I stumbled across this Beerware license:


BeerWare Logo (possibly) by Kita59, CC-BY-SA 3.0

* ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
* "THE BEER-WARE LICENSE" (Revision 42):
* <phk@FreeBSD.ORG> 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
* ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

This license text was written by Poul-Henning Kamp, which Wayback Machine has archived as “revised 2 july 1998,” not sure when the text was released. However, the term, “Beerware”, was…:

The term was invented by John Bristor in Pensacola, Florida on April 25, 1987, and the first software distributed using the Beerware licensing model was uploaded to a number of BBSs in 1987 and 1988. Many variations on the beerware model have been created since that time.

I have no comments on the legal part, but there was something caught my eyes when I first saw the text. Where are the other 41 revisions? I even tried to quote the search keyword in order to find other revisions. Of course, I couldn’t get any other than “Revision 42.” “42,” it can’t be a coincidence, can it?

So I emailed Poul-Henning Kamp to ask for an answer:

Are there really 42 revisions of BEER-WARE License?

Or that’s just for “the answer”?

But let’s look at what the French Wikipedia states first:

La révision numéro 42 est une référence au Guide du voyageur galactique (H2G2).

Google Translate translated it into:

The revision number 42 is a reference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide (H2G2).

That confirms my guess, but why makes such reference? 16 minutes after the email sent, he replied with the answer I am looking for. Poul-Henning Kamp replied:

The BeerWare license was supposed to be the answer to the BSD vs GPL dispute, so it ovbiously had to be revision 42 ;-)

Now, it all makes a lot of sense. You can read what he thinks about GPL and BSD:

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.

I think the BSD-lite license, which most of the FreeBSD people use now is pretty much OK, but I’m going to stick to my beerware license anyway.

And quite frankly, I think I have gotten much more out of my beerware license than most people have from their GNU or BSD licenses.

“42” can solve anything and beer can dissolve any issues, don’t you agree?

This license seems to have a sister license, THE PIZZA-WARE LICENSE. By the way, if you are looking for weird license, try Rude Software License, Unlicense, or this bizarre Chicken Dance License.