cargo, make me a project

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cargo-generate is a developer tool to help you get up and running quickly with a new Rust project by leveraging a pre-existing git repository as a template.

cargo-generate uses Shopify's Liquid template language, Rhai for hook scripts and regex for placeholders.

Due to the use of Shopify's Liquid, cargo-generate special cases files with the file-ending .liquid, by simply removing the file-ending when processing the files. If you, as a template author, truly want the .liquid file-ending, you need to repeat it twice!

An Example: the file will be renamed after templating to

Here's an example of using cargo-generate with this template:



Using cargo-generate with vendored libgit2 and system's OpenSSL

By default, cargo-generate uses vendored sources for libgit2 and OpenSSL that is installed on your system.

cargo install cargo-generate

This requires the following dependencies on your system:

  • libssl-dev (this could also be named openssl)

Using cargo-generate with vendored OpenSSL

However, you can also opt in to use a vendored OpenSSL version. So that you don't have to have OpenSSL installed and built it on the spot.

this would require the following dependencies on your system, as documented by the openssl crate:

  • A C compiler (gcc, for example)
  • perl and perl-core
  • make
cargo install cargo-generate --features vendored-openssl

Using cargo-generate with system's libgit2 and system's OpenSSL

You can opt-out of vendored libraries and use libgit2 and OpenSSL from your system by building cargo-generate without the default dependencies.

cargo install cargo-generate --no-default-features

This will require the following dependencies on your system:

  • pkg-config
  • libgit2
  • libssl-dev (this could also be named openssl)

Using pacman (Arch Linux)

cargo-generate can be installed from the extra repository for Arch Linux:

pacman -S cargo-generate

Manual Installation

  1. Download the binary tarball for your platform from our releases page.
  2. Unpack the tarball and place the binary cargo-generate in ~/.cargo/bin/


Standard usage is to pass a --git flag to cargo generate or short cargo gen. This will prompt you to enter the name of your project.

⚠️ NOTE: cargo gen requires a cargo alias configuration

cargo generate username-on-github/mytemplate
# is the same as 
cargo generate gh:username-on-github/mytemplate
# is the same as 
cargo generate --git

If you have your templates not GitHub then you can leverage the lazy abbreviation prefixes:

# for
cargo generate gl:username-on-gitlab/mytemplate # translates to
# or for
cargo generate bb:username-on-bitbucket/mytemplate # translates to
# or for 
cargo generate gh:username-on-github/mytemplate # translates to
# or for
cargo generate sr:username-on-sourcehut/mytemplate # translates to (note the tilde)

Both will expand to the https urls of the repo with the suffix .git in the URL.

You can also pass the name of your project to the tool using the --name or -n flag:

cargo generate --git --name myproject

Templates in subfolders

If the repository or path specified for the template contains multiple templates (Any sub-folder that contains a cargo-generate.toml file), cargo-generate will ask for the specific folder to be used as the template.

Multiple sub-templates can also be configured in the cargo-generate.toml file like this:

sub_templates = ["folder1", "folder2"]

Doing so also sets the order when cargo-generate asks what to expand, while the first option will be the default.

The specific subfolder in the git repository may be specified on the command line like this:

cargo generate --git <relative-template-path>

⚠️ NOTE: When using the subfolder feature, cargo-generate will search for the cargo-generate.toml file in the subfolder first, traversing back towards the template root in case it is not found.

Generating into current dir

If the user wants to generate a template straight into the current folder, without creating a subfolder for the contents and without attempting to initialize a .git repo or similar, the --init flag can be used.

cargo generate --init --git

⚠️ NOTE: cargo-generate will not allow any existing files to be overwritten and will fail to generate any files should there be any conflicts.

Generating using a local template

You can generate a project using a local template via the --path flag:

git clone $HOME/mytemplate # Clone any template
cargo generate --path $HOME/mytemplate # Use it locally

⚠️ NOTE: cargo-generate will not allow to use the association --path and --git flags.

git over ssh

New in version 0.7.0 is the support for both public and private and ssh git remote urls. For example:

cargo generate --git --name mywasm

leads to the same result as:

cargo generate --git --name mywasm

as well as:

cargo generate rustwasm/wasm-pack-template --name mywasm

authentication using ssh-agent

New in version 0.15.1 is the ssh-agent usage for password protected keys. It's also the default mechanism on Windows.

