Artistic License

The Artistic License (version 1.0) is a software license used for certain free and open-source software packages, most notably the standard implementation of the Perl programming language and most CPAN modules, which are dual-licensed under the Artistic License and the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Artistic License
AuthorThe Perl Foundation
Latest version1.0 and 2.0
PublisherThe Perl Foundation
DFSG compatibleYes[1]
FSF approved1.0 No (Yes, for Clarified Artistic License), 2.0 Yes
OSI approvedYes (both)
GPL compatible1.0 No (Yes, for Clarified Artistic License), 2.0 Yes
Linking from code with a different licenseYes


Artistic License 1.0

The original Artistic License was written by Larry Wall. The name of the license is a reference to the concept of artistic license.

Whether or not the original Artistic License is a free software license is largely unsettled. The Free Software Foundation explicitly called the original Artistic License a non-free license,[3] criticizing it as being "too vague; some passages are too clever for their own good, and their meaning is not clear".[4] The FSF recommended that the license not be used on its own, but approved the common AL/GPL dual-licensing approach for Perl projects.

In response to this, Bradley Kuhn, who later worked for the Free Software Foundation, made a minimal redraft to clarify the ambiguous passages. This was released as the Clarified Artistic License and was approved by the FSF. It is used by the Paros Proxy, the JavaFBP toolkit and NcFTP.

The terms of the Artistic License 1.0 were at issue in a 2007 federal district court decision in the US, which suggested that FOSS-like licenses could only be enforced through contract law rather than through copyright law, in contexts where contract damages would be difficult to establish.[5] On appeal, a federal appellate court "determined that the terms of the Artistic License are enforceable copyright conditions".[6] The case was remanded to the District Court, which did not apply the superior court's criteria (on the grounds that in the interim, the Supreme Court had changed the applicable law). However, this left undisturbed the finding that a free and open-source license nonetheless has economic value.

Artistic License 2.0

In response to the request for comments (RFC) process for improving the licensing position for Perl 6, Kuhn's draft was extensively rewritten by Roberta Cairney and Allison Randal for readability and legal clarity, with input from the Perl community. This resulted in the Artistic License 2.0, which has been approved as both a free software[7] and open source[8] license.

The Artistic license 2.0 is also notable for its excellent license compatibility with other FOSS licenses due to a relicensing clause, a property other licenses like the GPL are missing.[9]

You may Distribute your Modified Version as Source (either gratis or for a Distributor Fee, and with or without a Compiled form of the Modified Version) [...] provided that you do at least ONE of the following:

[...] (c) allow anyone who receives a copy of the Modified Version to make the Source form of the Modified Version available to others under

(i) the Original License or

(ii) a license that permits the licensee to freely copy, modify and redistribute the Modified Version using the same licensing terms that apply to the copy that the licensee received, and requires that the Source form of the Modified Version, and of any works derived from it, be made freely available in that license fees are prohibited but Distributor Fees are allowed.

It has been adopted by some of the Perl 6 implementations and has been used by the Parrot virtual machine since version 0.4.13. It is also used by the SNEeSe emulator, which was formerly licensed under the Clarified Artistic License.

The OSI recommends that all developers and projects licensing their products with the Artistic License adopt Artistic License 2.0.[10]

See also

  • Software using the Artistic license (category)


  1. ^ "DFSG Licenses – The DFSG and Software Licenses". Debian Wiki. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  2. ^ "Re: For Approval: Artistic License 2.0: msg#00055". March 14, 2007. Archived from the original on December 28, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2009.
  3. ^ "Explaining Why We Don't Endorse Other Systems - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 2013-01-27. ... it permits software released under the original Artistic License to be included, even though that's a nonfree license.
  4. ^ "Various Licenses and Comments about Them - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)". Archived from the original on 24 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
  5. ^ New Open Source Legal Decision: Jacobsen & Katzer and How Model Train Software Will Have an Important Effect on Open Source Licensing, Radcliffe, Mark (Law & Life: Silicon Valley) (2007-08-22)
  6. ^ Opinion, Jacobsen v. Katzer Archived 2011-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (2008-08-13)
  7. ^ "Various Licenses and Comments about Them - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)". Archived from the original on 24 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
  8. ^ "Old Nabble - License Committee Report for May 2007". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2010-03-18.
  9. ^ Interview with Allison Randal about Artistic License 2.0 Archived September 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine on
  10. ^ "The Artistic License:Licensing". Open Source Initiative. October 31, 2006. Archived from the original on 24 March 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2009.

