How to add a license (and choose your own licensing adventure) when you first create a repository on GitHub – 047

For the longest time, I thought it was required that you select a README in order to select a license. Although you should have both (ideally) in your repo, you don’t have to create a readme file on the /new page just to set a license file.

In the image below, the Initialize this repository with a README is unchecked, while the MIT License is being selected for the Add a license dropdown button.

adding MIT License without the Initialize this repo with a README checked

Remember, just like a readme, the license for your GitHub repo is only a file that’s within the repo itself (and doesn’t automatically get added to a Visual Studio solution – something that took me a long time to wrap my head around).

LICENSE file shown in repo file listing

But suppose you know you need a license, but want to go over what your options are. There’s a (?) button right next to the Add a license dropdown button on the /new page.

choose a license help icon

Clicking on this help icon button will take you the Choose a License website, a “choose your own adventure”-style site where you can learn more about licensing!

Got a suggestion for the Choose a License website? The website (a github pages site) is an open source project accepting contributions!

Down in the bottom right corner of the footer, you see a link to the repo

Curated with <3 by GitHub, Inc. and You!

I call out this link because adding the “and You!” link was my first ever Pull Request. These Pull Request-related tips won’t really click until you’ve walked through submitting a Pull Request yourself. I hope by sharing my lightbulb experiences from my first few PRs that it will help others get a sense of what the process is like.

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