On Windows

ssh-agent is the default and also the only possibility to get git+ssh working. Please follow this guide to get ssh-agent configured on windows.

On *Nix and macOS

If you omit the identity file (read the next paragraph) OR a provided identity file does not exist, then the default is to use ssh-agent.

ssh identity file (private key)

However, if you use a different file, you can pass a custom ssh identity with via -i | --identity like -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa_other as argument.

⚠️ NOTE: password protected private keys are NOT supported, you have to use ssh-agent and omit the -i argument (see above).

If you permanently want to use a custom identity file, you can configure it in the cargo-generate config file like this:

# an extract of ~/.cargo/cargo-generate.toml
# note that `~/` and `$HOME/` are going to be expanded to the full path seamlessly
ssh_identity = "~/.ssh/id_rsa_other"
# that is equivalent to 
ssh_identity = "$HOME/.ssh/id_rsa_other"
# that is equivalent to 
ssh_identity = "/home/john/.ssh/id_rsa_other"

⚠️ NOTE: that the cli argument -i always overrules the ssh_identity from the config file.

http(s) proxy

New in version 0.7.0 is automatic proxy usage. So, if http(s)_PROXY env variables are provided, they will be used for cloning a http(s) template repository.


Favorite templates can be defined in a config file, that by default is placed at $CARGO_HOME/cargo-generate.toml or $CARGO_HOME/cargo-generate. To specify an alternate configuration file, use the --config <config-file> option.

⚠️ NOTE: A relative --config option, will be relative to the template root during expansion.

Each favorite template is specified in its own section, e.g.:

description = "<optional description, visible with --list-favorites>"
git = ""
branch = "<optional-branch>"
subfolder = "<optional-subfolder>"
vcs = "<optional: None|Git>"
init = optional true|false
overwrite = optional true|false

Values may be overridden using the CLI arguments of the same names (e.g. --subfolder for the subfolder value).

Note: Specifying init = true has the effect of forcing the template to exhibit behaviour as if --init is specified on the commandline, as there is no counter-option!

Note: Specifying overwrite = true has the effect of allowing the template to always overwrite files as there is no counter-option!

When favorites are available, they can be generated simply by invoking:

cargo gen <favorite>

or slightly more involved:

cargo generate demo --branch mybranch --name expanded_demo --subfolder myfolder

⚠️ NOTE: when <favorite> is not defined in the config file, it is interpreted as a git repo like as if --git <favorite>



Templates are git repositories whose files can contain placeholders. A placeholder can be seen as a variable that is substituted by another value upon expansion of the template.

cargo-generate supports both builtin variables/placeholders and custom defined ones.

Additionally, all filters and tags of the liquid template language are supported. For more information, check out the Liquid Documentation on Tags and Filters.

You can use those placeholders in the file and directory names of the generated project. For example, for a project named awesome, the filename {{project_name}}/{{project_name}}.rs will be transformed to awesome/ during generation. Only files that are not listed in the exclude settings will be templated.

⚠️ NOTE: invalid characters for a filename or directory name will be sanitized after template substitution. Invalid is e.g. / or \.

⚠️ Deprecated in favor of using ignore in cargo-generate.toml

You can also add a .genignore file to your template. The files listed in the .genignore file will be removed from the local machine when cargo-generate is run on the end user's machine. The .genignore file is always ignored, so there is no need to list it in the .genignore file.

Additional liquid filters

Following are filters that cargo-generate expands the liquid language with.

  • rhai

    Tries to run the argument as a rhai script. Whatever the script returns will be the output of the filter.

    Example Liquid:

    Here we try to run a rhai script: {{"script_name.rhai" | rhai}}

    ⚠️ NOTE: Liquid does not support failing filters, thus if the script fails for any reason, cargo-generate will simply print a warning message to stderr, and Liquid will leave the substitution in its original form.

