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Bug#541703: base-files: Please include FreeBSD license

Rolf Leggewie <debian-bugs@rolf.leggewie.biz> writes:

> please include the FreeBSD license among the ones in
> /usr/share/common-licenses/ FreeBSD is not the same as BSD, only
> similar.  BSD has three clauses, FreeBSD only 2.

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_license
> http://www.freebsd.org/copyright/freebsd-license.html

The purpose of /usr/share/common-licenses (with one exception, see below)
is not to accumulate good free software licenses, but rather primarily to
save space both in the archive and on installed systems.  For example,
there are 19,893 packages in the archive that reference some form of the
GPL, and given its length, we don't want to ship 19,893 copies of the GPL
and have every Debian user have hundreds or thousands of copies of it

This argument, though, really doesn't apply to short licenses like the
BSD-style licenses.  For those licenses, just including the full text in
debian/copyright doesn't take up any appreciable amount of space.  Given
that, the advantages of having the licensing directly contained with the
work rather than redirected elsewhere are, I think, overwhelming.

You're correct that we currently include the University of California
version of the BSD license in common-licenses, but the general consensus
is that this is for the combination of historical reasons (it's very
difficult to ever remove a license from there) and because it's explicitly
called out in the DFSG as a free software license.  Were we doing this all
over again, I don't think we would have included that license.

Since, in addition to that, there are a lot of subtle wording variations
in BSD-style licenses and including them in common-licenses tends to
encourage people to point to common-licenses even when the wording is
slightly different and they legally shouldn't do so, I don't think this is
a good candidate for common-licenses.

I'm accordingly marking this bug as rejected, although it will stay open
for a while in case anyone disagrees and wants to make a case for

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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