Questions about the two-clause BSD license

Dag-Erling Smørgrav des at
Mon Oct 19 06:13:26 UTC 2009

Pimm Hogeling <pimmhogeling at> writes:
> Dag-Erling Smørgrav <des at> writes:
> > Like who?
> It doesn't matter who. All I'm saying is, every restriction in a
> license could scare off people from using work under the terms of that
> license. Because of that, I believe it's interesting to see what could
> be stripped from the license.

Experience shows that the BSD license has never scared anyone off; even
Microsoft have used BSD-licensed code in Windows - the original four-
clause license, no less.

> > Because the recipient of a piece of software derived from BSD-licensed
> > software still has the right to redistribute the BSD-licensed parts,
> > however awkward that might be.  In theory, I could disassemble my wife's
> > iPod, copy the firmware from the flash chip, somehow extract the
> > BSD-licensed bits (which are pretty substantial, especially when you
> > include code under other similar licenses, such as OpenSSL) and stick
> > them on my web site.
> So essentially, the license is copyleft?

No, because it does not require you to distribute sources along with
binaries, or to make sources available at request.

> Receiving a work that includes a part released under a BSD license
> gives you the freedom to redistribute that part?

Yes, if you can extricate it from the greater package.  You would have
to be very careful not to inadvertantly include proprietary code.

> I'm saying I want to obligate licensees to put a copyright notice, in
> the documentation/license file along with a binary form. Simply
> because contributers might want this. However, if the source code is
> available "in the same way through the same place", that source code
> will contain the copyright notice, too. In that case, I don't see the
> point in putting the notice in the binary form as well. So in
> conclusion, if the source code is available, I don't see why the
> notice should be included in the binary form as well.

Did you ever stop to think that most people will find it simpler to
include the copyright and license statement with the binary than to make
the source code available "in the same way through the same place"?

Like Chuck says: I admire your imagination...

Dag-Erling Smørgrav - des at

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