting here on behalf of Poul-Henning Kamp, who created this
license on 1995/09/16 when contributing his first malloc()
implementation to FreeBSD.  Poul-Henning explicitly allowed me to run
the license approval process on his behalf before I sent off the
message shown below.

As a link to a plaintext copy of the license is required by the formal
process, here we go:

Unlike three years ago, I see there's a number of other relatively
short licenses around here, so it's no longer going to be the most
simple opensource license it once used to be.

My reasons for still submitting it for approval are:

* the original request has never been followed up on
* it is for very sure the oldest of this kind of simple licenses
* it is in widespread use now -- just use Google code search if
  you don't believe it (and it's not just PHK's own code but
  he's for sure /very/ productive)
* since the intention is clearly opensource, it would be too bad
  to not have it "blessed"

If anyone wants to read Poul-Henning's original reasoning for creating
the license, it can be found on his home page:

License proliferation category:
  Other/Miscellaneous licenses

(Unless you count the google code search results already as

----- Forwarded message from Joerg Wunsch <> -----

Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 21:41:23 +0100
From: Joerg Wunsch <>
Subject: For Approval: The beer-ware license
Reply-To: Joerg Wunsch <joerg>
User-Agent: Mutt/
X-Phone: +49-351-2012 669
X-PGP-Fingerprint: DC 47 E6 E4 FF A6 E9 8F  93 21 E0 7D F9 12 D6 4E
X-GnuPG-Fingerprint: 5E84 F980 C3CA FD4B B584  1070 F48C A81B 69A8 5873

[Note: this license originates from Poul-Henning Kamp,  He doesn't want to do the work of getting this
approved, but I've got his permission to submit it here as I like.]

This is probably the most simple opensource license you could find.

I don't provide you a lawyer's analysis for it, as it would contradict
the most basic purpose of the license: simplicity.  The rationale
behind it was to *not* require a lawyer to understand that you are
free to do whatever you want with the code.  (Netscape picked his
malloc implementation, long before they went opensource, and Cisco
uses his MD5-based password hash algorithm in IOS.)

I can't seem to find any of the opensource definition items the
license would contradict.

# Tell us which existing OSI-approved license is most similar to your
  license. Explain why that license will not suffice for your
  needs. If your proposed license is derived from a license we have
  already approved, describe exactly what you have changed. This
  document is not part of the license; it is solely to help the
  license-discuss understand and review your license.

I think none is close in simplicity.  That's the main reason why this
license has been established in the first place.

# Explain how software distributed under your license can be used in
  conjunction with software distributed under other open source
  licenses. Which license do you think will take precedence for
  derivative or combined works? Is there any software license that is
  entirely incompatible with your proposed license?.

As no restrictions are placed on other files distributed along with a
file licensed under the beer-ware license, the beer-ware license
doesn't create any conflict with that.  If a file is modified that has
originally been distributed under the beer-ware license, it's common
practice to place the modifications under the same license.  If that
seems to be impossible for some author for whatever, the license
doesn't prevent this author to add future restrictions as he prefers,
so no incompatibility either.

# Include the plain text version of your license at the end of the
  email, either as an insertion or as an attachment.

"THE BEER-WARE LICENSE" (Revision 42):
<AUTHOR> wrote this file.  As long as you retain this notice you
can do whatever you want with this stuff. If we meet some day, and you think
this stuff is worth it, you can buy me a beer in return.   <AUTHOR>

cheers, J"org               .-.-.   --... ...--   -.. .  DL8DTL                        NIC: JW11-RIPE
Never trust an operating system you don't have sources for. ;-)

----- End forwarded message -----

cheers, J"org               .-.-.   --... ...--   -.. .  DL8DTL                        NIC: JW11-RIPE
Never trust an operating system you don't have sources for. ;-)

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