After using LaTeX for many years, I recently found the need to learn about TeX to program a more sophisticated solution to a problem. This site has been incredibly valuable for this. Solving my problem has produced code that I think would be useful for other people as well, and I would like to share the results publicly (maybe not in an official CTAN package, but at least on the Web somewhere).

However, a little portion of my code adapts code from this site (a sorting algorithm that was published by TH, see How to sort an alphanumeric list). This code was published under CC license on this site, but this license is not generally considered a good license to use for software. I do not see any way to contact "TH" to ask for permission to re-license this code, and TH did not reply to the according meta question (Relicensing code from answers). My question is: which options do I have now to publish this code under a software license? Do I even need to be concerned in this case, or is the code too simple/short to require any permission?

I am aware that this is rather a meta question, but since I just created my account (in hope to contact TH), I cannot ask there. I also cannot post comments on the original answer that my code came from. Moreover, I cannot participate in community chats, again due to lack of reputation points. So it seems that my only way to contact anyone at this stage is to pollute the main question space. All apologies if there should be any other option that I might have overlooked.

  • 10
    If you get the licensing issues sorted please consider uploading your package to CTAN. Even if it's only useful for a few people CTAN is where most people start looking. Also packages then get included into TeX Live and MiKTeX and there's no need to install it manually (which is something not everybody is keen to do).
    – cgnieder
    Mar 11, 2013 at 19:12
  • I'm not a license expert, but it seems that you can use the code here with attribution to TH and if you release the package under e.g. the LLPL, this would count as a "similar license" from the point of view of CC.
    – Alan Munn
    Mar 11, 2013 at 19:17
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    @mak I pinged TH in a comment on the original question so (s)he'll get a notification with a link here if (s)he logs on to the site (last seen in feb) Mar 11, 2013 at 19:27
  • 5
    (s)he? Where is my ligature? :P
    – percusse
    Mar 13, 2013 at 0:44

1 Answer 1


Perhaps StackExchange should consider offering text under CC and code under e.g. BSD/MIT license (this would automatically include LaTeX snippets, and make them LLPL-compatible).

(Yes, that opens a can of worms full to the rim with "what is text, what is code", and "can I use the question/answer/comment in the documentation", so that is only a partial answer... perhaps needs a CC + special dispensation for such uses.)

[And yes, this should now probably go to meta^*.stackexchange.com...]

  • Yes, a dual licensing clause for stackexchange would solve the problem in the future. One permissive software license would be enough. Documentation can be CC, and it is not hard to write new documentation in different words to avoid issues (this is harder for code). The main problem with dual licensing is that some transition must be found for existing content; Wikipedia and OpenStreetMaps have shown two different paths of achieving this, none of which is very easy. Depending on how this is done, this may or may not solve my problem, but in an unforeseeable amount of time.
    – mak
    Mar 13, 2013 at 8:35

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