MIT License

What Does MIT License Mean?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) License is free license software. The MIT License grants the software end user rights such as copying, modifying, merging, distributing, etc. It is notable for what it does not contain, such as clauses for advertising and prohibition of the use of the copyright owner’s name for promotional uses. The MIT License is a free and open source software similar to the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) License.


This term is also known as the Expat License.

Techopedia Explains MIT License

MIT and BSD licenses are considered to be much more flexible than even the General Public License. For instance, users have broad copying and distribution rights. Thus, because the MIT license is not subject to copyright, developers are free to make changes to its software as they see fit.

One of the confusing issues with the MIT License is its identification by several names. MIT actually licenses a variety of software. The Free Software Foundation references the MIT License as the X11 License (the 11th version of the X-Window System), which is the graphing engine for Linux and UNIX systems.

The Open Source Initiative (OSI) does not use the X11 License name. OSI refers to the licensure as the MIT License, as do many agencies and information technology groups and individuals. Some agree that a reasonable compromise would be to refer to it as the MIT X License. Still another name is the Expat License. Regardless of its name, the MIT License is easy to understand and provides code accessibility for most developers.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.