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ISC vs. MIT

Copyright (c) 4-digit year, Company or Person's Name

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.

Source: http://opensource.org/licenses/ISC

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c)

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

Source: http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT

@dotku

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dotku commented Feb 4, 2017

They looks very similar?!

I found the only differences is here

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

@laurence-myers

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laurence-myers commented Feb 11, 2017

The warranty disclaimer wording is quite different, but shares a similar sentiment.

@tim-phillips

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tim-phillips commented Mar 5, 2017

From the Wikipedia article:

The ISC license is a permissive free software license written by the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC). It is meant to be functionally equivalent to the simplified BSD and the MIT licenses, differing in its removal of language deemed unnecessary following the global adoption of the Berne Convention.

@5paceToast

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5paceToast commented May 15, 2017

MIT also explicitly allows sublicensing, whereas ISC does not.
While (to the best of my knowledge) ISC does not disallow it (so long as the original license is around somewhere), sublicensing is scary to a majority of non-lawyer developers.
So if one wants the possibility for sublicensing to be open, MIT should be preferable (for the sake of clarity to the general user). If not, ISC is simpler and (due to the above) at the very least discourages such behaviour.

@BMillsVT

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BMillsVT commented May 17, 2017

@SpaceToast - You wouldn't need to sublicense a work for someone else to use it. That other person would also have a license to the "original" work under the terms of the ISC license -- just like you have permission under that license. That does make it a little more confusing when you're combining an ISC licensed work into a distributed product, but so long as you make that clear in a notice or attribution file, you should be fine. So, in short, it's a functional equivalent of the MIT or BSD.

@AXDOOMER

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AXDOOMER commented Jun 20, 2017

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

You don't need this line, since if you remove the copyright notice, you will lose the rights that the copyright owner has given you. This line as no point. Also, substantial portions of the Software is totally vague and can be interpreted in a lot of different ways.

MIT also explicitly allows sublicensing, whereas ISC does not.

BSD doesn't explicitly allows sublicensing, but you can do it as long as what is said in the license is respected. Same for ISC and MIT. The MIT use a lot of superfluous language to explicitly give you rights that the ISC would also give you implicitly, but no one would put these implicit rights in doubt. For example, both license have a similar sentence:

Permission to use, copy, modify, and/or distribute this software for any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted

This implicitly protects you from people who own patents and would put them into your code. They can't sue you, because since they've put their patented code under this license, as the copyright owner, they give you the right to use it.

ISC is a very simple license. If you like it, you can also take a look at the 0-clause BSD license. It's the same license, but with provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies removed. It gives aways you code, without requiring that future users keep the copyright notice.

@5paceToast

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5paceToast commented Jul 12, 2017

You wouldn't need to sublicense a work for someone else to use it.

I never claimed you would.

That does make it a little more confusing when you're combining an ISC licensed work into a distributed product, but so long as you make that clear in a notice or attribution file, you should be fine.

That confusion was my entire point - explicitly allowing sublicensing as long as you keep the notice == less confusing and less scary for random devs.
There is also the use case where one may want to take your work, and have their own version (think gogs vs whatever the fork's name is), but say they prefer BSD-3. You can do that with both licenses, but one of them is more intimidating to non-lawyers.

BSD doesn't explicitly allows sublicensing, but you can do it as long as what is said in the license is respected.

A lawyer knows this.
A programmer with basically no knowledge of legalities does not.
As I mentioned, explicitly allowing it takes away the "but what if someone does mind" anxieties some developers may face when wanting to sublicense.

@duhseekoh

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duhseekoh commented Jan 11, 2018

@hinell

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hinell commented Feb 18, 2019

Looks like ISC is more permissive. It doesn't require you to add copy of the license once you copy the "subject".

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