Re: [hackers] Licensing status of patches

From: Daniel Littlewood <>
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 2020 20:01:41 +0100

Dear Laslo,

Thanks for your reply - I appreciate that this does not have much
practical importance. Unfortunately the simplest way for me to version
my dwm copy is by hosting it on Github, which is in some sense
"publishing" it. I was hoping to be able to do this without worrying,
but it seems that the MIT license offers no such guarantee. I wonder
if the suckless team had considered using the GPL (which would).

Of course, it's true that in practice that a patcher is unlikely to
care if their patch is shared more widely (and not all of them are so
small). But after all, one could probably say the same about dwm's
license itself. If I choose to share the thing more widely, I will
probably take the pains to contact them. After all, it's best to be

Warm regards,

On Tue, Sep 29, 2020 at 12:16 PM Laslo Hunhold <> wrote:
> 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
> Laslo
Received on Tue Sep 29 2020 - 21:01:41 CEST

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