ISC license

Last updated

ISC license
Publisher Internet Systems Consortium
SPDX identifierISC
Debian FSG compatible Yes [1]
FSF approved Yes [2]
OSI approved Yes [3]
GPL compatible Yes [2]
Copyleft No [2]
Linking from code with a different licence Yes
Website www.isc.org/licenses/ OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

The ISC license is a permissive free software license published by the Internet Software Consortium, now called Internet Systems Consortium (ISC). It is functionally equivalent to the simplified BSD and MIT licenses, but without language deemed unnecessary following the Berne Convention. [nb 1] [nb 2]

Contents

Originally used for ISC software such as BIND and dig, it has become the preferred license for contributions to OpenBSD [6] and the default license for npm packages. [7] [8] The ISC license is also used for Linux wireless drivers contributed by Qualcomm Atheros. [9]

License terms

ISC License  Copyright <YEAR> <OWNER>  Permission to use, copy, modify, and/or distribute this software for any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies.  THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" AND THE AUTHOR DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES WITH REGARD TO THIS SOFTWARE INCLUDING ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR BE LIABLE FOR ANY SPECIAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER RESULTING FROM LOSS OF USE, DATA OR PROFITS, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER TORTIOUS ACTION, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OR PERFORMANCE OF THIS SOFTWARE.
[10] [11]

When initially released, the license did not include the term "and/or", which was changed from "and" by ISC in 2007. [12] Paul Vixie stated on the BIND mailing list that the ISC license started using the term "and/or" to avoid controversy similar to the events surrounding the University of Washington's refusal to allow distribution of the Pine email software. [12]

OpenBSD license

The OpenBSD project began using the ISC license in 2003, before ISC added the term "and/or". [13]

Copyright (c) YYYY YOUR-NAME-HERE <user@your.dom.ain>  Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software for any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies.  THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" AND THE AUTHOR DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES WITH REGARD TO THIS SOFTWARE INCLUDING ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR BE LIABLE FOR ANY SPECIAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER RESULTING FROM LOSS OF USE, DATA OR PROFITS, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER TORTIOUS ACTION, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OR PERFORMANCE OF THIS SOFTWARE.
[6]

Theo de Raadt of OpenBSD chose to retain the wording originally used by the University of California, Berkeley, which allowed free redistribution in either non-free or open-source software. [5] Both licenses are considered acceptable[ clarification needed ] by the Free Software Foundation, and compatible with the GNU GPL. [2]

Reception

In 2015, ISC announced they would release their Kea DHCP Software under the Mozilla Public License 2.0, stating, "There is no longer a good reason for ISC to have its own license, separate from everything else". [14] They also preferred a copyleft license, stating, "If a company uses our software but improves it, we really want those improvements to go back into the master source". Throughout the following years, they re-licensed all ISC-hosted software, including BIND in 2016 [15] and ISC DHCP Server in 2017. [16]

The Publications Office of the European Union advises using the MIT license instead of the ISC License in order to reduce license proliferation. [17]

The GNU project states the inclusion of "and/or" still allows the license to be interpreted as prohibiting distribution of modified versions. Although they state there is no reason to avoid software released under this license, they advise against using the license to keep the problematic language from causing trouble in the future. [18]

See also

Footnotes

  1. "The ISC copyright is functionally equivalent to a two-term BSD copyright with language removed that is made unnecessary by the Berne convention." [4]
  2. "In OpenBSD we use an ISC-style copyright text [...] that is enough to satisfy every legal system on the planet which follows the Berne Convention." [5]

Related Research Articles

BIND is a suite of software for interacting with the Domain Name System (DNS). Its most prominent component, named, performs both of the main DNS server roles, acting as an authoritative name server for DNS zones and as a recursive resolver in the network. As of 2015, it is the most widely used domain name server software, and is the de facto standard on Unix-like operating systems. Also contained in the suite are various administration tools such as nsupdate and dig, and a DNS resolver interface library.

