Did you know there are 73 (!) open source licenses? If you’re pulling in pieces of code from different sources, you have to deal with the legality of mixing different licenses, some licenses just don’t mix that well, which works out to 5256 combinations!
Bruce Perens argues we only need three open source licenses:
So, my set includes two base licenses: Apache 2.0 and GPL3, and two derivatives of GPL3: LGPL3 and Affero GPL3. To use them, you’ll have to learn two licenses, and two sets of variations on one of those licenses. All of them are compatible with each other. Suddenly, Open Source isn’t as complicated as those 5,256 combinations of two of the approved 73 licenses!
To me, open source is about reducing friction, license plurality has the opposite effect. The thing is, when you look at each and every license in isolation, each one is unique and special in its own way. Yet, each and every license is how we end up with the 5256 problem. It’s time we started thinking about the larger picture. Yes, the Foo License is great and amazing, but in the overall not using the Foo License is even better!
If you could give up on using just one of the non-essential licenses, which would it be?