  • kebab_case

    "We are going to inherit the earth." => "we-are-going-to-inherit-the-earth"

  • lower_camel_case

    "It is we who built these palaces and cities." => "itIsWeWhoBuiltThesePalacesAndCities"

  • pascal_case

    Same as upper_camel_case

  • shouty_kebab_case

    "We are going to inherit the earth." => "WE-ARE-GOING-TO-INHERIT-THE-EARTH"

  • shouty_snake_case

    "That world is growing in this minute." => "THAT_WORLD_IS_GROWING_IN_THIS_MINUTE"

  • snake_case

    "We carry a new world here, in our hearts." => "we_carry_a_new_world_here_in_our_hearts"

  • title_case

    "We have always lived in slums and holes in the wall." => "We Have Always Lived In Slums And Holes In The Wall"

  • upper_camel_case

    "We are not in the least afraid of ruins." => "WeAreNotInTheLeastAfraidOfRuins"

Templates by the community

It's encouraged to classify your template repository with a GitHub topic labeled cargo-generate.

So that every developer can find the template via cargo-generate topic on GitHub.

If you have a great template, please tag your repository with the topic and tweet about it by including the hashtag #cargogenerate (since twitter does not support hashtags with -).

⚠️ Note: the list of currently available templates is still available, but is now deprecated.

Example for --bin and --lib

A template could be prepared in a way to act as a binary or a library. For example the Cargo.toml might look like:

# the usual stuff

{% if crate_type == "bin" %}
structopt = "0.3.21"
{% endif %}
# other general dependencies

{% if crate_type == "bin" %}
path = "src/"
name = "{{crate_name}}-cli"
{% endif %}

Now a user of this template could decide weather they want the binary version by passing --bin or use only the library version by passing --lib as a command line argument.

Builtin placeholders

cargo-generate supports a number of builtin placeholders for use in templates.

These placeholders can be used directly in files using the Liquid language, or from Rhai scripts using the syntax:

variable::get("placeholder name")

Builtin placeholders are:

  • authors
    • this will be filled in by a function borrowed from Cargo's source code, that determines your information from Cargo's configuration. It will either be on the form username <email> or just plain username.
  • project-name
    • this is supplied by either passing the --name flag to the command or working with the interactive CLI to supply a name. It can be provided in snake_case or dash-case, in all other cases it is converted to dash-case.
    • it can also be supplied via the environment variable CARGO_GENERATE_VALUE_PROJECT_NAME when running in --silent mode

      ⚠️ Note: the --force flag allows you to use the project name as it is given, without adjusting. Please use it carefully.

  • crate_name
    • the snake_case_version of project-name
  • crate_type
    • this is supplied by either passing the --bin or --lib flag to the command line, contains either bin or lib, --bin is the default
  • os-arch
    • contains the current operating system and architecture ex: linux-x86_64
  • username
    • this will be filled in by a function borrowed from Cargo's source code, that determines your information from Cargo's configuration.
  • within_cargo_project
    • A boolean with the value true if the template is being expanded inside a Cargo project. It's a simple matter of whether Cargo.toml is present in any parent folder.
  • is_init
    • A boolean that reflects the value of the --init parameter of cargo-generate.

Usage example


This awesome crate `{{ crate_name }}` is brought to you by {{ authors }}.

Template Defined Placeholders

Template defined placeholders offer a powerful way for template authors to customize project templates and streamline project creation. In addition to defining placeholders directly within template files, users can also define placeholders in the cargo-generate.toml file, providing additional flexibility and customization options.

Defining Placeholders in cargo-generate.toml

To define placeholders in the cargo-generate.toml file, template authors can specify them under the placeholders section using the following syntax:

placeholder_name = { prompt = "Enter your name", choices = ["Alice", "Bob"], default = "Alice", type = "string" }
  • placeholder_name: The name of the placeholder.
  • prompt: The prompt message displayed to the user during project creation.
  • choices (optional): A list of predefined choices for the placeholder value.
  • default (optional): The default value for the placeholder if no user input is provided.
  • regex (optional and only for string-like types): The entered value is validated against this regex.
  • type: The data type of the placeholder value (e.g., "string", "text", "editor", "boolean").

Prompt, Choices, and Default Values

  • Prompt: With the prompt will be displayed it to the user during project creation, prompting them to provide a value for the placeholder.
  • Choices: If choices are specified, cargo-generate will present them as options to the user, restricting the input to the predefined choices and provide more convenience.
  • Default Value: If a default value is provided and the user does not provide input, cargo-generate will use the default value for the placeholder.