Free software Software licensed to preserve user freedoms

Free software or libre software, infrequently known as freedom-respecting software, is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty, not price; all users are legally free to do what they want with their copies of a free software regardless of how much is paid to obtain the program. Computer programs are deemed "free" if they give end-users ultimate control over the software and, subsequently, over their devices.

GNU Free software collection

GNU is an extensive collection of free software, which can be used as an operating system or can be used in parts with other operating systems. The use of the completed GNU tools led to the family of operating systems popularly known as Linux. Most of GNU is licensed under the GNU Project's own General Public License (GPL).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">MIT License</span> Permissive free software license

The MIT License is a permissive free software license originating at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the late 1980s. As a permissive license, it puts only very limited restriction on reuse and has, therefore, high license compatibility.

Paul Vixie American internet pioneer

Paul Vixie is an American computer scientist whose technical contributions include Domain Name System (DNS) protocol design and procedure, mechanisms to achieve operational robustness of DNS implementations, and significant contributions to open source software principles and methodology. He also created and launched the first successful commercial anti-spam service. He authored the standard UNIX system programs SENDS, proxynet, rtty and Vixie cron. At one point he ran his own consulting business, Vixie Enterprises.

The FreeBSD Documentation License is the license that covers most of the documentation for the FreeBSD operating system.

Internet Systems Consortium, Inc., also known as ISC, is a Delaware-registered, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that supports the infrastructure of the universal, self-organizing Internet by developing and maintaining core production-quality software, protocols, and operations. ISC has developed several key Internet technologies that enable the global Internet, including: BIND, ISC DHCP and Kea. Other software projects no longer in active development include OpenReg and ISC AFTR.

A permissive software license, sometimes also called BSD-like or BSD-style license, is a free-software license which instead of copyleft protections, carries only minimal restrictions on how the software can be used, modified, and redistributed, usually including a warranty disclaimer. Examples include the GNU All-permissive License, MIT License, BSD licenses, Apple Public Source License and Apache license. As of 2016, the most popular free-software license is the permissive MIT license.

This comparison only covers software licenses which have a linked Wikipedia article for details and which are approved by at least one of the following expert groups: the Free Software Foundation, the Open Source Initiative, the Debian Project and the Fedora Project. For a list of licenses not specifically intended for software, see List of free-content licences.

In the context of free and open-source software, proprietary software only available as a binary executable is referred to as a blob or binary blob. The term usually refers to a device driver module loaded into the kernel of an open-source operating system, and is sometimes also applied to code running outside the kernel, such as system firmware images, microcode updates, or userland programs. The term blob was first used in database management systems to describe a collection of binary data stored as a single entity.

Public-domain-equivalent license License that waives all copyright

Public-domain-equivalent license are licenses that grant public-domain-like rights and/or act as waivers. They are used to make copyrighted works usable by anyone without conditions, while avoiding the complexities of attribution or license compatibility that occur with other licenses.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to free software and the free software movement:

dhcpd is a DHCP server program that operates as a daemon on a server to provide Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) service to a network. This implementation, also known as ISC DHCP, is one of the first and best known, but there are now a number of other DHCP server software implementations available.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Free-software license</span> License allowing software modification and redistribution

A free-software license is a notice that grants the recipient of a piece of software extensive rights to modify and redistribute that software. These actions are usually prohibited by copyright law, but the rights-holder of a piece of software can remove these restrictions by accompanying the software with a software license which grants the recipient these rights. Software using such a license is free software as conferred by the copyright holder. Free-software licenses are applied to software in source code and also binary object-code form, as the copyright law recognizes both forms.

