No one in the ASF discussion was particularly concerned with the profanity, and someone even took the position that joke licenses are unenforceable and so not a problem. But in the end, the essence of the issue of concern was well characterized by one of the participants in the discussion: “It is the perception of risk by the more conservative of the user population of Apache software.” This was an argument similar to the one that carried the day when Apache moved the JSON License to Category X. In a nutshell, the argument is this: If our conservative customers won’t like it, we don’t want it.
The Apache Foundation recently updated their page that contains information about licenses to include the following:
“Nonsensical licenses. These licenses while amusing to their creators are legally problematic. They often include subjective Field of use restrictions e.g. ‘Don’t be evil’ with no arbiter for that subjective restriction defined. In some cases they may not even grant sufficient rights to conform to the OSI open source definition. Since we do not wish to surprise our downstream consumers we forbid the use of such licenses.”
By being sensitive to their customers’ needs and concerns, the Apache Software Foundation continues to be one of the most trusted sources of software there is. Their legal group sweats the details so their customers don’t have to. It really matters. And they are not being d***s.