Artistic License vs. MIT License

In about a week or so I plan on releasing a JavaScript library that will be of interest to some in the IF community. I’m trying to figure out which license to release it under. I’ve narrowed it down to either the Artistic 2.0 license or the MIT license. If you have opinions on the relative merits of either license, please share them.

Sharing the links to both since I had to look them up to educate myself:

I’m most familiar with Creative Commons licensing since I use CC music and sound in my games, but I think those are more appropriate for art and media as opposed to software.

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Depends on your intention to hold the project, because Artistic License says any changed copy must be renamed, and MIT says anyone can just pick up a project, put themselves in charge and continue. (there is also )

I’d recommend MIT because niche Javascript libraries usually don’t last very long and don’t have strong competition. Just to keep the gate open in case you abandon this in the next three years and someone picks it up again in 2024 or so.


Graham Nelson really likes the Artistic 2.0 License, but he’s one of the only people I’ve seen use it, outside of the Perl community. It is pretty uncommon now. On the other hand the MIT license is basically standard now. Everyone understands what it allows. If you want a permissive license, it’s what I’d recommend.


If you npm init today, the default license is ISC, which is MIT simplified. It’s a good default, I think.

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Chris Jones licensed AGS under the Artistic License 2.0.