jQuery 1.8 released with an interesting license change
The latest version of jQuery was released today and I noticed a license change when poking around in the source file. jQuery 1.7.2 and earlier were dual-licensed under a GPLv2 and MIT but 1.8 was released just under an MIT license.
What are your thoughts for them doing this? Is this not really a big deal removing the GPL since it was already dual licensed as MIT from the start? Maybe they thought dual licensing was overkill because if someone didn't want to contribute back they would always opt for the MIT.
The tricky thing about the MIT license is that it is very vague. Is it X11 or is it Expat? At least with other licenses they are more defined but MIT license is still very popular for being so indecisive.
I thinks it may be a trend that is starting to develop. Projects seem to be changing over to MIT and BSD type licenses. Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but from my understanding of different licenses, MIT and BSD type licenses do not ensure that a person does not lock up the software in a proprietary project. So I am uneasy seeing several projects start off or switch to these types of licenses. Projects I create use GNU GPL or AGPL to ensure the end user gets the same rights and access as the developer. My assumption is that projects are switching to this type of license because it may be easier to use the project in proprietary ventures and make money easier. If that is the case I am not sure how developers can be ok with the idea that someone out in the world could be making money off of your project by just adding a few things on top of it and not have to give back to the project at all. While my primary reason for supporting copy-left type licenses are more inline with the spirit of freedom, I also like copy-left because it says "Hey look, if I am going to share my code, you should agree to share yours as well." I am not sure MIT or BSD have this type of restriction. So, no I do not agree with it, but then again it is not my project.
> to be changing over to MIT and BSD type licenses.
Wouldn't consider GPL-or-MIT -> MIT change to be significant, users
already could use it under the same license. I hope there will be a
trend of simplifying licensing when it doesn't limit user's freedom
(also of derived works), although I see no indication of it occurring.
> correct me if I am wrong, but from my understanding of different
> licenses, MIT and BSD type licenses do not ensure that a person does
> not lock up the software in a proprietary project.
> with the idea that someone out in the world could be making money off
> of your project by just adding a few things on top of it and not have
> to give back to the project at all.
In at least some projects their developers do this, so they might accept
that others also can do it (it's much easier than MySQL-style dual
licensing). They also might want companies like Apple to send some
>I thinks it may be a trend that is starting to develop.
Statistics fortunately disagree.
For a project like jQuery, which was offered under either the MIT or the GPL, the change means practically nothing, as the MIT license is compatible with the GPL anyway.
The GPL actually has a not so obvious downside if one entity holds the copyright to the entire codebase - it can be used in a licensing scheme known as "open core" (see http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2009/10/16/open-core-shareware.html) where the copyright holder can peddle their proprietary addons because they as the copyright holder are not bound by GPL's copyleft. This is typically indicated by the presence of a free "Community Edition" and a "Pro Edition" or "Enterprise Edition" with added proprietary parts. I think this is the case with mysql, actually. These feel more like traditional proprietary companies in that the free version is meant to be demoware or crippleware.
I still generally support the idea of copyleft but it's important to consider the spirit as well as the letter of the license. Proprietary licensed "Enterprise Edition" software built on top of GPL crippleware might be legal according to the letter but it is not the spirit of free software.
... and this does not change anything:
You are still free to take a jQuery Foundation project, make changes, and re-license it under the GPL if your situation makes that desirable.
That confirms what I was writing in another thread: a dual licensing GPL/MIT does not make much sense as the MIT license authorizes sub-licensing the code under any other license including the GNU GPL... and proprietary licenses (the reason why many of us believe the GNU GPL is better for most projects).
The interesting point of this announcement actually is the new "Contributor License Agreement". Some people have strong feelings about that (see, for instance, the OpenOffice.org situation before the fork to LibreOffice). I do not (yet).