Supported Types

cargo-generate supports the following placeholder value types:

  • "string": Represents a string value.
  • "text": Represents a multiline string value. (terminated by hitting )
  • "editor": Represents a multiline string value, collected from the user by a real terminal editor.
  • "boolean": Represents a boolean value (true or false).


Consider the following cargo-generate.toml file:

project_name = { prompt = "Enter project name", default = "my_project", type = "string" }
use_git = { prompt = "Initialize Git repository?", choices = ["Yes", "No"], default = "Yes", type = "boolean" }
phone_number = { prompt = "What's your phone number?", type = "string", regex = "^[0-9]+$" }

During project creation, cargo-generate will prompt the user to provide values for project_name, use_git and phone_number using the specified prompts, choices, and default values.

Further phone_number is validated against the provided regex, hence it can only contain digits.


Template defined placeholders, defined in the cargo-generate.toml configuration file, offer powerful customization options for project templates. By specifying prompts, choices, default values, and supported types, template authors can create intuitive and flexible project scaffolding experiences, enhancing developer productivity and project consistency.

Default values for placeholders

For automation purposes the user of the template may provide the values for the keys in the template using one or more of the following methods.

The methods are listed by falling priority.

--define or -d flag

The user may specify variables individually using the --define flag.

cargo generate template-above -n project-name -d hypervisor=qemu -d network_enabled=true

--template_values_file flag

The user of the template may provide a file containing the values for the keys in the template by using the --template-values-file flag.

⚠️ NOTE: A relative path will be relative to current working dir, which is not inside the expanding template!

hypervisor = "qemu"
network_enabled = true

Individual values via environment variables

Variables may be specified using environment variables. To do so, set the env var CARGO_GENERATE_VALUE_<variable key> to the desired value.

cargo generate template-above

⚠️ Windows does not support mixed case environment variables. Internally, cargo-generate will ensure the variable name is all lowercase. For that reason, it is strongly recommended that template authors only use lowercase variable/placeholder names.

Template values file via environment variable

The user may use the environment variable CARGO_GENERATE_TEMPLATE_VALUES to specify a file with default values.

For the file format, see above.

Default values

Default values may be specified in the config file (specified with the --config flag, or in the default config file $CARGO_HOME/cargo-generate)

Example config file:

placeholder1 = "default value"

git = ""

placeholder1 = "default value overriding the default"
placeholder2 = "default value for favorite"

Further examples

You can find further examples in the example-templates folder you will find further examples that provide some template provided placeholders.

Ignoring files

The template author may choose to ignore files completely, by including an ignore list in the cargo-generate.toml file.


ignore = [ 
  "or folder",
  "to be ignored" 

Both files and folders may be ignored using this method, but currently wildcards are not supported.

Include / Exclude

Templates support a cargo-generate.toml, with a "template" section that allows you to configure the files that will be processed by cargo-generate. The behavior mirrors Cargo's Include / Exclude functionality, which is documented here. If you are using placeholders in a file name, and also wish to use placeholders in the contents of that file, you should setup your globs to match on the pre-rename filename.

include = ["Cargo.toml"]
# include and exclude are exclusive, if both appear we will use include
exclude = ["*.c"]

⚠️ NOTE: exclude only makes cargo-generate ignore any liquid tags in the file. In order to exclude a file from being copied to the final dir, see ignoring files.

The cargo-generate.toml file should be placed in the root of the template. If using the subfolder feature, the root is the subfolder inside the repository, though cargo-generate will look for the file in all parent folders until it reaches the repository root.

Require cargo-generate version from template

Available since version 0.9.0

Using the supported cargo-generate.toml file, the template author may setup version requirements towards cargo-generate.

cargo_generate_version = ">=0.9.0"

The format for the version requirement is documented here.

Conditional template settings

Using cargo-generate.toml, values and some [Rhai] syntax, the template author can make certain conditional decisions before expansion of the template.

include, exclude, ignore and placeholders can all be used in sections that are only used based upon the value of one or more values, possibly input by the user using the interactive prompt (if the values in question are defined as placeholders in the non-conditional section).

Using the following example, cargo-generate will ask for the license, and depending on the --lib | --bin flags it'll as for the hypervisor and network_enabled values. It will then continue to expand the template, ignoring the src/ file (and thus excluding it from the output) in case --lib was specified.

