Unique identifier for licenses

Mathieu Gervais (IDEAS) Mathieu.Gervais at morganstanley.com
Mon Apr 18 13:13:33 UTC 2011


We are improving internal tooling to keep track of open source libraries
What do you recommend in order to uniquely identify licenses?

We want to leverage OSI's catalogue of licenses in order to not reinvent the
wheel, but it doesn't look like a slam dunk since the naming is not that
For example, for BSD the name seen on these 2 pages is different:
(I prefer the one on the alphabetical list, since it does hint which flavor
of BSD we are talking about -- "new and simplified").

So the question is, what would be the best/recommended (short) identifier
that is likely to stay stable?
I see the following choices:
 a) name as listed on  http://www.opensource.org/licenses/alphabetical
 b) name as listed on the license page itself: e.g.
 ( this seems a non starter given that not all page have the same format,
some of them have the license name written as "Open Source Initiative
OSI -*license name
*:Licensing" (see bsd), some have just the license name (e.g. AGPL)
 c)use the short name in the url of the license itself, i.e.:
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/*bsd-license   => use license name="**
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/*mit-license**   => use license name="**
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/*gpl-2.0* *   => use license name="**

Although we could use full URLs, I'd prefer using a short, meaningful name.
(the full URL would really amount to option c anyway).

I'm not going to hold it against you if this ever changes, but I'd like to
know that I at least have a shot at using something that is likely to
be *relatively
*stable for the foreseeable future.
It also seems to me adding this to the FAQ could make sense since I'm
certainly not the only one trying to refer to licenses in your catalogue.

I understand this is a bit nitpicking, but since we are doing this, we might
as well try to do it right.

Let me know if my question is not clear and thanks in advance for your help.


PS: ultimately we *do *store and refer to the actual license txt included in
the distribution of each library, but this is for the purpose of
categorization in our internal repository.
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