license name synonyms

J Lovejoy

I’m not sure I understand why we need this. For the licenses that have been deprecated but can be otherwise represented using the new License Expression Syntax, I can see this being helpful, but I’m not sure what the use case is going forward.

As it stands right now, we have a note re: deprecation for each license. There are essentially three variations as to why a license was deprecated, examples:
- (or later example)
- (exceptions example)
- (duplicate license mess-up example, which we should hopefully not need ever again!))

I’m happy to add further text provide an example for these deprecated licenses as to how to use the new License Expression Syntax to create the same license but keep in mind, it really can only be a suggestion as there is not necessarily a one-to-one relationship between the old and new (hence the addition of the License Expression Syntax!!) For example:

On the current SPDX License List, v1.20 and previous versions - you could indicate the following license:
- GPL-2.0-with-bison-exception ( ) but this representation means GPL2.0 (only) with Bison Exception. We have/had no way, to indicate:
- GPLv2 (or later) with Bison Exception
- GPLv1.0 (only) with Bison Exception
- GPLv1.0 (or later) with Bison Exception
- GPLv3.0 (only) with Bison Exception
- GPLv3.0 (or later) with Bison Exception

As of version 2.0, you can represent all of these by using any of the version of GPL from the SPDX License List (for “only”), add the + operator (for “or later”) and add the WITH Bison-exception-2.2 (see - side note: we realized for this license it downloads the text instead of displaying the HTML page, working on fixing that…)

Thus, as to my above comment about adding comments as to the equivalent license - is the idea to add all of these options? AT this point, I feel like we might be then starting to explain how to use the License Expression Syntax, which will be included in the spec with that section (and probably some other collateral). In which case, we want to think carefully about how much extra information we include in the SPDX License List itself - if such information begins to be more along the lines of best practices or instruction, this may not be the appropriate place to provide such info and then we also may end up with a situation where we have similar info in multiple places, which is always harder to maintain.


SPDX Legal Team co-lead

On Jan 8, 2015, at 12:28 PM, Gary O'Neall <gary@...> wrote:

I like the idea of having synonyms - it will help when we compare SPDX
documents to determine that two licenses are really the same.

I have a few questions and suggestions:
- Would the range be any SPDX expression?
- I would suggest a different term - maybe equivalent licenses. Synonyms
imply two names for the same subject or object. I think this is more of a
relationship between a license and an expression.
- It would be great to have this be machine paresable so that the tooling
could understand it. For this to work, we would need to introduce another
term in the standard to hold the information. I would propose this would be
a release 2.1 candidate feature.
- Before the new term is implemented, we could record this information in
the notes for a given license.
- If we wanted to state that 2 SPDX 2.0 licenses are really the same, we
could add other web pages for this licenses that refer to the correct SPDX
license (e.g.


-----Original Message-----
From: spdx-legal-bounces@... [mailto:spdx-legal-
bounces@...] On Behalf Of dmg
Sent: Thursday, January 8, 2015 10:47 AM
To: J Lovejoy
Cc: SPDX-legal
Subject: Re: Call this Thursday!!

The idea is that each license has a name.

Then some licenses might have synonyms.

The old GPLv2 WITH Bison Exception is now known as the GPL-2 WITH
Bison Exception. The old name was GPL-2.0-with-bison-exception which is

What I am suggesting is that the name:

GPL-2.0-with-bison-exception = GPL-2 WITH Bison Exception

this way the old name is not deprecated, it is just a synonym of the
GPL-2 WITH Bison Exception. So people can continue to use GPL-2.0-with-

synonyms could also have an approval process the same as licenses.

On Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 9:14 PM, J Lovejoy <opensource@...>
Hi all and Happy New Year!!

We will have our first call of 2015 this Thursday, same Bat-time,
Bat-channel. That is, 11am Mtn Time / 1pm Eastern Time at the
User PIN: 38633

I just sent out an invite for this week only. Will get a recurring
invite out soon.

On the agenda will be:

1) quick update on Collab Summit

2) SPDX License List 2.0 - release candidate update!!

3) compound licenses (see various discussion on email list re:
OpenSSL, etc. raised by Sam Ellis)

Jilayne & Paul
SPDX Legal Team co-leads

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Daniel M. German
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