- Non-functional works
- Why we chose permissive licenses instead of copyleft
FarmBot Inc is legally bound to openly share its products at the time of public release, including but not limited to its hardware, software, and documentation.
In doing so, we’ve chosen the following licenses for our works based on compliance with leading open source advocacy groups, such as the Open Source Initiative. Additionally, these licenses have been chosen to respect your freedom when it comes to all of our functional works and maintain integrity when it comes to our non-functional works.
|Type of Work||License|
|Hardware||CC0 Public Domain Dedication|
|Documentation||CC0 Public Domain Dedication|
|Non-functional||Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License|
In short, this means you are free to use the FarmBot CAD models, 2D drawings, and other supporting documents as you please, without attribution or needing to request permission. This includes viewing, copying, modifying, and redistributing the files for any purpose, even commercial purposes. These files come with no warranty, express or implied.
All FarmBot software is licensed with the MIT License, which is both an approved license by the Open Source Initiative, as well as an approved free (as in freedom) license by the Free Software Foundation.
In short, this means you are free to use, copy, modify, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the software. The software comes with no warranty, express or implied.
FarmBot documentation is licensed under the CC0 Public Domain Dedication. This is compliant with the definition of “open” put forth by the Open Knowledge Foundation.
In short, this means you are free to use the documentation content (text, images, tables, videos, etc) as you please, without attribution or needing to request permission. This includes viewing, copying, modifying, and redistributing the content for any purpose, even commercial purposes. This content comes with no warranty, express or implied.
Software documentation not included
Any documentation included with the source code of our software is licensed the same as the software itself.
Non-functional works not included
Any non-functional works (marketing materials, brand assets, and company messaging) that is viewable on our documentation hubs should not be considered documentation. Instead, those works are considered non-functional works and licensed separately (see below).
Our non-functional works (marketing materials, brand assets, and our company messaging) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This includes but is not limited to our videos, photos, social media posts, blog posts, newsletters, recorded talks, interviews, written words, logos, iconography, color pallets, general aesthetic, and other media.
In short, our non-functional works may be adapted and shared with attribution, but never for commercial purposes except under specially negotiated circumstances.
For more information, see our section on maintaining integrity.
When selecting our open-source licenses, we had a decision to make: should the licenses be permissive or copyleft?
Permissive licenses allow our direct users to distribute copies of the work (verbatim or modified) with different licensing terms if they wish. For example, someone could add a new software feature to FarmBot OS and distribute their version with a proprietary (closed-source) license. Any users of that modified version may not have the same freedoms we grant to users of our version, depending on the specifics of the modified version’s license.
Copyleft licenses force everyone distributing copies of the work (verbatim or modified) to use the same licensing terms. In the case of a copyleft license that grants certain user freedoms, it means all other versions of the software are legally required to grant those same freedoms as well.
While there exist both permissive and copyleft licenses that respect user freedom, depending on your philosophy, one may be more “free” (as in freedom) than the other. Permissive licenses grant direct users the freedom to distribute under a different license if they choose. This freedom could be utilized by someone building a non-open business model around their modifications. Copyleft licenses protect the original license freedoms for all users (direct users, and users of all other versions). This is useful for ensuring a free work doesn’t become non-free over time.
At FarmBot Inc, we have chosen permissive licenses for all of our functional work because we believe that the freedom for direct users to choose what license they distribute their versions of the work under is still important for innovation. In other words, we are okay with allowing non-free versions of the work to exist in order to support traditional non-open business models.
At the end of the day, even though we have granted our users with the freedom to choose what license they distribute their versions with, we encourage everyone to license their versions as freely as we have. A rising tide lifts all boats.