BSD licenses are a family of permissive free software licenses, imposing minimal restrictions on the use and distribution of covered software. This is in contrast to copyleft licenses, which have share-alike requirements. The original BSD license was used for its namesake, the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), a Unix-like operating system. The original version has since been revised, and its descendants are referred to as modified BSD licenses.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Copyleft</span> Practice of mandating free use in all derivatives of a work

Copyleft is the legal technique of granting certain freedoms over copies of copyrighted works with the requirement that the same rights be preserved in derivative works. In this sense, freedoms refers to the use of the work for any purpose, and the ability to modify, copy, share, and redistribute the work, with or without a fee. Licenses which implement copyleft can be used to maintain copyright conditions for works ranging from computer software, to documents, art, scientific discoveries and even certain patents.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">GNU Free Documentation License</span> Copyleft license primarily for free software documentation

The GNU Free Documentation License is a copyleft license for free documentation, designed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for the GNU Project. It is similar to the GNU General Public License, giving readers the rights to copy, redistribute, and modify a work and requires all copies and derivatives to be available under the same license. Copies may also be sold commercially, but, if produced in larger quantities, the original document or source code must be made available to the work's recipient.

The Fair License is a short, simple and permissive free software licence which is compatible with the GNU General Public License. Its text is composed of only one sentence and a disclaimer, thus being the shortest license ever approved by the Open Source Initiative. It is also possible to use the Fair License for images, books, music or more generally all kinds of media. The text of the license is as follows:

<Copyright Information>  Usage of the works is permitted provided that this instrument is retained with the works, so that any entity that uses the works is notified of this instrument.  DISCLAIMER: THE WORKS ARE WITHOUT WARRANTY. 
Unlicense Public domain-like license with a focus on an anti-copyright message

The Unlicense is a public domain equivalent license for software which provides a public domain waiver with a fall-back public-domain-like license, similar to the CC Zero for cultural works. It includes language used in earlier software projects and has a focus on an anti-copyright message.

References

  1. "License information". The Debian Project . Software in the Public Interest (published 12 July 2017). 1997–2017. Archived from the original on 20 July 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017. ... This page presents the opinion of some debian-legal contributors on how certain licenses follow the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG). ... Licenses currently found in Debian main include:
    • ...
    • Expat/MIT-style licenses
    • ...
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Various Licenses and Comments about Them". The GNU Project . Free Software Foundation (published 4 April 2017). 2014–2017. ISC License. Archived from the original on 20 July 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017. ... This is a lax, permissive free software license, and compatible with the GNU GPL. ... This license is sometimes also known as the OpenBSD License, although there is one minor difference between the two licenses. The OpenBSD license was updated to remove the ambiguous term: "and/or". ... At the time the ISC license was released, the use of "and/or" construct was a concern because it is similar language used in the license of Pine that the University of Washington later claimed prohibited people from distributing modified versions of the software. ...
  3. "Licenses by Name". Open Source Initiative . n.d. Archived from the original on 20 July 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017. ... The following licenses have been approved by the OSI. ...
    • ...
    • ISC License (ISC)
    • ...
  4. "Copyright Policy". OpenBSD . Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  5. 1 2 de Raadt, Theo (21 March 2008). "Re: BSD Documentation License?". openbsd-misc (Mailing list). Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  6. 1 2 "OpenBSD license template" . Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  7. "init-license". npm-config manpage . Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  8. Oxley, Tim (8 January 2014). "Update default license to ISC". npm/init-package-json. Pull Request #9. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  9. "en/users/Drivers/Atheros - Linux Wireless". linuxwireless.org. Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  10. "ISC License (ISC)". Open Source Initiative . Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  11. "ISC License". Software Package Data Exchange . Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  12. 1 2 Paul Vixie. "Google Groups". groups.google.com. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  13. "src/share/misc/license.template - view - 1.1". 3 June 2003.
  14. "Kea to be released under Mozilla Public License 2.0 - Internet Systems Consortium". www.isc.org. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  15. "BIND 9 Adopts the MPL 2.0 License with BIND 9.11.0 - Internet Systems Consortium". www.isc.org. 27 June 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  16. "ISC DHCP Moves to MPL 2.0 License - Internet Systems Consortium". www.isc.org. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  17. "ISC License (ISC) - EU Vocabularies - Publications Office of the EU". op.europa.eu. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  18. "gnu.org". www.gnu.org. Retrieved 18 July 2020.