I have re-licensed some of my scripts under the LGPL, which means you can use them as part of other non-GPL software.

The scripts in question are:

Why the change?

I’ve always released my work under the GPL, but now that I’m writing and making available smaller scripts that might be used as part of a larger software system, the GPL isn’t as appropriate, because of the licensing requirements it places on the rest of the systems with which the scripts may be used.

I’m not making the decision casually. I’m a firm believer in free software, as in software freedom. Not only should software be open and un-encumbered by restrictions, but this freedom should be guaranteed even to the extent of prohibiting someone from making a restricted non-free work based on it. Software is encoded knowledge that belongs to humanity as a whole, just as certainly as mathematical formulae. That’s why I oppose non-free software and software patents.

However, for certain small scripts I’ve written, this rigid approach doesn’t make sense. I’m not releasing these scripts as “software.” The scripts mainly serve as working examples of principles and methods I’m trying to illustrate. From that point of view, the knowledge encoded in the scripts is already free – it’s in the articles I write to introduce the scripts, techniques and algorithms. Plus, I’m not breaking any new ground with the articles, either. Nothing I say here is revolutionary.

I read Richard Stallman’s writing carefully. Though he has a reputation for being a hard-liner, I value his opinions and judgement highly. When I’ve had contact with him, he’s come across just as he does in his essays: as a man of principles, which he will not yield. I respect that. One of his essays is about not using the LGPL. For the reasons stated above, I don’t think the points raised in that essay are applicable to the scripts I’ve released on this website. I believe these scripts are best released under a more permissive license.

The future

This is also a forward-looking change. I’m not trying to be grandiose about these little scripts I’ve written. They’re small snippets and they won’t change the world. But I’ve been working on some other things that are more significant, and I want everything I release to be licensed consistently with my beliefs. When I release these other projects, I’ll be careful to license them in accordance with what they are, what they do, and how others might find them useful.

I hope you, or the projects you’re working on, will find my work useful. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments, or improvements.

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