I think it is important that as many Visual Basic programmers as possible have access to strong cryptography and know how to use it. I felt the best way to do that was to write some code that (hopefully) would be good enough to become popular, and could be used and distributed widely for free. This code became the WCCO code, which uses Visual Basic and the Microsoft CryptoAPI, and is included with my book Cryptography for Visual Basic.

You can use this code for free, and post it anywhere on the Internet. In fact, please do.

I could have just given the code away for free - in legal terms, made it public domain - but that would not have caused it to be distributed as widely as an open source license will. An open source license is better than putting the code in the public domain for these reasons:

  1. Whenever you use the code, you have to say somewhere in your source code (and in your GUI if you have one, typically in your About box) that you are using open source code, and where it can be obtained. That way you not only use it, you let others know that they can too, and where they can download it.
  2. Under the open source license, if you improve the code, you have to make the improvements available to everyone else too. (If you want to keep your changes secret and still use the WCCO, there is this work-around.)
  3. The open source license protects me. If your company collapses because of my code, you canít sue me: the license absolves me of all such liability.
why an open source license for the WCCO?