The example is broken up in order to explain each section.

cargo_generate_version = ">=0.10.0"
# ignore = [ "..." ]
# include = [ "..." ]
# exclude = [ "..." ]

This first part declares that the template requires cargo-generate version 0.10 or higher. In this same section the template author may also specify the following 3 lists:

  • ignore Files/folders on this list will be ignored entirely and are not included in the final output.
  • include These files will be processed for Liquid syntax by the template engine.
  • exclude These files will not be processed for any liquid syntax. The files will be in the final output.
license = { type = "string", prompt = "What license to use?", choices = ["MIT", "Unrestricted"], default = "MIT" }

This is the section for the default placeholders. These are variable definitions that cargo-generate knows about and will query for if they are not provided e.g. on the commandline (see [Default-values-for-placeholders]).

The section should contain at least all variables used for any conditions (unless it's an automatic variable such as crate_type). All variables that are not specific to a condition are recommended to go here as well.

Here we simply define a variable license for selecting the desired license type.

[conditional.'crate_type == "lib"']
ignore = [ "src/" ]
# include = [ "..." ]
# exclude = [ "..." ]

This is a conditional block.

Here it has been chosen that the src/ file must be ignored when the crate_type variable is equal to the string "lib".

[conditional.'crate_type != "lib"'.placeholders]
hypervisor = { type = "string", prompt = "What hypervisor to use?", choices = ["uhyve", "qemu"], default = "qemu" }
network_enabled = { type = "bool", prompt = "Want to enable network?", default = true }

This block uses the same condition as the last, but it defines some extra placeholders - that is, is defines the variables hypervisor and network_enabled, so that cargo-generate may ask for their values.

⚠️ cargo-generate will ask for values using the placeholders defined in [placeholders] before evaluating the conditional sections.

Placeholder values defined in conditional sections cannot be used to enable/disable further conditional sections, they can however still be used in the actual template!

[conditional.'license == "MIT"']
ignore = [ "LICENSE-UNRESTRICTED.txt" ]
# include = [ "..." ]
# exclude = [ "..." ]

[conditional.'license == "Unrestricted"']
ignore = [ "LICENSE-MIT.txt" ]
# include = [ "..." ]
# exclude = [ "..." ]

This last conditional block is simply to ignore the unneeded license files, based upon the users choice for the license variable.

⚠️ Note that include and exclude are still mutually exclusive even if they are in different, but included, conditional sections.

Init/Pre/Post Scripts

cargo-generate can run scripts in the Rhai language as part of the template expansion.

Doing so requires the template is configured to use hooks, which can be used at specific times during template expansion.

To configure the use of hooks, write a hooks section in the cargo-generate.toml file.

#init = ["init-script.rhai"]
#pre = ["pre-script.rhai"]
#post = ["post-script.rhai"]

Hook types


  • Init hooks are executed before anything else.

  • The variables crate_type/authors/username/os-arch and is_init are available.

  • The variable project-name may be available.

    And only if cargo-generate was called with the --init flag, in which case it is the raw user input.

  • The variable project-name may be set - avoiding a user prompt!

    The variable will still be subject for case changes to fit with the rust/cargo expectations.

    The --name parameter still decides the final destination dir (together with the the --init flag), in order not to confuse the user.


  • Pre hooks are run after all placeholders mentioned in cargo-generate.toml has been resolved.

  • The hooks are free to add additional variables, but its too late to influence the conditional system.

    This is a side effect of conditionals influencing the hooks - so placeholders need to be evaluated before the hooks are known.


  • Post hooks are run after template expansion, but before final output is moved to the final destination.

Why not later? Security, and the fact that a failing script still causes no errors in the users destination.

Rhai extensions

Besides the basic Rhai features, these are the modules/behaviors defined:



  • variable::is_set(name: &str) -> bool

    Returns true if the variable/placeholder has been set for the template

  • variable::get(name: &str) -> value

    Gets any defined variable in the Liquid template object

  • variable::set(name: &str, value: (&str|bool))

    Set new or overwrite existing variables. Do not allow to change types.