External links

Artistic License (album)

Artistic License is an album by bassist Santi Debriano which was recorded in 2000 and released on the Savant label the following year.

Bowtie (sequence analysis)

Bowtie is a software package commonly used for sequence alignment and sequence analysis in bioinformatics..The source code for the package is distributed freely and compiled binaries are available for Linux, macOS and Windows platforms. As of 2017, the Genome Biology paper describing the original Bowtie method has been cited more than 11,000 times. Bowtie is open-source software and is currently maintained by Johns Hopkins University.


COPASI is an open-source software application for creating and solving mathematical models of biological processes such as metabolic networks, cell-signaling pathways, regulatory networks, infectious diseases, and many others.

Copying Beethoven

Copying Beethoven is a 2006 dramatic film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and directed by Agnieszka Holland which gives a fictional take on the triumphs and heartaches of Ludwig van Beethoven's last years.

Everyday (Buddy Holly song)

"Everyday" is a song written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty, recorded by Buddy Holly and the Crickets on May 29, 1957, and released on September 20, 1957, as the B-side of "Peggy Sue". On the original single the Crickets are not mentioned, but it is known that Holly plays acoustic guitar; drummer Jerry Allison slaps his knees for percussion and typewriter; Joe B. Mauldin plays a standup acoustic bass; and producer Norman Petty's wife Vi Petty plays the celesta aka celeste (a keyboard instrument with a glockenspiel-like tone, used in such classical pieces as "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy" from The Nutcracker). The song is an economical 2 minutes and 5 seconds long. It is ranked number 238 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".

Free Art License

The Free Art License (FAL), (French: Licence Art Libre (LAL)) is a copyleft license that grants the right to freely copy, distribute, and transform creative works.

Galactic Patrol Lensman

Galactic Patrol Lensman (GALACTIC PATROL レンズマン) is a Japanese anime television series based on the Lensman novels. The 25-episode series aired from October 6, 1984 to August 8, 1985 in Japan.

Harmony Gold USA dubbed a compilation of the first four episodes in a heavily edited form, which they released under the title Lensman: Power of the Lens. The other episodes were never dubbed. This compilation is no longer available on video, although it was available in the UK in the late 1980s. Despite sharing character and organization names, as well as central themes common to the books, artistic license produced a final product altogether different from the source material. The series was broadcast in Spain by TV3 in 1994.Although it was produced with the knowledge and consent of Smith's estate, the executors were so displeased with the result that for several years they rejected any other suggestions of adaptation.

Mahogany (email client)

Mahogany is an open source cross-platform email and news client. It is available for X11/Unix and MS Win32 platforms, supporting a wide range of protocols and standards, including SMTP, POP3, IMAP, NNTP (including SSL support for all of them) and full MIME support. The current official release version is 0.67 (published in August 2006).Mahogany is developed by The Mahogany Development Team (Founding members Karsten Ballüder and Vadim Zeitlin). It is licensed under a special Mahogany Artistic License similar to the Perl Artistic License but the developers also allow licensing the program under GNU GPL license.The program features an optional embedded Python interpreter. Python scripts have full access to all internal Mahogany data structures and objects and can be used to extend Mahogany.


Mojolicious is a real-time web application framework, written by Sebastian Riedel, creator of the web application framework Catalyst. Licensed as free software under the Artistic License v 2.0, it is written in the Perl programming language, and is designed for use in both simple and complex web applications, based on Riedel's previous experience developing Catalyst. Documentation for the framework was partly funded by a grant from The Perl Foundation.As it is written in Perl, Mojolicious can run on any of the many operating systems for which Perl is available, and can be installed directly from CPAN. Prebuilt packages of Mojolicious are also available for NetBSD from pkgsrc and for Microsoft Windows and other operating systems from ActiveState's Perl package manager.

Npm (software)

npm (short for Node.js package manager) is a package manager for the JavaScript programming language. It is the default package manager for the JavaScript runtime environment Node.js. It consists of a command line client, also called npm, and an online database of public and paid-for private packages, called the npm registry. The registry is accessed via the client, and the available packages can be browsed and searched via the npm website. The package manager and the registry are managed by npm, Inc.

Padre (software)

Padre (short for "Perl Application Development and Refactoring Environment") is a multi-language software development platform comprising an IDE and a plug-in system to extend it. It is written primarily in Perl and is used to develop applications in this language.Padre is written in Perl 5 but can be extended by any language running on top of the Parrot virtual machine, such as Perl 6, through its plug-in system and its integration with Parrot. The development officially started in June 2008 but Padre has reused components that have been available on CPAN, and the latest version of Padre is itself always available on CPAN. Most importantly, it uses the Perl bindings of wxWidgets for the windowing system, and PPI to correctly parse and highlight Perl and to allow refactoring. The primary advantages of Padre for Perl developers is that full and easy access to the source code of their editor is available, and a unique set of "Perl intuition" features that allow the IDE to understand details about project structure and content without needing to be told by the user.

Parrot virtual machine

Parrot is a register-based process virtual machine designed to run dynamic languages efficiently. It is possible to compile Parrot assembly language and PIR (an intermediate language) to Parrot bytecode and execute it. Parrot is free and open source software.Parrot was started by the Perl community and is developed with help from the open source and free software communities. As a result, it is focused on license compatibility with Perl (Artistic License 2.0), platform compatibility across a broad array of systems, processor architecture compatibility across most modern processors, speed of execution, small size (around 700k depending on platform), and the flexibility to handle the varying demands made by Perl 6 and other modern dynamic languages.

Version 1.0, with a stable API for development, was released on March 17, 2009.The current version is release 8.1.0 "Andean Parakeet"

Rakudo Perl 6

Rakudo Perl 6 (or simply "Rakudo") is a Perl 6 compiler targeting MoarVM, and the Java Virtual Machine, that implements the Perl 6 specification. It is currently the only major Perl 6 compiler in active development.

Originally developed within the Parrot project, the Rakudo source code repository was split from the project in February 2009 so that it could be developed independently, although there were still many dependencies at the time. Rakudo is written in C, Perl 6, and the lightweight Perl 6 implementation "NQP" (Not Quite Perl).Rakudo Perl #14 was released in February 2009, codenamed Vienna after the Perl mongers group that had sponsored one of its developers since April 2008. Subsequent releases have used codenames based on Perl mongers groups.

The first major release of a distribution of both compiler and modules (named "Rakudo *" or "Rakudo Star") was on July 29, 2010.


SVK (also written svk) is a decentralized version control system written in Perl, with a hierarchical distributed design comparable to centralized deployment of BitKeeper and GNU arch. It is distributed under the Artistic License and the GNU General Public License. The primary author of svk is Kao Chia-liang (Chinese: 高嘉良). On June 5, 2006, Chia-liang Kao joined Best Practical Solutions, LLC, makers of Request Tracker (and also heavy users of SVK), and SVK became a Best Practical product.On May 28, 2009, Chia-liang Kao announced that Best Practical will no longer be actively developing SVK. Kao continued to develop SVK until the last release in March 2010, when development appears to have stopped.

Sande Zeig

Sande Zeig is an American film director and writer. She was the partner of late French feminist writer Monique Wittig. She directed the 2000 romantic drama The Girl.

Speedster (fiction)

A speedster is a character whose powers primarily relate to superhuman speed (also known as superspeed). Primary abilities shared by all speedsters include running at speeds far in excess of human capability (to varying degrees) and resistance to the side effects (air resistance, inability to breathe, dynamic shock resulting from contact with objects at high speed, etc.) that result from such velocity. In almost all cases, speedsters are able to physically attack opponents by striking them while at high speed to impart huge amounts of kinetic energy without suffering harm. A variety of other powers have been attributed to speedsters depending on the story, the origin of the power, and the established continuity and rules of a given universe.

The Ballad of Billy the Kid

"The Ballad of Billy the Kid" is a song by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel from the album Piano Man. It was also issued as a single in the UK backed with "If I Only Had The Words (To Tell You)."

TopHat (bioinformatics)

TopHat is a bioinformatic sequence analysis package tool for fast and high throughput alignment of shotgun cDNA sequencing reads generated by transcriptomics technologies (e.g. RNA-Seq) using Bowtie first and then mapping to a reference genome to discover RNA splice sites de novo. TopHat aligns RNA-Seq reads to mammalian-sized genomes.TopHat is a free, open-source software. It's available at

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