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AuthorPoul-Henning Kamp
Latest version42
SPDX identifierBeerware
Debian FSG compatibleYes
FSF approvedYes (see "informal license" section)
OSI approvedNo
GPL compatibleYes
Linking from code with a different licenceYes

Beerware is a tongue-in-cheek software license with permissive terms. It provides the end user with the right to use a particular program (or do anything else with the source code).


Should the user of the product meet the author and consider the software useful, they are encouraged to either buy the author a beer "in return" or drink one themselves. The Fedora project and Humanitarian-FOSS project at Trinity College recognized the "version 42" beerware license variant as extremely permissive "copyright only" license, and consider it as GPL compatible. As of 2016 the Free Software Foundation does not mention this license explicitly, but its list of licenses contains an entry for informal licenses, which are listed as free, non-copyleft, and GPL-compatible. However, the FSF recommends the use of more detailed licenses over informal ones.

Many variations on the beerware model have been created. Poul-Henning Kamp's beerware license is simple and short, in contrast to the GPL, which he has described as a "joke". The full text of Kamp's license is:

/* * ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- * "THE BEER-WARE LICENSE" (Revision 42): * <[email protected]> wrote this file. As long as you retain this notice you * can do whatever you want with this stuff. If we meet some day, and you think * this stuff is worth it, you can buy me a beer in return. Poul-Henning Kamp * ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- */


  1. ^ The earliest revision on the Wayback Machine of the website of Poul-Henning Kamp that contains the license was from that year. If that is indeed the earliest publication of the license is unknown.

See also


  1. ^ Poul-Henning Kamp at the Wayback Machine (archived 2001-03-02)
  2. ^ a b c d "Various Licenses and Comments about Them § Informal license". Free Software Foundation. 2016-01-05. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  3. ^ "What Does "Free as in Speech" or "Free as in Beer" Really Mean?". Archived from the original on 23 December 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Licensing/Beerware". Fedora project. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  5. ^ "Beerware License". Humanitarian-FOSS. Archived from the original on 2016-03-22. Retrieved 2015-04-20. The license is compatible with proprietary licenses and the GNU GPL, as code under this license has no restrictions whatsoever.
  6. ^ I think the GNU license is a joke, it fights the capitalism it so much is against with their own tools, and no company is ever going to risk any kind of proximity to so many so vague statements assembled in a license.
  7. ^ Kamp, Poul-Henning (2004-10-24). "Poul-Henning Kamp". Archived from the original on 21 April 2006. Retrieved 2006-04-24.