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Re: Differentiating BSD-style licenses (was: DEP5: Machine-readable debian/copyright (the paperwork))



On Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 09:57:05AM +1100, Ben Finney wrote:
> Carsten Hey <carsten@debian.org> writes:
> > It's might not be obvious for all which BSD licenses are meant by "BSD"
> > and "FreeBSD", thus I propose appending " (3-clause BSD)" and
> > respectively " (2-clause BSD)" to their descriptions.
>
> That's even more ambiguous, though. It doesn't say *which* clauses; any
> three-clause license similar to a BSD license could be “3-clause BSD”.

To clarify, just in case I was not specific enough, I proposed an
addition.  For example, the following line:

    BSD  Berkeley software distribution license

would become:

    BSD  Berkeley software distribution license (3-clause BSD)

I don't think adding additional information can make this more
ambiguous.  I also don't know any project using the “attribution” clause
but not the “no endorsement” clause, so at least for people being
familiar with licenses like DDs this should be rather clear.

Anyhow, I don't care whether we call it 3-clause BSD, new BSD, revised
BSD or original BSD with the “attribution” clause removed.  “BSD”
without any further explanation could refer to the original BSD license,
the new one or even the simplified one and this is too unspecific for
a specification.

> I've advocated making mnemonic descriptors for the particular clauses,
> e.g. “attribution”, “no endorsement”, etc. Those have the disadvantage
> of not being well-known, but the advantage (compared to simply counting
> the clauses) that at least a guess as to which clauses are being
> referenced will likely be right.

These descriptors would be a very elegant way to differentiate between
the different BSD licenses, but I guess such seldom used licenses like
1-clause BSD or 3-clause BSD with “attribution” but without “no
endorsement” should better be handled as “other” instead of extending
the format to catch every corner case.


Carsten


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