Picking a License for Tanzawa

As Tanzawa is getting closer to being something I can release for other people to use, I've been trying to decide on the best license for it and my goals for the project. The most likely scenario is that Tanzawa will only power my blog or a handful of blogs and that I'll be the only regular contributor. I'd love to be proven wrong, though πŸ˜€.

My main goal for Tanzawa is to provide a system that slightly-technical folks can use to create their own home online. My secondary goal is to explore low-resource computing and using Tanzawa as my proving ground. If I can find a model that would allow me to build a revenue stream around Tanzawa, that would be great, but it's not a primary focus.

I've considered all of the main open source licenses: Apache, AGPL, MIT, and BSD-3.Β  Each license is appealing to me for different ideological reasons.Β 

Before researching licenses a bit, I had thought I would pick the AGPL. I really like changes would need to be released to the community. Wordpress uses the GPL, too.Β 

But then I started thinking about the possibility of building software around Tanzawa to support paid hosting for Tanzawa blogs. This bit wouldn't be open source and it may require some custom hooks into Tanzawa. Picking the AGPL would lock me in needing to release these changes. Being the original author, I could just dual license it to myself, but it gets a bit murkier if anyone contributes to the project.

I considered the MIT and BSD licenses together. BSD is basically public-domain in my mind. You're free to use Tanzawa how you please and keep all your changes to yourself. I'm not entirely opposed to this, and I'm sure it happens in reality with GPLed code. This said if someone uses Tanzawa to build something, I'd like them to acknowledge that what they've built is built on Tanzawa.Β  While I think scenario is a low probability, it's not zero.

The last license I considered is the Apache license. What sets it apart from other licenses is its stance on software patents. Basically is someone contributes to Tanzawa and then sues me (again, low probability), they lose their right to use the software. But not being able to be sued gives me a piece of mind I can't get with the other licenses.

Now to merge license files into the repository.
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  • Curious about the β€œslightly-technical folks”…

  • πŸ™ƒ Still working on that. Installation is the main barrier for "slightly-technical" folks at the moment. Not sure how to handle that quite yet...a DO One-click deploy? But then what about updates? It gets complicated quickly. Ya know?