License committee report for January 2008

Chuck Swiger chuck at
Sun Jan 27 16:49:10 UTC 2008

Simon Phipps wrote:
> On Jan 27, 2008, at 11:59, Dag-Erling Smørgrav wrote:
>> Russ Nelson <nelson at> writes:
>>> Title: The Simplified BSD License
>>> Submission:
>>> Comments: The board sent this license back to the submittor because
>>>   the license is identical to the FreeBSD license, yet the FreeBSD
>>>   license is more well-known.  The submittor has refused to change the
>>>   name of his submission:
>>> Recommend: Modifying the New BSD License template so that the third
>>>   clause is optional.  In this manner, both the FreeBSD license and
>>>   the Dag-Erling's Simplified BSD License will fit into the template
>>>   with no license proliferation problems.
>> This is a gross misrepresentation of events, and your "recommendation"
>> has not been discussed on the lists.
> Please can you explain why the Recommendation above is unsuitable?

I believe that DES is unhappy with the Simplified BSD License being listed as 
the "FreeBSD license" because the default FreeBSD license is actually:

...unless otherwise noted for particular subprojects or files, and also 
because the 2-clause BSD license is commonly used (and sometimes even 
*preferred* over the 3-clause version) by other projects.

I don't believe that there are significant proliferation issues with adding 
this license as a variant or even as the recommended form of the "New" BSD 
license, but if the concern is to reduce "license proliferation problems", 
adding just one name, that of "Simplified BSD License", is clearly better than 
adding both "Simplified BSD License" and "FreeBSD license" (and then perhaps 
"NetBSD License", "OpenBSD License, etc).

For these reasons, I think DES' proposal will help avoid a proliferation of 
vanity-named BSD license titles being submitted in the future and is a better 
approach than the suggestion to call the proposed 2-clause license the 
"FreeBSD license".

> It looks sensible to me, and as we all know the Board is free to take 
> whatever decisions it wishes independently of the advice it receives on 
> mailing lists.

Agreed.  I regard the recommendation above to be OK, but I think it would be 
easier to just approve the proposed license as it stands and not change 
anything else.


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