[License-discuss] A modest proposal to reduce the number of BSD licenses
Jeremy C. Reed
reed at reedmedia.net
Fri Aug 21 21:28:12 UTC 2020
On Fri, 21 Aug 2020, Josh Berkus wrote:
> > Amazon?s preferred permissive license is Apache 2.0.? In part because it
> > doesn?t have this ?dozens and dozens of pointless minor variants? problem.
> For such a short license, BSD has an awful lot of variations.
I published a print two volume set of NetBSD sysadmin manuals
As part of that work I identified hundreds of unique licenses.
My printed License acknowledgements include 26 different statements
"This product includes software developed ..."
And the included licenses began on labeled page 1461 (volume 2 physical
page 716) and ended on page 1529 (volume 2 page 784).
t1:reed$ ls -l /home/reed/book/netbsd-documents/copyrights.tex
-rw-r--r-- 1 reed reed 281396 Jun 14 2010 /home/reed/book/netbsd-documents/copyrights.tex
t1:reed$ wc /home/reed/book/netbsd-documents/copyrights.tex
7920 40741 281396 /home/reed/book/netbsd-documents/copyrights.tex
t1:reed$ grep '\\hline' /home/reed/book/netbsd-documents/copyrights.tex
| wc -l
(separators between unique licenses)
t1:reed$ grep '\\textbf' /home/reed/book/netbsd-documents/copyrights.tex | wc -l
t1:reed$ grep '^Copyri' /home/reed/book/netbsd-documents/copyrights.tex | wc -l
(unique Copyright lines)
t1:reed$ grep "^Redistribution and use" /home/reed/book/netbsd-documents/copyrights.tex | wc -l
t1:reed$ grep -v "^Permission to use" /home/reed/book/netbsd-documents/copyrights.tex | wc -l
Then had a variety of other unique licenses too.
Every license (disclaimer etc) included was unique due to some wording
difference even if only a single word but not including the copyright
owners. As part of the listing I bundled all the copyright
statements/dates/owners and the filenames with the single corresponding
That was for only that small two volume collection. (I say "small" since
there are around 15 more volumes and hundreds more unique licenses.)
As part of this work I identified many missing licenses -- unknown
provenance of code or no contact with original developers -- and also
worked with some copyright owners to relicense and also found some
license mistakes like duplicate licenses added to same code with
> Gotta be the bikeshed problem.
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