The CRAP License

19 August 2010

The Community Research and Academic Programming License (CRAPL), is an academic-strength open source license by the well-known professor Matt Might. Its purpose is to encourage academics to share their “proof of concept” code, regardless of how ugly it is.

Matt sums up the license:

Most open source licenses (1) require source and modifications to be shared with binaries, and (2) absolve authors of legal liability.

An open source license for academics has additional needs: (1) it should require that source and modifications used to validate scientific claims be released with those claims; and (2) more importantly, it should absolve authors of shame, embarrassment and ridicule for ugly code.

I asked Matt if the CRAPL was also intended for academic assignments. He replied:

The A in CRAPL does mean Academic in the sense of Scientific.

But, really, I think the spirit of it applies to any code that you’d like to throw out there that might not be “polished.”

Reviewers (or graders in your case) have unrestricted rights to review and modify CRAPLed software, as necessary to verify it according to some set of criteria.

So, I’d say if you want to CRAPL your assignments after the submission deadline and post them publicly, go for it! :)

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