djb to release all his software into the public domain

Dan Bernstein aka djb writes brilliant software. He has a reputation for being a little difficult but his software is really, really well written and some of the most secure code out there. I used qmail for a long time, and I still think that it is hands down the best choice for an outgoing mail relay, particularly if you need to process large volumes of mail (it’s not flexible enough for my taste to be a good incoming mail router these days – too many smart tricks are necessary to deal with spam).

However, I still swear by djbdns, which does all that I need my nameservers to do, without all the bloat and history of security issues that come with Bind (though admittedly bind 9 is a heck of a lot better than its predecessors when it comes to being secure).

From my perspective, the biggest problem with djb’s software has been the licensing. Djb did not put his software under a standard free software license; he rolled his own license(s) that were not entirely compatible with free software. See a copy of the djb distributors page from August 2007 for more details.

So what’s the news? Djb has announced that he is to release all his software into the public domain (video). The qmail distribution page has already been updated, stating that qmail has been put into the public domain (compare with a copy from last August at

I hope the main djb distribution page gets updated soon; I can’t wait to see djbdns, daemontools and the like officially packaged in Debian. Thank you, Dan!

UPDATE 2008-01-02: Dan’s distributors page has now been updated; daemontools, djbdns, primegen and ucspi-tcp are now all listed as public domain software.

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