  • variable::prompt(text: &str, default_value: bool) -> value

    Prompt the user for a boolean value

  • variable::prompt(text: &str) -> value

    Prompt the user for a string value

  • variable::prompt(text: &str, default_value: &str) -> value

    Prompt the user for a string value, with a default already in place

  • variable::prompt(text: &str, default_value: &str, regex: &str) -> value

    Prompt the user for a string value, validated with a regex

  • variable::prompt(text: &str, default_value: &str, choices: Array) -> value

    Prompt the user for a choice value


  • file::exists(path: &str)

    Test if a path exists

  • file::rename(from: &str, to: &str)

    Rename one of the files in the template folder

  • file::delete(path: &str)

    Delete a file or folder inside the template folder

  • file::write(file: &str, content: &str)

    Create/overwrite a file inside the template folder

  • file::write(file: &str, content: Array)

    Create/overwrite a file inside the template folder, each entry in the array on a new line


  • abort(reason: &str): Aborts cargo-generate with a script error.

Changing case of strings

  • to_kebab_case(str: &str) -> String

    "We are going to inherit the earth." => "we-are-going-to-inherit-the-earth"

  • to_lower_camel_case(str: &str) -> String

    "It is we who built these palaces and cities." => "itIsWeWhoBuiltThesePalacesAndCities"

  • to_pascal_case(str: &str) -> String

    Same as to_upper_camel_case(str: &str) -> String

  • to_shouty_kebab_case(str: &str) -> String

    "We are going to inherit the earth." => "WE-ARE-GOING-TO-INHERIT-THE-EARTH"

  • to_shouty_snake_case(str: &str) -> String

    "That world is growing in this minute." => "THAT_WORLD_IS_GROWING_IN_THIS_MINUTE"

  • to_snake_case(str: &str) -> String

    "We carry a new world here, in our hearts." => "we_carry_a_new_world_here_in_our_hearts"

  • to_title_case(str: &str) -> String

    "We have always lived in slums and holes in the wall." => "We Have Always Lived In Slums And Holes In The Wall"

  • to_upper_camel_case(str: &str) -> String

    "We are not in the least afraid of ruins." => "WeAreNotInTheLeastAfraidOfRuins"

Mini Example

In cargo-generate.toml write a [hooks] section:

cargo_generate_version = "0.10.0"

#init = [...]
pre = ["pre-script.rhai"]
#post = [...]

license = { type = "string", prompt = "What license to use?", choices = ["APACHE", "MIT"], default = "MIT" }

Now, write the script in Rhai, utilizing the cargo-generate provided extensions:

// we can see existing variables.
// note that template and Rhai variables are separate!
let crate_type = variable::get("crate_type")
debug(`crate_type: ${crate_type}`);

let license = variable::get("license").to_upper();
while switch license {
  "APACHE" => {
    file::rename("LICENSE-APACHE", "LICENSE");
  "MIT" => {
    file::rename("LICENSE-MIT", "LICENSE");
  _ => true,
} {
  license = variable::prompt("Select license?", "MIT", [
variable::set("license", license);

Template Authoring

Available since version 0.9.0

As a template author you're probably concerned about successful builds of your template.

Imagine a couple of months after your first template release, some new versions of any dependencies would break your template, and you would not even be aware of it?

The answer to this question is a vital build pipeline for your template project. This challenge got now much simpler to solve with the new official cargo-generate GitHub Action.

Here is an example:

tree .github
└── workflows
    └── build.yml

The content of build.yml as a paste template:

name: Build Template
    - cron: '0 18 * * 5'
    branches: [ '*' ]
      - "**/docs/**"
      - "**.md"

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      PROJECT_NAME: mytemplate
      - uses: actions/checkout@v4
      - uses: cargo-generate/cargo-generate-action@latest
          name: ${{ env.PROJECT_NAME }}
      - uses: dtolnay/rust-toolchain@stable
          toolchain: stable
      # we need to move the generated project to a temp folder, away from the template project
      # otherwise `cargo` runs would fail 
      # see
      - run: |
          mv $PROJECT_NAME ${{ runner.temp }}/
          cd ${{ runner.temp }}/$PROJECT_NAME
          cargo check

This is a very simple pipeline that builds weekly and on push. It processes your template repo and runs a cargo check as the final step. That's it, a good start to build on.


Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in the work by you, as defined in the Apache-2.0 license, shall be dual licensed as noted in License, without any additional terms or conditions. If you want to contribute to cargo-generate, please see


Licensed, at your option, under either of the following licences: