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Perl 5 using Artistic License 2.0

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Darren Duncan
August 27, 2009 01:36
Perl 5 using Artistic License 2.0
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I think I raised this issue before just prior to Perl 5.10.0 coming out, and it 
was decided then that it wasn't something to hold up the release over.  However, 
now that it is *after* the release of Perl 5.10.1 and people are more relaxed, I 
think its time to return to this.

I propose that Perl 5 now becomes re-licensed under just the Artistic License 
2.0, following the lead of the Perl 6 related projects such as Parrot and 
Rakudo.  This instead of using the disjunction of the original Artistic License 
and the GPLv1+.  And the text of the Artistic License 2.0 would be bundled in 
the file named "Artistic" rather than the text of the older version.

This change would make the licensing situation cleaner moving forward and should 
more accurately convey what Larry originally intended, with better legal 
footing, and with terms more easily understood by anyone.

While many people have contributed to Perl 5 over the years, making this 
licensing change shouldn't actually be very difficult, since we actually *don't* 
need to contact every single one of them in advance to ask for permission. 
Rather, we can simply get the permission of a few main contributors, or at least 
Larry himself, and then let anyone else raise an objection if they want to, 
which is probably very unlikely.  (Its the same issue as with relicensing the 
Linux kernel if one wanted to.)  After all, there isn't really any legal problem 
unless a copyright holder raises an objection.

In regards to the secondary effects of this change, such as on all those CPAN 
modules licensed "same terms as Perl itself", well we shouldn't have a problem 
there either.  The Artistic License 2.0 is in the same spirit as the original, 
and almost exactly the same in substance, save for the cleaning up and better 
legal status, and so all those CPAN modules suddenly falling under the Artistic 
License 2.0 shouldn't be a problem to their authors as their intentions would 
still be met.

And there is no need for the complexity of an explicit GPL disjunction since the 
Artistic License 2.0 is compatible with all GPL versions by itself.

I propose that this change be made as soon as physically possible, as someone 
has the tuits to make the documentation edits, and at least Larry signs off on it.

And so, any future Perl 5 releases, including 5.11.x+, 5.10.2, and any possible 
further 5.8.x, can be under the Artistic License 2.0.

Can anyone think of any good reason to not go ahead with this sooner rather than 

-- Darren Duncan

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