Re: [hackers] Licensing status of patches

From: Laslo Hunhold <>
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 2020 13:13:57 +0200

On Tue, 29 Sep 2020 09:54:43 +0100
Daniel Littlewood <> wrote:

Dear Daniel,

> Hi all, apologies if this is the wrong mailing list (I couldn't tell
> exactly where to send it).
> Could someone please confirm for me what the licensing status of
> patches hosted on the suckless domain is? I assume that they are
> meant to inherit the MIT/X license from their parent projects, but I
> can't see anywhere this is explicitly stated. I don't think that they
> inherit the license of the parent project by default.

patches are usually just added as-is and don't bear a license, which
practically says "all rights reserved". This, though, doesn't matter if
you just use them for your personal needs.

If you plan to work on a patch or republish it or something and want to
go 1000% sure, it's best to e-mail the original author of the patch and
ask him if he agrees to license it under the ISC license (which is
equivalent to the MIT/X license, but stripped of useless legal
clauses) or the GPL, whichever you prefer. If he agrees, you can
modify and republish the patch, as long as you give proper attribution.

What should be said, though, is that I don't see a big problem with
patch licensing anyway. Neither would anybody go to court over a 10 line
diff, nor would any company respect any license or give attribution, so
let's just accept that and carry on.

With best regards

Received on Tue Sep 29 2020 - 13:13:57 CEST

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