usable in any place a human can be used



[caption id="attachment_606" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Freedom has never kicked so much ass"]colbert portrait by lockwood[/caption]

I wrote yesterday about the importance of open source software. I got one comment saying that prosper would be awesome if it were in the public domain. Here is the comment from Arto Bendiken

Prosper looks *sweet*. It’d be awesome if Prosper indeed were in the public domain. I think such a move would make for a decisive selling point over the numerous competing PHP libraries, setting Prosper clearly apart from the herd and allowing it to be easily embedded into any new emerging PHP web frameworks.

It’s worth mentioning that a key reason that SQLite, which is in the public domain, has prospered (no pun intended) has been the fact that it can be so easily (both technically and legally speaking) embedded into any other software. The end results of technical excellence combined with singularly liberal licensing speak for themselves:

I think a lot of these same benefits could come into play also in such a potentially key higher-level web app infrastructure piece as Prosper. It certainly seems that you have the technical side of things well in hand, already, so here’s hoping for a bright and prosperous future.

Well I completely agree with Arto and want to clear up any confusion about prosper and its license. Prosper was original hosted on Google Code, which requires you to choose a license, at the time I selected the MIT/X11 license based off of my belief that it was the most free. A little further down the road I saw the WTFPL - Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License and thought about switching to that. There is a bluntness to the ideal of that license that appealed to me.

The problem with the WTFPL is of course its name, I want prosper to power lots of things and that means taking into account a wider audience. While hackers and rock star programmers can easily adopt something with WTFPL, I didn't want to be responsible for some corporation turning their back on an otherwise useful library because they were squeamish about a word in the license.

[caption id="attachment_607" align="alignright" width="220" caption="I always thought people just hated the letter C... then I found out this means no copyright"]no copyright[/caption]

Then I found this post on Hacker News (ironically by the same Arto Bendiken) and it lead me to the Unlicense. The Unlicense is exactly what I was looking for and simple to adopt. If you go to the GitHub repo you will see that the project is now officially Unlicense'd. The 0.8 release will be the first official Unlicense'd release, and so will every release going forward. I believe in free and open source software and so I'm publicly declaring now that prosper will always be free, open source, and unencumbered. The mechanism that I will use to ensure this going forward will be Unlicense.

What's the big deal, plenty of things are open source, why is this any different? The difference is that I'm giving this away fully, without any restrictions. Want to build a cool new library that uses prosper as the low-level database abstraction layer, go for it. Want to build a proprietary ORM that utilizes prosper, go for it. Want to repackage prosper and try to sell it (as underhanded as that is), go for it. Want to smother prosper with jam and eat it, if you can find a way to, go for it. Want to.... enough already, you can do whatever you like.

It is easy to talk about things like freedom and support them in the abstract, it becomes more difficult when you have something concrete. People could very well take prosper and take it in directions I don't care to see it go, but that is life, that is creation, that is the essence of open source. It is my goal to see prosper provide a solid foundation for building new and better tools and frameworks in php. I want as many people as possible to use it, and so this was a logical choice.

The next time you have some useful chunk of code lying around and you want to give it to the public domain for the good of the public, think about using Unlicense. I can't say it any better than they can so I will just quote their section about why you should use Unlicense. "Because you have more important things to do than enriching lawyers or imposing petty restrictions on users of your code."

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