Artistic-2.0 – Artistic License Version 2.0: Creative & Collaborative Open Source

The Artistic-2.0 (Artistic License Version 2.0) is a widely used open-source license that allows developers to distribute and modify their software while promoting creativity and collaboration. Originally developed by Larry Wall for the Perl programming language, this license has become popular for various software projects due to its unique approach to licensing.

  1. Key Features of Artistic License Version 2.0:

The Artistic License Version 2.0 is a permissive license that grants users significant freedom to use, modify, and distribute the software. Some key features of this license include:

a. Freedom to Modify: Users are allowed to modify the original codebase as they see fit. This enables them to tailor the software to their specific needs and contribute improvements back to the community.

b. Distribution Rights: Users can distribute the software to others, making it accessible to a broader audience. This fosters collaboration and encourages developers to share their innovations.

c. Dual-Licensing Option: The Artistic License Version 2.0 allows developers to dual-license their software. This means that developers can offer their software under multiple licenses simultaneously. Users can choose the license that best aligns with their needs, providing greater flexibility for both developers and users.

  1. Distinctive Clauses:

The Artistic License Version 2.0 contains distinctive clauses that set it apart from traditional permissive licenses. These clauses are designed to promote creativity and differentiate modified versions from the original work:

a. Naming Requirement: If a user modifies the software and distributes the modified version, they must give the modified version a new name. This requirement ensures clear differentiation between the original work and any derived works, preventing confusion within the open-source community.

b. Specification of Changes: If a user distributes a modified version of the software, they must provide a specification of the changes made to the original code. This allows other developers to understand the modifications and encourages transparency within the community.

  1. Compatibility with Other Licenses:

The Artistic License Version 2.0 is compatible with the GNU General Public License (GPL), allowing developers to combine Artistic-licensed code with GPL-licensed code. This compatibility enables seamless integration and collaboration between projects that use different licenses.

  1. Community and Collaboration:

The Artistic License Version 2.0 fosters a sense of community and collaboration within the open-source ecosystem. By encouraging users to share their modifications and distribute their enhancements, the license promotes a culture of knowledge sharing and innovation.

  1. Legal Protections:

Like other open-source licenses, the Artistic License Version 2.0 includes disclaimers of warranties, protecting developers from liability related to the software’s use or performance.

  1. Maintaining the Spirit of Open Source:

The Artistic License Version 2.0 embodies the core principles of open-source software development. It allows developers to retain ownership of their creations while enabling others to benefit from, build upon, and contribute to the software.


The Artistic License Version 2.0 is a permissive and creative license that strikes a balance between software freedom and responsible distribution. Its unique clauses, such as the naming requirement and specification of changes, encourage transparency and distinguish modified versions from the original work. This license empowers developers to collaborate and share their innovations while retaining control over their intellectual property. By understanding the implications and benefits of the Artistic License Version 2.0, developers can confidently choose this license for their projects and contribute to the vibrant and dynamic open-source community.

If you’re interested in exploring a comprehensive list of various open-source licenses and their details, feel free to check out our guide to “Open Source Licenses : A Guide To Software Licensing“. Happy licensing!


  1. “Artistic License Version 2.0,” Open Source Initiative
  2. “Artistic License 2.0 Overview,” Perl Foundation

Please note that these references provide additional information and details about the Artistic License Version 2.0, its compatibility with other licenses, and its significance in the open-source community.

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