ROFL: A software license that promotes fun in coding

Ming
6 min readJun 5, 2023

THE REJOICE OF FUN LICENSE (ROFL)

Version 1.0, [Date]

Preamble. The Rejoice of Fun License (“ROFL”, “the License”, or “this license” hereafter) is a software license that aims to promote a joyful and creative coding environment while emphasizing responsible conduct. This license encourages developers to have fun and enjoy the process of coding, while also maintaining a respectful and informative approach. By using, modifying, or distributing software under the Rejoice of Fun License, you agree to the terms and conditions set forth below.

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I. Obligation to Delight Yourself and Others

This license identifies three different parties that might involve in this software: 1) you, 2) users, and 3) other developers.

1. Have fun while coding.

Embrace a lighthearted attitude while working with the software.

(a) Play with the software. By accepting ROFL, you are obliged to experiment with different ideas, explore more, and try to be creative, as circumstance permits.

(b) Get comfortable. This license urges you to sit in your most ergonomic chair and put your favorite blanket on, as temperature permits, while working with this software and related materials.

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2. Please your users.

Whether a library meant for other developers or an application targeting at end users, your software is eventually going to meet a human. At your best, make them happy while using your software.

Whenever applicable, ROFL mandates you to:

  • add playful commentaries to documentations,
  • insert Easter eggs in user interfaces, or
  • spend more time working on that icon you doodled with mspaint.

3. Take care of your fellow developers.

These are the people who built upon your contributions to this software. The fun lies in collaboration.

(a) Learn together. At the minimum, be available when someone asks for help. To ensure that can happen, set up a channel where people can reach you.

(b) Be proactive. If, while working on this software, you crossed paths with someone, it’s a good indicator that you may share common interests (and, better yet, similar senses of humor!). As a condition of this license, you are cheerfully bound to follow up with them.

  • Unless you have a better ice-breaker, you can tell them that you are under the obligation of this license to reach out.
  • ROFL does NOT require you to befriend anyone. A simple gesture of friendliness satisfies this term. Don’t push too hard.
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II. Moderation of Adverse Sentiments

Your feelings are always valid; however, by accepting this license, you acknowledge the obligation to take a break when negative feelings arise while developing the code.

  1. During coding, you may get stuck with a technical issue and feel blocked. In such situations, reach out to other developers of the software, especially the maintainers of upstream forks. They are under the obligation to be as helpful as possible — See Clause I.3.(a).
  2. While using this software under ROFL, you are expected to prioritize your mental and emotional well-being over the proper execution of the code. This license respectfully reminds you that there might be Eastern eggs implemented in the software, which might have unintendedly caused unexpected behavior — See Clause I.2.(b).

In general, when bad emotions becomes prominent, engage in self-care and seek professional support if needed. Return to the code with a refreshed and positive mindset.

III. Requirement for Responsible Behaviors

Like alcohol and tobacco, things that usually give pleasure may cause problems if abused, so are the jokes and playful remarks you make around this software and related materials.

1. Be inclusive with the community around this software.

Foster an inclusive and welcoming environment for all individuals, free from discrimination, harassment, or exclusionary behavior.

  • (a) No vulgarity (dirty jokes, swearing words, etc.). Children who are learning to code may bump into your code. Don’t scare them away (regardless of whether you are a child yourself).
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  • (b) Mind the cultural differences. The population that would potentially see this software isn’t make up of a million copies of you. There are programmers from different cultural backgrounds. Try your best to not offend them.
  • (c) No aggressive behavior. Refrain from making pranks may cause distress, confusion, or harm to others.

2. Balance fun and performance when dealing with the software itself.

  • (a) With code, use good judgments about technical trade-offs. Implementing Eastern eggs might compromise the efficiency, accuracy, or integrity of the code and associated materials. You should make reasonable decisions about how much performance is sensible to sacrifice. Write down the sacrifices that you’ve decided to make, so that people won’t mistake them as bugs or be taken by surprise.
  • (b) With documentations, stay truthful and be clear. Avoid false statements or intentionally misleading descriptions that could misguide readers or obfuscate the code and associated materials.

IV. Typical License Stuff

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1. Attribution.

  • (a) Give credit to the original authors or contributors when using or modifying software under the ROFL.
  • (b) Include an attribution notice that is easily accessible and prominently displayed in the distributed software, documentation, and related materials.

2. No Warranty.

This license is provided “as is,” without warranty of any kind. The authors or copyright holders of ROFL-licensed software shall not be held liable for any claims, damages, or other liabilities arising from the use or distribution of the software.

Happiness not guranteed. If you ended up crying while maintaining or running this software, no maintainers is responsible for cheering you up.

3. Modification and Distribution.

  • (a) Permitted activities under the license. You are permitted to modify, adapt, and distribute software under the ROFL, as long as you comply with the terms of this license.
  • (b) Relicensing. With modifications to the software, you are permitted to re-license it under a different license, so as to allow for more serious applications.

4. Compatibility.

  • (a) Combination. ROFL-licensed software may be combined or incorporated with software under other software licenses. Ensure that the resulting combination complies with the terms of all involved licenses.
  • (b) Conflict resolution. Resolve conflicts between the terms of the ROFL and any other software license in a manner that upholds the principles of responsible and enjoyable coding to the greatest extent possible. If incompatibility are unresolvable, exercise your right or relicensing the software as a last resort.

V. Conclusion

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The Rejoice of Fun License (ROFL) is designed to cultivate a joyful and creative coding environment while promoting responsible conduct.

By embracing a fun-first approach, developers are encouraged to explore their creativity, delight users, and collaborate with fellow developers. The license also emphasizes the importance of managing adverse emotions, fostering an inclusive community, and maintaining a balance between fun and responsible behavior. Through these terms, ROFL aims to create an atmosphere where coding becomes a delightful and fulfilling experience.

Let’s code with joy, laughter, and a shared commitment to responsible and enjoyable software development.

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